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How to grow Cosmos flowers?

If you are looking out for a flower that will stay in bloom for many months and can be simply grown by scattering seeds, then the cosmos are a perfect choice. Cosmos flower is in vibrant colors red, yellow, orange, white and pink. These plants have a height of about 6 feet and they have ferny foliage of  very delicate texture. These flowers are ideal as decorations, used as cut flowers in arrangements and perfect for attracting the butterfly, hummingbirds and enticing beneficial insects in the garden. Cosmos is native to Mexico.

 

Common name: Garden Cosmos, Garden cosmos

Botanical nameCosmos bipinnatus.

Varieties:

  • Bright Lights: Orange, gold, and yellow mix with some semi-double flowers.
  • Chocolate: Rich maroon color; available as plant starts only as seeds don’t come true to parent plant.
  • Daydream: Pale blush with a crimson eye.
  • Double Click: The fluffiest of the doubles, available in white, pink, and cherry shades.
  • Seashells: Fluted petals make it an unusual addition to the vase.
  • Sonata: Early to bloom and heavy flowering in pink, white, or scarlet.

Use in Landscape:

  • Cosmos are an ideal addition to flower beds, borders, and containers.
  • Shorter varieties of cosmos are perfect  to make the edging.
  • Cosmos flower attracts many butterflies including monarch, painted ladies add these beauties to the butterfly garden.
  • Use cosmos plants as backdrops in mixed flower borders.

Flowering season: They bloom starting from early summer until frost.

Growing Tips for Cosmos

Soil: Soil pH 6.0 to 6.8. is the best for these plants. However, owing to their ability to  sustain in adverse conditions as well, they can grow easily in poor soil too. Adding some organic matter to the soil will help them get the well-draining soil that they prefer.

Sunlight: For the best flowering, plant Cosmos in full sun. In very hot locations, consider planting Cosmos in areas where they receive some afternoon shade.

Water: Regularly, whenever topsoil turns dry. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. To avoid rot and fungal diseases due to over-watering.

Sowing season: Spring.

Sowing methods: You can sow them outdoors, however, in colder climates it’s best that they grow indoors. Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 2.5 cm and so at a depth of around 0.64 cm. Soil temperature should be kept higher than 20oC to ensure good germination.

Harvest:

  • Harvest flowers at any time after the plant’s bloom, but when it should be fully bloomed flowers.
  • Put cut flowers in deep water immediately to prevent wilting.

Care:

  • When  Cosmos finishes flowering, deadhead the plants by cutting off all of the dead flower blossoms. Deadheading will encourage the plant to produce more flowers and help the plant to fill out properly.
  • Pinch off any extra stems or shoots growing up from the base of plants. This will also encourage stronger more vigorous growth
  • Cosmos plants may require staking especially in exposed locations to keep them from falling over. Staking Cosmos provides some protection from strong winds.
  • Water these regularly, but make sure you don’t over-water the plants. Over-watering and over-fertilization can lead to plants with fewer flowers. Cosmos beds may become weedy due to the fact that they self-seed, so remember to check them.

Pests and Disease:

  • Two of the most common fungal diseases of plants, Fusarium wilt and powdery mildew, can also plague cosmos plants.
    Fusarium wilt not only causes the plant to wilt but discolors the stems and foliage. The whole plant, unfortunately, is going to die and should be destroyed to avoid spreading the fungus.
  • Powdery mildew spores float on the breeze and will attach to any host plant in shade. The fungus forms a powdery white coating over leaves, which will eventually cause foliage to yellow and drop off if left untreated. Plants with good ventilation, in bright light and that are watered in the day so foliage can dry are not as susceptible to fungal diseases of cosmos Aphids, including aster root aphids, spirea aphids and melon aphids, thrips and plant bugs are some common pests may infest cosmos plants. Aphids can spread fungi and viruses, thrips can scar leaves and flowers, and plant bugs suck juices from leaves, leaving them with a stippled appearance. Beneficial insects and other predators that are attracted to cosmos may be sufficient to control insect pests. Otherwise, use neem oil, insecticidal soap or petroleum-based insecticides to control these pests.

