Cosmos is an annual flowering plant with long, slender branches and bright daisy-like flowers. Their flower makes a culmination of colour which looks nice all summer and invites bees, butterflies, and birds to your garden. Surprisingly, the beautiful flowering plant is low-maintenance and are easy to care for. They are simple to cultivate by spreading seeds in the garden when the weather is relatively warm, and they will hit maximum development in about two months. The plant can grow up to six feet tall, and since only a few pests or diseases can aggravate them, cosmos plants can look good all season.
Cosmos blooms are daisy-like, with ray florets around a central disc of florets in a shallow cup. The daisy-like flowers range in size from 3 to 5 inches and come in a multitude of colours, including pink, orange, red and yellow, white, and maroon. The flowers can grow in beds or containers and are known to make great cut flowers. Not only broad in colour range but more cultivars are also developed every year. Depending on the species, the leaves grow opposite on the stems and are either deeply lobed, pinnate, or bipinnate and flaky. Cosmos species are native to scrub and meadowland in Mexico, where the majority of them can be found. Some kinds can be found in the United States as far north as the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, although the range also extends from Central America to South America.
Planting and Taking Care of Cosmos
Cosmos is a plant that grows easily. When the plants are established, they can withstand drought, poor soil conditions, and general neglect. They can even self-seed.
If you want to plant cosmos in a place that has cold weathers, you can sow the seeds outside immediately after the frost has passed. Alternatively, you can sow seeds in trays or pots with a good seed-starting mixture 4 to 6 weeks before your last spring frost date. Remember to sow seeds lightly, no more than a quarter inches deep. As soon as they reach 3 or 4 inches in height, transplant them into 5-inch pots. Once the freezing weather passed, young plant transplants can be placed outside. If you are growing cosmos from seed, keep in mind that the first bloom takes roughly 7 weeks. However, your flowers should continue to bloom until the first frost in the fall. Cosmos will self-sow throughout your garden if you let the spiky-brown seed heads blow away during the fall.
Cosmos does not require any specific soil preparation, but they do thrive well in well-draining soil. Cosmos grow best in neutral to alkaline soils but are tolerant to most soil pH levels. They prefer somewhat non-rich soil because rich soil encourages foliage instead of flower blossoms. Although cosmos is a plant that can thrive in hot, dry climates and can even withstand drought, always water them unless there is a limited supply of water. Make sure to not overwater your Cosmos; excessive watering and fertilizer can cause the plants to produce fewer blossoms. Even in a hot, arid, parched location, Cosmos can withstand dry soil.
Cosmos can grow anywhere from 18 to 60 inches tall, depending on the variety, so make sure you have enough room and plan the space accordingly. Staking may be required because some of these plants can grow to be quite tall. Allow them to be protected from severe winds, prune centre branches or stem tips to facilitate balanced branching. They can also be grown against a fence to give the necessary support. Deadheading (pruning off dead/faded flowers) will also help the plants blossom longer and accelerate flower development. Cosmos beds can grow weedy as a result of self-seeding, so remove flowers before they go to seed or thin seedlings in the spring.
Aphids, flea beetles, and thrips can prey on Cosmos, but they are easy to manage with a strong water spray or insecticidal detergent. Cosmos are also susceptible to aster yellows, bacterial wilt, and powdery mildew. To minimize these diseases and enable adequate ventilation, plants need to be spaced adequately.
Different Kinds of Cosmos
Cosmos plants are related to daisies and marigolds and belong to the large Asteraceae family. There are about 20 species of cosmos in the genus, although only two are typically grown in home gardens, Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus.
Mexico, Central America, and northern South America are home to Cosmos sulphureus, also known as Yellow Cosmos. It is drought tolerant and enjoys warmer weather, with golden yellow blossoms. The plant can reach a height of 2 to 6 feet and has double and semi-double flowers. Some of the most recent varieties are shorter, more orange, and have smaller flowers.
Cosmos bipinnatus, also known as Common or Garden Cosmos, are daisy-like flowers that come in different colours including white, pink, red, and orange. They are shorter than Cosmos suphureus, growing 1 to 4 feet tall, and available in many different hybrid series. Cosmos bipinnatus, while not as heat resistant as Cosmos sulphureus, will thrive in almost any sunny location.
There are many other Cosmos bipinnatus, and their many different forms and colours got them their distinctive looks and names. One of them is the beautiful Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Gazebo Red’. Cosmos ‘Gazebo Red’ is a bushy, medium-sized cosmos with gorgeous huge, velvety red blossoms that blooms early. Cosmos ‘Gazebo Red’ is also well-known for attracting pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, moths, and other insects. It has nectar-pollen-rich blooms as well as the birdseed. Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’ is a pure white cosmos that contrasts beautifully with brighter flowers. It is a lovely garden plant that also works well as a cut flower. Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sea Shells’ has a distinct form. The petals of Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’ are unusually fluted, like those of a seashell. From its golden, button-like centre, bright pink petals radiate out. Contrastingly, the blooms of Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Picotee’ are lovely and eye-catching. The petals are silky pinkish-white with an uneven deep crimson border.
Aside from the two most common variety, many other cosmos kinds are very intriguing and have interesting colours. One of them is the Cosmos atrosanguineus or chocolate cosmos. Chocolate cosmos is a popular late-summer addition to warm borders, thanks to its vanilla and hot chocolate aroma as well as its darkish brownish-red blooms.