shreya92@gmail.com'

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

 

 

 

tejas.rane7@gmail.com'

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