Annuals forum: Zinnia's and Cosmos questions . . .

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Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 3, 2015 11:38 AM CST
I planted seeds of Zinnia and Cosmos early in the season.
They have now grown to a height of 6-ft. They are towering in the garden and have now become rather "scraggly".
Does anyone know if there are Shorter Zinnia seeds available?
I think I may have to give up on the Cosmos entirely.
I am really a "Iris" gardener, and after I cut out the Zinnia and Cosmos the spaces will be filled with Iris rhizomes.
I just need for next year a much Shorter Zinnia.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Aug 3, 2015 12:26 PM CST
Will be watching for the answer....I too would like to grow shorter zinnias...mine are looking very sad and scruffy
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Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 3, 2015 1:06 PM CST
Unfortunately, I am going to have to dig up the Annual garden early this year - I need the space for all the Iris rhizomes that will be occupying the space. Yes, the Zinnias and Cosmos are really looking
scraggly now with all the intense Heat we've had here over the last month or so here in NJ.
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
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ZenMan
Aug 3, 2015 5:34 PM CST
Hi Patrick,

Zinnias stretch to higher than their "advertised" heights when they are planted too close together, creating competition for light, and thus extra height. Right off hand, I think the tallest packet description zinnia height is Benary's Giants at 4 feet.

" I just need for next year a much Shorter Zinnia. "

There are many varieties of short zinnias, but since you are replacing your zinnias with Iris rhizomes, this height question is becoming moot.

ZM
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
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ZenMan
Aug 3, 2015 5:57 PM CST
Hi Ginger,

" I too would like to grow shorter zinnias... "

The Pinwheels, Profusions, and Zaharas are all short mildew resistant strains.

In "regular" Zinnia elegans (violacea) the Thumbelina is the shortest, starting to bloom at only 3 inches and reaching an ultimate height of 6 inch bushes. Zinnita is a 12-inch F1 hybrid. Short Stuff has relatively large flowers on a short plant. Zinnia Magellan is a bedding zinnia 12-14 inches high and with many 4-inch blooms. Zinnia Dreamland is similar to Magellan.

ZM
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Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 3, 2015 6:00 PM CST
ZenMan said:Hi Patrick,

Zinnias stretch to higher than their "advertised" heights when they are planted too close together, creating competition for light, and thus extra height. Right off hand, I think the tallest packet description zinnia height is Benary's Giants at 4 feet.

" I just need for next year a much Shorter Zinnia. "

There are many varieties of short zinnias, but since you are replacing your zinnias with Iris rhizomes, this height question is becoming moot.

ZM


No, ZM, not a moot point. I actually will be planting Zinnia next Summer also - Yes, in the same garden beds as my Iris rhizomes. So I do infact need to know if there are available SHORTER Zinnia varieties out there - but I see you have already answered that to Ginger !
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
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ZenMan
Aug 4, 2015 11:59 AM CST
Hi Patrick,

" ...not a moot point. I actually will be planting Zinnia next Summer also - Yes, in the same garden beds as my Iris rhizomes. "

Oh. Good. Then my recommendations to Ginger can go for you, too.

The Zinnia marylandicas (Pinwheels, Profusions, and Zaharas) are probably best for you, due to their good resistance to Powdery Mildew. I don't grow them because breeding zinnias is my hobby, and the Marylandicas have 46 chromosomes and are incompatible with my 24-chromosome Zinnia violaceas (elegans). I do have to deal with Powdery Mildew, but since I prefer larger flowers and plants, I accept that inconvenience.

ZM
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Aug 4, 2015 12:21 PM CST
can you pinch back zinnias to keep them from getting so tall and have them bush out a little?
Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 4, 2015 12:23 PM CST
ZenMan said:Hi Patrick,

" ...not a moot point. I actually will be planting Zinnia next Summer also - Yes, in the same garden beds as my Iris rhizomes. "

Oh. Good. Then my recommendations to Ginger can go for you, too.

The Zinnia marylandicas (Pinwheels, Profusions, and Zaharas) are probably best for you, due to their good resistance to Powdery Mildew. I don't grow them because breeding zinnias is my hobby, and the Marylandicas have 46 chromosomes and are incompatible with my 24-chromosome Zinnia violaceas (elegans). I do have to deal with Powdery Mildew, but since I prefer larger flowers and plants, I accept that inconvenience.

