ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Inept Gardener: Growing Cosmos and Zinnias

Updated on June 18, 2013

Gardening can be a true joy, especially when after careful cultivation the plants really thrive. I love to get out and do my best for my plants, but often what I try to grow just doesn't make it. Sometimes this is due to my complete ineptness and other times to conditions out of my control like weather and wild critters. It is helpful to know what flowers the deer really like as an appetizer. I have seen my petunias, pansies, snap dragons and hummingbird vines disappear overnight. The Javelina seem to enjoy tulip and daffodil bulbs. Living in the high Arizona desert can also be a challenge to find flowers that will give a great show of color, yet not require too much of that precious water. Our annual rainfall is only about 12 inches, so water conservation is very important. I have tried many things, often to the point of feeling like a real plant killer, but have settled on a few varieties of flowers that have worked successfully year after year.

Source

COSMOS

The first and most stalwart variety is cosmos. These beautiful flowers put on a great show for most of the summer. They have lovely feathery leaves and will produce lots of blooms per plant. They also don't particularly like enriched and fertilized soil, therefore will grow great amongst the rocks and weeds. A well established cosmos bed will actually choke out the weeds. The plants usually grow 2 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. However, when our summer rains are plentiful, our cosmos have grown to 6 to 8 feet high. Sometimes they get so heavy with blooms we need to secure a rope to hold the whole bed in place. Cosmos do well in Zones 2-11, they like the sun and will attract bees and butterflies. An occasional hummingbird will also give them a try, but I'm not sure they come away with much nectar.

The seeds are sown right into the soil after the last frost. Spread them evenly and cover lightly with soil. Add water and the seedlings should be up in about 2 weeks. Cosmos are beautiful as a showpiece in a pot, as a background for smaller plants, or all by themselves in their own flower bed. They are an annual which means they should be replanted each year. The seeds can be harvested in the fall and replanted in the spring. Another idea is once the plants have dried, break the stems and let the whole plant lie in the flower bed all winter. This makes a nice mulch and also gets those seeds right into the ground without re-sowing each spring. When spring comes remove the old plants and start watering the bed or pot. Those prolific Cosmos will pop right back up! It's hard to keep a good cosmos down, even for an inept gardener. One more characteristic of cosmos is that they can be found growing in lots of places in your yard. Sometimes this creates some great effects. Give them a try this summer. They are one plant that will keep going without a lot of fuss and neighbors will think a skilled gardener must live in that house!

Source

ZINNIAS

Another great flower for inept gardeners is the Zinnia. There are many varieties of Zinnias and they can be grown in all zones in the warm summer weather. I have found that Zinnias like a more enriched soil so I tend to sow them into pots. I typically sow them in the pots after the fear of frost is over and the seeds will sprout up in about one week. My Zinnias typically grow about 2 feet high. Each plant produces a single long lasting bloom. The blooms are a variety of colors and can be 3 to 4 inches in diameter with multiple petals. They are tolerant of many extreme weather conditions like heat, drought, and humidity. When the flowers are done, the whole bloom will visibly dry out. Once it is completely dry, break it off and place over a paper towel or a piece of newspaper to pull out the petals. At the end of each petal will be a seed to be saved for next season.

Both Cosmos and Zinnias can give a great show of color for very little effort.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • SimpleJoys profile imageAUTHOR

      SimpleJoys 

      5 years ago

      They are probably about the easiest flower I have ever grown. I hope they do very well for you Valene!

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Cosmos are my favorite flower! I had no idea they were so easy to grow...I will have to give them a try this year!

    • Bonsie007 profile image

      Bonsie007 

      5 years ago

      I love zinnias and raise them every year. They're so easy to grow and so colorful. I see you live in Arizona! A very beautiful state.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)