 Planting Cosmos flowers in the garden will add bright colorful and tall flowering background material in the annual border, they attract birds, bee, butterflies and beneficial insects to garden with low to no maintenance.

This makes Cosmos a colorful winner in any garden.

Happy gardening

 

 

 

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Colorful annuals that you can grow in winter season!

Winter season is always the best time to grow beautiful flowers in your garden. If you are planning to grow some beautiful blooms in your garden then the right time to sow seeds in October- November. Some seeds grow in colder times that is in December and January.

In India,  you will find different seasons and diversity. Winter season make our surrounding colorful and this is all because of the beautiful flowers. These blooms always spread happiness around us. For healthy growth and  flowering, proper amount of sunlight, water and care are very important. 

Site, Soil and watering :

Selects the site according to your landscape which receives a good amount of sunlight for colorful annuals. Watering needs to be done carefully. Smaller plants are more susceptible to over or under-watering. Use good soil which contains a good amount of organic compost like vermicompost which is rich in nutrients.

Winter flowering annuals :

Petunia, cockscomb, zinnia, calendula, chrysanthemum, cineraria, and marigold are some best colorful annuals  that we can grow in the Indian climate during the winter season. Flower plants need soil up to 5 inches deep. So, dig a hole in the soil and bury the seed about 2 inches deep. After 6 weeks, you will see the seeds sprout into saplings. 

Tips for growing winter annuals:

  1. Plants annuals in a sunny area and close to each other.
  2. Don’t overwater and keep the soil moist.
  3. This bright colorful annuals suitable to make ornamental edging, container gardening and for hanging baskets
  4. Use these colorful flowering pots for instant display.
  5. This bright color annual helps to attract butterflies, honey bees in your landscape.

Petunia

One of the most popular annual flowering plants, they are quick-growing and known for their beautiful blooms pink, purple, violet, red, white. Winter is the perfect season to grow petunias in the garden. Petunia seeds can be sown when the temperature is cool. Petunias are perfect for hanging basket and container gardening. The seeds are very small, so one needs to take extra care while sowing. Sprinkle seeds on well-drained soil and gently push them down. Light sandy soil is ideal. Do not cover them with soil, as they need light to germinate. 

Petunia

Cockscomb or celosia

Cockscomb known for its unique flowers, it produces feathery flower spikes in a pyramidal fashion resembling ostrich-plums in various colors, deep rust red is the most common color, although purple, yellow and pink varieties have gained popularity in recent years. It is best to grow cockscomb plants in large groups. Germination time is five days to two weeks. Celosia prefers full sunlight and can tolerate little shade. Maintain  moist soil with regular watering.          

Celosia

Cineraria

The Cineraria plant, the term cineraria means “ash gray,” so it’s not surprising to be called the ashplant. These plants are not suited for growing in hot, dry climates. Cineraria should be grown in partial to full shade and planted in slightly acidic, rich, well-drained soil with high compost content. Water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

Cineraria

 

Zinnia

Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow, as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnia flowers can create a massive burst of color in the garden. Grow zinnias in a spot with full sun for most prolific blooms. Zinnias are very drought tolerant and don’t usually need any supplemental watering. If your soil is poor, you can add some compost to give the plants a boost, but they will grow in even bad soil. Zinnia is one of the first flowers to bloom in the space. 

Zinnia

 

Marigold

No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than the marigold. Marigolds are a very versatile flower. They enjoy full sun and hot days and grows well in dry or moist soil. This hardiness is one of the reasons that they are often used as bedding plants and container plants. Plant the marigolds in a prepared garden site that has been tilled to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches and amended with a layer of compost or other organic matter. Space the plants about 8 to 10 inches apart. Increase the spacing by 2 inches if you grow a large variety.

