Beautiful bloom, UGLY foliage!

Probably my favorite all around flower is the Zinnia. By a pack of assorted seeds and you get all the sizes, shapes and colors. But the foliage is the color of a different horse. It starts out nice but then becomes a pale green and dried and shriveled. Is this typical of this flower? Or am I giving it too much or too little of something. I have them in pots in various parts of the yard and in the ground around the "estate" (yeah, sure, the estate).
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Zinnias tend to be vulnerable to mildew, which affects the foliage, making it look like it's dusted with sugar, then turns brown and dry. Varieties like the Pinwheel and Profusion series are more resistant to mildew than others. An article in Sunset magazine tested 9 types, and found the Pinweheel series, 'Old Mexico' and 'Orange Star' to be the most resistant. None of these are double flowered types, all are single flowered types.
For the other varieties, make sure they are grown in full sun, with lots of air movement around the plants. Use a soaker hose or other direct-to-the- ground watering system, if you must get the foliage wet, water early so the leaves have a chance to dry off during the day.
Another thing you can try is a preventative spray of 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 2 quarts of water and a couple drops of liquid soap as a wetting agent. Use once a week after the plants are established, or after rains.
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