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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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What exactly is a Rock Garden?

Rock gardens are a great way to display rocks and sunny, alpine plants together. Rock garden should look natural and not superimposed. It can be made in open sunshine or partial shade.

What exactly is a Rock garden?

Garden planned around natural rock formations or rocks artificially arranged to replicate natural (often mountainous) conditions. The concept of rock gardens is believed to have been introduced from China and Japan into the Western world in the 17th cent. They have since gained wide popularity as an ideal method for the cultivation of mountain flora and for beautifying hilly, stony or other awkward terrain. 

Rock plants usually have long roots that enable them to obtain moisture even when the surface is hot and dry. Low plants requiring well-drained conditions are suited to rock gardens: besides alpine plants, these include stonecrops and species of phlox, bluebell, and succulents.

A rock garden can provide several different habitats even in quite a small area. A rock, for example, can be placed so that sun-loving plants make the most of its sunny face whereas shade-tolerant plants can nestle in its north-facing shadow. A large garden is not essential as it is possible to incorporate a rock garden into all sizes of the plot.

Choosing the right site:

  • Aim to use the most open position, away from overhanging trees or tree roots, where plants will receive sun for the greater part of the day.
  • It is better to have fewer hours of sun per day than the whole day in light shade
  • Choose a position where the drainage is perfect unless you are prepared to build raised beds or enhance drainage in other ways.

Choosing the best Rocks for garden:

      Rock gardens are quite an investment in hard materials such as rock, stone, gravel or slate.Choose local stone if possible.

  • Sandstone is an example of a suitable rock, widely available, that is not too alkaline (limestone) or hard and dense (granite).
  • Limestone from natural ‘limestone pavements’ was widely used.  These pavements are a scarce and finite resource with a unique flora.  
  • Choose stone in a range of to construct a natural-looking outcrop.

Placing the stone:

To create as natural a rock garden as possible select large stones to act as ‘keystones’. Position the larger of these first and place the remaining ones so that the layer look natural. Use a spade to dig out hollows to set the stone into. A crowbar will help move the stones into their permanent positions. Support them with smaller stones or bricks underneath. Aim for a naturalistic look when setting the rock in place. The rocks should tilt backward, with the strata running the same way. Use weed-free topsoil for the top layer of the rock garden, working it underneath and between the stones to set them firmly in place.  Bury the stones up to a third of their depth, firming them in place. Leave the areas between the stones uniform and add the specially made compost over the area to create planting pockets.


Planting the rock garden: 

Remove the plant from the pot, make sure the plants are planted firmly in the compost mix and are top-dressed with gravel or soil. Set a few plants first, then add rocks around them. Try to cover as much of the surface as possible with rocks and plants.

Plants for rock garden:

A wide range of plants called’ Alpines’ can be grown successfully, like achillea, alyssum, azalea, begonia semperflorens, dianthus, gazania, linum, primula. Perennials like – phlox, saxifrage, verbena can be grown too. Besides, one can grow cacti, succulents, euphorbia milli, sedum, miniature roses, lantana, and ferns.

There are many ways you can design your rock garden. Select the perfect site that is suitable to your landscape conditions to achieve a better effect and if you choose plants wisely, no matter what kind of design you have chosen, you will have a beautiful, thriving rock garden to be proud of !

Happy gardening