 

Marigold

Dianthus

Dianthus flowers (Dianthus spp.) are also called “pinks.” Plants are small and usually between 6 and 18 inches tall. Dianthus flowers are most often in pink, salmon, red and white hues. The foliage is slender and sparsely spread on thick stems. Dianthus plants grow easily from seeds sown indoors in trays or sown directly outdoors. For dianthus plants choose a location in full sun with loose, well-drained soil. The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure)  encourages plant growth and blooms. Water them only at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent mildew spotting.

 

Dianthus

Grow these colorful annuals to your garden, which adds color contrast wherever you need them!  

Which winter annual will you choose? We love to hear from our garden lovers. Do tell us in the comment section below.

 Happy gardening

 

How to grow Phlox?

Phlox is a plant that produces delicate star-shaped masses of white, pink, red, purple or blue flowers. A blooming ornamental beloved by birds and butterflies, it’s a beautiful addition to any garden. Phlox is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants in the family Polemoniaceae. They bloom all season long and do well in the winter sun.

Choosing Your Phlox

If you’re going to use phlox plants in your garden, choose the color and height that fits best with your landscaping plan. Some low-growing varieties make a lovely ground cover, while taller plants can be used as a backdrop for shorter ones. If you’re buying phlox from a home and garden store, it’s best to pick a plant that has more buds than blooms.

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How to care for Plumeria during winter season

Plumeria spp. is a medium, flowering ornamental tree native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America to Brazil.  It is a member of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) and is known by its common name plumeria or frangipani. It is also known as the Hawaiian lei flower for its use in creating leis and Haku lei (crowns). It is easy to grow in hot and dry areas. It has widespread use in tropical landscapes around the world and is frequently associated with  temples and graveyards. 

Plumeria obtusa

  • Common name: Frangipani, Pagoda tree
  • Botanical name: Plumeria spp. L.
  • Height: 10-15 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
  • Spacing: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade.
  • Water requirement: Moderate, don’t over water.
  • Bloom Color: White, Yellow, Pink and Red
  • Bloom Time: Year-round flowering, Flowers in flushes throughout the year
  • Foliage: Green Shiny, Leathery textured.
  • Propagation Methods: From woody stem cuttings, by grafting or by air layering.
  • Uses in landscape: Accent tree, suitable for road median planting, suitable for avenue planting, look good near water bodies.

    General information about growing plumeria

Plumerias can be grown in the ground or containers as indoors or on a balcony. During the months of active growth, ample sun, food, and water are essential. Healthy plumeria will grow vigorously and bloom regularly and profusely when they receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day and an ample amount of the proper fertilisers. Plumeria love lots of water, but can’t tolerate wet feet, so they must be planted in well drained soil.

How to care in the winter season for Plumeria?

In winter season Plumeria foliage starts turning yellow and even starting to defoliate. Fortunately, this is a natural response to the local climate turning cool to cold. It is very common for Plumerias at this time of the year.

Depending on the variety and flower color, some plants will either start partially or completely defoliate around November. Don’t worry. It’s beneficial for plants to go dormant. They store their energy until the weather warms up, then pushes new foliage and flowers.

Caring for your Plumeria in the winter is simple. Do not water too much and if your plants have no leaves, better to not water them at all until they start to push new foliage in the spring. It is not necessary to add fertilizers at this time.

I hope this information will help you to take care of this wonderful tropical plant in winter season!

Once you know the tricks for plumeria plant care, you’ll be rewarded with fragrant flowers all year long!

Happy gardening

 

Best Low Maintenance Flowering Ground Covers

Having just a plain green patch of land in your garden is a little too bland sometimes. Here’s where ground covers can help! What ground covers do is that they produce beautiful blooms and enhance the look of the otherwise bare patches of land. Ground covers also help us bind the soil and protect the land from weeds. They can also fill a lot of empty space in the garden within a short span of time.

Ground covers are the “carpets” of the Garden, adding color and texture to the landscape. Ground cover plants are extremely useful and form an integral part of landscaping.

Ground Cover Uses:

Ground covers can serve many purposes. We use ground cover to add a splash of color to the landscape. It can be used to effectively retain moisture and keep weeds smothered out acting as a living mulch. Sometimes ground cover is just used to fill a problem area in the garden where nothing else will grow.

