11 Juni 2010

Why Start Cosmos Sunflowers & Zinnias Outside

By: Christine Eirschele

Gardeners can save money by starting a garden from flower seed packets. Sunflower, Cosmos and Zinnia are three flowering plants easily started outside from seed.

Saving Money Growing Flowers

Gardeners will save money when growing flowers from seed packets. The planting directions on the back of seed packets should include planting depths, spacing and thinning measurements and indoor and outdoor instructions. It makes starting flowers a useful economical garden strategy.

While starting plant seeds indoors saves time, growers will keep seeds that have short germination periods for starting outside, after soil has warmed. Flowers such as the Cosmos, Zinnia and sunflower are ideas gardeners often start outside.

Easy Annual Seeds to Grow

Sunflowers, Cosmos and Zinnias are easy annual seeds to grow. The seeds grow best in warm soil, after all danger of frost is gone. In local areas, this is the same time when annual bedding plants are safe to put out in gardens.

The sunflower, botanical name Helianthus annuus, is a tall plant with large solitary disk blooms, however there are dwarf varieties that will fit small gardens, too. Sunflower seeds should be planted in ½” of soil and watered well. When the seedlings has grown 3” tall, thin to 6” apart and then again to 24” apart. Sunflower plants are often grown with other edible plants in a kitchen garden where the seeds can be harvested for a family treat or kept to feed wildlife in winter or as a host plant in flowerbeds to attract butterflies.

Cosmos flowers are annual plants that tolerate hot dry garden conditions. Cosmos seeds germinate quickly, in 5 – 10 days. Seedlings should be thinned after growing 12” tall. Cosmos self sows its seeds the following year. Also a disk shaped flower, it attracts butterflies and makes a good choice for a cutting garden.

Zinnia elegans thrives in hot dry gardens, will attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are strong cut flowers. Zinnia seeds are planted 3” – 6” apart and thin seedlings when 3” tall. Plant spacing is important, as it requires good air circulation to discourage powdery mildew later in the season. The Zinnia 'Zahara' varieties were named All America Selection winners for 2010.

Soil Preparation Before Planting Seeds

As with indoor seed starting, beginning with light quality soil is necessary. If the soil was not cleared during the prior fall cleanup or is a new bed, gardeners will want weeds removed and soil dug in with organic material.

Move soil into mounds or rows and drop seeds, following each seed packet’s particular directions. Seed size is one factor determining the amount of seeds and spacing, realizing that seedlings are thinned later, as the remainder of plants is left to mature.

Family Project Seed Starting and Saving

Starting a garden from flower seed packets is an economical choice, as well as a fun family project. Many garden hobbyists had their start as a child by planting annual seeds and have continued making seed saving an enjoyable part of the gardening experience.

Sunflowers, Cosmos and Zinnia flowers are easy annual seeds to start outside in a garden, at the same time providing blooms all summer in butterfly and hummingbird gardens or for cutting flowers.

Source: http://flowergardens.suite101.com/article.cfm/why-start-cosmos-sunflowers--zinnias-outside

See Also: Beli Bunga, Flowers Auckland, Gift Pakistan

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