ZM


ZM:: Good News, great, thanks for the info. I'm going to hold onto it for next year. Right now my Cosmos and Zinnia are approaching 7-ft tall. They have become unmanageable, and now are looking
rather unsightly, so I am going to begin to cut down the Annual garden and prepare the soil for the Iris rhizomes, which right now are all planted in pots. Thanks for the recommendations and information on Zinnias! Thank You!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Aug 4, 2015 12:37 PM CST
http://garden.org/plants/search/text/?q=zinnia&button=
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
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vitrsna
Aug 4, 2015 1:03 PM CST
There are many varieties of dwarf zinnias...i think there is even a variety called "knee-high.' You can also pinch back the regular zinnias starting early and they will be much shorter and bushier. Not sure how this would effect the flowers.
Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 4, 2015 1:25 PM CST
My Zinnia's are gorgeous. I could never not have them in my garden. The colors they display are not found in any other flower! I go out to the garden and just stare at them for 10-minutes and smile!
This year, they are nice and large and tall, but they are hovering over my Iris rhizomes so that they
don't get any sunlight. So I need to find a smaller shorter Zinnia (even though I will really miss the
large tall, beautiful Zinnia I have this year). Sad
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Aug 4, 2015 2:46 PM CST
Not sure which Cosmos you have grown, but I assume one of the taller varieties?
Cosmos bipinnatus Sonata (various colours and also a mix is available) is a superb choice for a rather small, well branching, bushy plant. However too much fertilizer will give an oversized plant with fewer flowers, really it seems to need almost no fertilizer at all.
Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 5, 2015 4:22 AM CST
I grow the BURPEE brand Cosmos that you buy in Home Depot and Lowe's in the Spring. There are usually only One (1) variety of Cosmos sold in seed packets in stores, I didn't know there were "Varieties" of Cosmos. For specialty type seeds, I would have to order them online via a special
Seed Supplier. I don't use fertilizer at all. It was the Spring Rains followed by the intense Sunlight
that caused my Cosmos to reach 7-ft in height.
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Aug 5, 2015 5:24 AM CST
Not very familiar with what you have available in big box stores in the U.S. but yes there are many varieties available. Even Burpee does seem to have quite a lot of Cosmos available on their website, http://www.burpee.com/flowers/cosmos/ , but it makes sense that stores would only stock the most common.

No fertilizer at all sounds just about right for Cosmos Smiling . I have grown the taller Cosmos in the past and know that they can get much taller than what the packages says, even in our colder Swedish summers. They do remain shorter if given a lot of space, but even the short ones will grow a lot taller than stated if you have a long/warm summer. The Sonata series stand out as it has large flowers, even though the plant itself is short. If you like the general look of Cosmos, but wish it would be smaller and more well branched it could be a good choice.
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
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ZenMan
Aug 6, 2015 12:03 PM CST
Frillylily said:can you pinch back zinnias to keep them from getting so tall and have them bush out a little?

Yes, that will make them much bushier, and provide some control to their height, although the new side branches may grow upward some and cancel out some of the height control.

The shortest of the Zinnia elegans (violacea) are the Thumbelina strain, which start blooming when they are only 3 inches tall, and ultimately form a little 6-inch bush.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Aug 13, 2015 3:43 AM CST
For me zinnias always grow taller than advertised, and I've only grown cosmos once so I really cant speak to that. My saved seed zinnias regardless of named variety always go 4' or so. The alleged 3' plants grow to 4' too. Smaller blooms, less foliage, but height is always there. I've got some candy cane mix listed at 30'' pushing 4' sown in late June. Proper cutting, in my experience, does increase bloom. I'll take a picture this week off a really skinny planting that's had a few cuttings. Nothing great but it's quite a showy bed. I've cut it's best and it's bulking up, it's a happy bunch. It could be better, veggies out back are on center stage.
Name: Patrick
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
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Denman55
Aug 13, 2015 9:16 AM CST
My Zinnias and Cosmos have petered out quickly this summer - the Intense heat here we've had for a few weeks did them in. Now I'm going to pull them all out - they are all most unattractive, and the foliage is brown and dying on all plants.

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