Before planting ground cover plants, it’s very important to remove weeds thoroughly by hand-weeding. Please avoid harmful weed killers – they are not only harmful for the soil but are also harmful for humans and pets. Step 2 is to improve the soil quality by adding manure or compost to the soil.

In this article, I will be sharing details about different options for beautiful flowering ground covers.

SCARLET SAGE

  • Botanical name: Salvia splendens
  • Common names: Red salvia
  • Sunlight requirement: Full sun to partial afternoon shade.
  • Soil requirements: Grows in well drained and loamy soil.
  • Height: 90 cm tall
  • Flower colors: Red, white, pink and purple.
  • Salvia are most commonly used as bedding plants in most of the countries. The pretty scarlet hue of the blooms makes the ground look more appealing and fresh.
scarlet sage1

Scarlet Sage

IMPATIENS

  • Botanical name: Impatiens walleriana
  • Other names: Busy Lizzie, Balsam
  • Sun requirements: Full to bright filtered light.
  • Height: Grows up to 15-60 cm long.
  • Flower colors: White, pink, red, orange and purple.
  • It is a stem-less herb and perennial in nature.
  • Impatiens is one of the most popular annual flowers, due to their brightly color blooms and their ability to grow in shady areas. The most commonly grown cultivars are short plants, attaining a height of not more than 1 foot.

Impatiens

CUPHEA

  • Botanical name: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • Common names: Mexican Heather, Elfin herb
  • Sun & Soil requirements: Should be planted in full or partial sunlight and in well-drained soil.
  • Height: Maximum height 24 inches.
  • Flowers: White, pink and deep rose varieties.
  • Grown for their long tubular flowers which have a long flowering season. It can be used as ground covers, borders and hedges.
cuphea

Cuphea

DIANTHUS

  • Botanical name: Dianthus caryophyllus
  • Other names: Carnation, Sweet William.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Requires full sun. Most species prefer neutral to alkaline soil while some can also be grown in acidic soil.
  • Height: Grows up to 10 cm (4 inches)
  • Flowers: Pink colored, sweetly fragrant and disc-like blossoms.
  • Commonly used for borders and bedding purposes. Many of their species have grass like foliage which gives them an edge over other ground covers

    Dianthus

    PEACE LILY

  • Botanical name: Spathiphyllum wallisii
  • Common names: Cobra plant, Peace lily.
  • Sun and soil requirement: Bright to medium light and well drained soil with rich organic matter. Keep the soil moist, but do not over water it.
  • Height: Up to 2 feet (60 cm)
  • Flowering season: Blooms repeatedly all-year long, profusely in summer.
  • Peace lilies like shady spots and propagate efficiently in warmer locations. Peace lily are fast growing plant which makes it a perfect fit for ground covers.

Peace lilly

PORTULACA

  • Botanical name: Portulaca grandiflora
  • Other names: Purslane, Moss Rose
  • Soil and sun requirement: Moss rose is very tolerant of poor conditions and dry soil. Moss rose can be grown in any well lit area. Cold climate as well as warm climate is suitable for its growth.
  • Height: Reach up to 40 cm.
  • Flowers: White, yellow, pink and red. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into mid fall.
  • This pretty little plant with needle-like foliage and tiny colorful flowers looks absolutely stunning. It is an annual or perennial (*in warm tropical and subtropical climates) ground cover that spreads densely.
portulaca

Portulaca

GERANIUM

  • Botanical name: Geranium dissectum
  • Other names: Crane’s bill, Cut leaf Geranium.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Rich organic well drained soil and bright to medium sunlight.
  • Height: Grows up to 12 inches tall
  • Flower colors: pink, blue, orange, white, red.
  • This old fashioned tough and aggressive perennial ground cover is a good choice for gardeners who want to grow low maintenance plants. Blooms appear when the weather warms up.

