Friday, July 22, 2011


The Arboretum's Fire Hydrant Garden was created to demonstrate what can be grown in small, sunny, dry and rather inhospitable spot.  This small bed contains assorted sedums and grasses.  But scattered throughout is a nice annual that conveniently reseeds itself each year:  Cosmos sulphureus.  
This plant stays about a foot tall with golden flowers of about an 1" to 1 1/2".  It has ferny foilage.  But best of all it blooms and blooms and blooms.  It readily reseeds to ensure more blooms until frost and then if you have let some go to seed, they will start blooming again after sprouting when the soil warms next growing season.  This flower doesn't need fertilizing or much water.  Plants under stress tend to just be smaller.  Watch carefully for new seedlings sprouting around the base of the plants this year so you won't mistakenly pull them out next year thinking they are weeds.  Below you will see them in the Fire Hydrant Garden:

So, if this hasn't convinced you to grow these easy care annuals, read this from the AgriLife Extension from Texas A&M.  (NOTE: List has been edited for space.  The full article can be found at Aggie Horticulture)

#10 -- Cosmos is one of the easiest-to-grow flowers... and is generally a pest-free annual.
# 9 -- Cosmos is THE BEST annual for Hot, Dry Locations
# 8 -- Cosmos is THE BEST annual for Poor Soils
# 7 -- Cosmos is a self-seeding annual
# 6 -- Cosmos is an annual which can be direct - seeded into the planting area
# 5 -- Cosmos flowers can be used as Cut Flowers.
# 4 -- Cosmos flowers are suitable for drying.
# 3 -- Cosmos are suitable for backgrounds and screens. 
# 2 -- Cosmos attracts birds and butterflies such as (Monarch - Danaus plexippus)
AND, THE NUMBER 1 REASON everyone should grow cosmos is -- Growing cosmos is as close as any of us will ever come to actually causing a "cosmic event" but it will be easy for ANY of us to produce showy flowers in an orderly arrangement of cosmic proportions.