Geranium

 

MARIGOLD

  • Botanical name: Calendula officinalis
  • Other names: Common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold.
  • Soil and sun requirements: Likes rich, well-drained soil but are often tolerant to poor soils and about sun requirement full sun to partial shade would be good enough.
  • Height: Usually up to 6-8 inches barring African marigold, which grows to a probable height of 2-3 feet
  • Flowers: Found in numerous colors, varying from pale yellow to orange-red.
  •  An easy to grow annual plant provide natural pest control and radiant sprays of multi-colored flowers. With proper sunlight and water, these colorful flowers will fill out any garden and add beauty to any yard.
marigold

Marigold

VINCA ROSEA

  • Botanical name: Catharanthus roseus
  • Other names: Madagascar periwinkle, Rose periwinkle, Sadabahar(Hindi), Nayantara (Bengali).
  • Care: Grows in well-drained soil of moderate fertility in full sun or partial shade. Should be sparingly watered in winters. Propagates best in the temperature range of 55-64 degrees F.
  • Height: Grows up to 1 m tall
  • Flowers: Available in various colours, from white to red, the most abundantly seen being pink.
  • The Madagascar periwinkle is a pretty blooming hardy plant.This perennial flower can be found all over India in any climate zone all-round the year.
vinca rosea

Vinca rosea

PETUNIA

  • Botanical name: Petunia
  • Other names: Petunia
  • Soil and sun requirements: Soil with well decomposed organic matter works best. Do well in sunlight to promote multiple blooms.
  • Height: Usually up to 1′ to 2′.
  • Flowers: Found in numerous colors, varying from pink, purple, white and bi color.
  • Petunias known for gorgeous bright colorful flowers and decorative lawn borders, lush with varied flower heads that last all summer long.

Petunia.

These flowering ground covers will help you to add an extra charm to your garden. So folks! add these ground covers to your garden to create a feast for your eyes with rich and varied carpets of colors.

Which flowering ground cover will you choose? We love to hear from our garden lovers. Do tell us in the comment section below.

Happy gardening!

Happy Gardening

Care and Growing tips for ever-blooming beauty : Bougainvillea

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all– Mulan”, I can say this sentence is perfect for  Bougainvillea, which is always blooming and bursting with color around the year.

The inconspicuous flowers are surrounded by brightly colored papery bracts, which are purple or magenta to lighter tints in certain varieties. Bougainvillea is native to Brazil and is also known as a ‘Paper flower’.

  

Bougainvillea are tropical thorny rapid growing ornamental vines and prolific bloomers. Bougainvillea prefers a warm climate, full sun and good drainage.

Depending on the variety, bougainvillea can be grown on a trellis or over an arbor, against a building or fence, in containers, as a hedge, in tree form and as a bonsai.

Bougainvillea can grow anywhere from 1′ to 8′ to 30′, depending on the species or variety. There are actually quite a few dwarf bougainvilleas species also. Some varieties are thorn-less also and some are with variegated foliage and with bi-color flowers.

Caring for a Bougainvillea:

Common Name: Bougainvillea, Paper flower, Kagaz ke phool.

Botanical name: Bougainvillea glabra.

Planting ideas: Bougainvillea can climb up walls and trellises, can be potted in big garden pots and you can hang rows of wire or string against the surface that you want covered.

Category: Shrubs, Tropicals and Tender Perennials, Vines and Climbers.

Water Requirements: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not over water.

Spacing: 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Precaution: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color: Magenta (Pink-Purple), Red, Scarlet (Dark Red),White, Orange

Bloom Time: Bloom around the year but profuse blooming during the summer.

Foliage: Evergreen, Smooth-Textured, Variegated.

Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic soil)

Propagation Methods: From herbaceous stem cuttings, From woody stem cuttings, From softwood cuttings, From semi-hardwood cuttings.

Seed collecting: Plants does not set seed, flowers are sterile or plants will not come true from seed.

Special precaution: Bougainvillea plants are prolific growers and need good pruning to force blooming and retain a pretty shape. Wear gloves when pruning bougainvillea. Some people can get a skin rash from pruning bougainvillea, similar to that from poison ivy. Keep a close eye on growth and adjust when necessary until the bougainvillea starts covering the wall or other surface.

Go ahead, plant and enjoy one of the hardiest, low maintenance and ever blooming plant that is the Bougainvillea!

Share any additional/ tips about the Bougainvillea in the comments below.We would love to know more about these beautiful flowers!

 

Happy-gardening

How to Grow and Care – Carnation

Carnations are known to have been used for the first time by Greeks and Romans in garlands. Its scientific name Dianthus roughly translates to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”.

Carnations signify fascination, distinction, and love. Like many other flowers, different messages can also be expressed with the flower’s different color varieties. Light red carnations, for example, are often used to convey admiration, whereas the dark red version expresses deeper sentiments of love and affection. White carnations are associated with purity and luck, and pink carnations are often given as a sign of gratitude.

Common names: Carnation, Divine flower, Clove pink

Botanical Name: Dianthus caryophyllus

Varieties: 

Carnation varieties can be demarcated into three main groups depending upon flower size and their use.

  • Standard carnation – These have single large flower on an individual stem used as cut flower.
  • Spray carnation – Spray carnation is generally a bunch of flowers on short branches of a single stalk. The flowers are small and compact on each branch.
  • Micro carnation – These have shorter stems and higher production than spray varieties. These are used as ornamental pot plants besides its utility in flower arrangement.

Design Ideas: They can be planted in flower beds or containers.

Dianthus carpophyllus is a species of the genus Dianthus. It is a native from the Mediterranean region but its exact range is unknown. It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 31 inches. The flowers are produced singly or together in a group and are sweetly scented. 

Carnations are grown in dozens of colors and are particularly well-known for their ability to last with less water for long periods of time without wilting or drying out. Some of the varieties can last in water up to three weeks.

Plant Features: 

Life-Cycle: Perennial

Height: 18 to 31 inches

Width/Spread: 3 feet

Flowering season: October to March

Flower: The original natural flower color is bright pinkish-purple and have 3–5 cm diameter, and sweetly scented; flowers are produced singly or up to five together in a cyme

Foliage: Long narrow, needle-like, grey-green, evergreen in many areas

Planting/Growing Details: 

  • Sunlight: Full sun- around 6-8 hours of direct exposure to sunlight. It can be grown indoors and requires bright light, well-drained potting soil and good air circulation for germination and growth.
  • Water: Occasionally- whenever the soil dries out completely as the plant is drought-tolerant. They do not require much water, except in the summer months. Instead of splashing water, spraying is better way to moisten the plants. 
  • Sowing season: Summer
  • Sowing method: The seeds are sown and propagated by seed, cuttings or division. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. The seeds can be sown indoors and outdoors.

Care: The seeds are sown in fertile well-drained soil and prefers a lot of indirect lighting indoors. The seeds can be sown directly and proper care should be ensured to grow into beautiful plants. 

Pests: Insects and disease problems are infrequent. If in any case, insects or pests occur, treat them early with insecticides, repellents or pesticides.

Harvest: Standard carnations are harvested at tight-bud or half open stage. Immediately after harvesting, the flowers should be kept in clean water for preservation.

Propagation: 

  • By seeds: The seeds should be sown in a well-drained soil up to 1/8 inch deep with a space of 12”. The compost should be moist but not wet. The soil should be firmed over seed and mist sprayed occasionally to moisten it. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. 
  • By cuttings: Cuttings taken from the terminal growth can also be used to propagate Carnations. The cuttings, varying from four to six inches long are taken and the basal leaves of at least two to three nodes are removed. Cuttings become ready for transplantation in 25 to 30 days. This method is preferably used in case of perennial Carnations. 

  • By division: Carnations can be grown by division through which we can rejuvenate older plants. Dig up an entire clump, and either pull it apart using your hands to separate the plant segments, or use two gardening forks inserted in the centre of the clump, to gently pry the plant apart. Replant each new division to plant a new perennial or annual, and water it in very well. 

         Hope this blog will inspire you to bring this beautiful carnation in your garden.

Happy-gardening