Cosmos Flowers

Tall, bushy with large profuse flowers. An old fashion favorite that attracts all the butterflies and hummingbirds

Cosmos Flowers February 25, 2012

Cosmos Flowers

Cosmos flowers are the October birth month flower. They are a very delicate looking flower that comes in both perennial and annual types. 

Cosmos have about 25 different species. They are commonly grown in Mexico and the southern parts of the United States. They also grow well in Central and South America. 

This particular type of flower comes in many bright colors. Some popular Cosmos flowers colors are pinks, reds, yellow, magenta, and white. They grow to be anywhere from 2 to 4 feet tall.

Whichever color you choose, most varieties have a yellow circle in the center. I like Cosmos because they have such a pretty look to them. Almost like a wide circular fan. The petals stretch open to reveal the delicate yellow center. 

They grow upon tall stems, and are surrounded by whimsical looking foliage. Everything about this flower just establishes its look of delicateness. 

The flower itself can grow in a moderate based soil. The soil will need to be moist, but will have to have good drainage. The roots and stems can rot in too much moisture. 

Cosmos flowers grow their best when planted in a spot with full sun. You can begin to plant the seeds in the middle toward the end of spring. They grow well in the cooler temperatures of the springtime. 

When they begin to grow, the October birth month flower may have some problems. You may notice some mildew or mold on the leaves. Also if planted in moist wet soil, they can get stem and root rot. Again, make sure they are in well-drained soil. 

Once planted, Cosmos flowers should begin to grow in the summer, and continue growing into the fall, if you take care of them. Once you see little flower buds beginning to grow, just water them regularly, careful not to make the soil to wet.

The most common species that you usually see is the Cosmos bipinnatus. They are commonly known as Garden Cosmos. They are about 2 feet tall and grow in colors of white, red, and pink.

The bipinnatus comes in different kinds such as Candy Stripes, Daydream, Seashells, and Sonata.

Sonatas are dwarfs that have blossoms that are multicolored. Candy Stripes are white blooms with an outer edging in the petals that is crimson red.

Daydream flowers are predominately white, with a pink center. Seashells come in pinks and white. They may start out in one color and then have a different shade at the tips of their petals. 

If you live in an area with hot summer sun, you may want to plant Cosmos sulfurous. They adapt better then Garden cosmos to the hot sun. 

They bloom flowers in yellows and oranges. Some types of this variety also bloom doubled petals. 

The variety you choose will have to be a choice of what type of colors or color scheme you are working on for your garden. Also think about the weather in your region before planting a specific species. 

Seriously Flowers

 

COSMOS PRODUCES COSMIC BEAUTY October 30, 2008

COSMOS PRODUCES COSMIC BEAUTY

How would you like to own a universe? This will probably never happen but you can grow a plant which produces “showy flowers” in an “orderly arrangement of cosmic proportions”. Cosmos is the flower you should grow. Spanish priests grew cosmos in their mission gardens in Mexico. The evenly placed petals led them to christen the flower “Cosmos,” the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe. Cosmos, like many of our warm weather annuals such as marigolds, originated in Mexico and South America. 

Cosmos belongs to that vast family of plants known as Compositae. Although there are 20 known species of cosmos, two annual species, Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus, are most familiar to home gardeners. These two species are most easily differentiated by leaf structure and flower color. The leaves of C. sulphureus are long, with narrow lobes and hairy margins. The flower colors of this species are always shades of yellow, orange or red. The C. bipinnatus has leaves that are finely cut into threadlike segments. The foliage looks similar to ferns. The flowers are white or various shades of pink to dark rose.

Cosmos sulphureus (Yellow Cosmos) – the species native to the Americas – is my favorite and the one I recommend you try if you have never grown cosmos.. Plants of yellow cosmos can range in height from 4 to 7 feet but the cultivated varieties such as ‘Crest Red’, ‘Ladybird Dwarf Red’, ‘Ladybird Dwarf Gold’, ‘Ladybird Dwarf Orange’, ‘Ladybird Dwarf Lemon’, and Yellow Cosmos – Klondyke Mix are not as tall. The flower heads are composed of disc and ray flowers. The disc, or center flowers are yellow: the ray, or outer petals range from pale yellow or mustard to orange-scarlet. Red is a relatively recent addition to the color range of C. sulphureus. The native species is golden-yellow to orange.

Is C. sulphureus cosmos easy to grow? You bet they are! Here is the cultural information provided by John Thomas of Wildseed Farms who rates C. sulphureus cosmos with an 80 percent planting success: YELLOW COSMOS INFORMATION FROM WILDSEED FARMS 

Rich, fertile soils tend to produce unusually tall, lanky plants. Yellow cosmos requires full sun. Sow seed of C. sulphureus in early spring since seedlings are not winter hardy. The average planting success with this species is 80 percent. The plant height is 2 – 4 feet depending on culture and variety selected. Plants will germinate in 7 – 21 days when the soil temperature is optimum for germination at 70 – 80 degrees F. Plant seed 1/16 inch deep by raking into the soil. C. sulphureus plants bloom from May – November. Plants should be sheared every 30 days or whenever seed pods predominate. Large areas can be seeded at a rate of 15 pounds per acre C. sulphureus plants bloom approximately 50 – 55 days after germination. Yellow cosmos needs to be replanted each spring for continued success.

Yellow cosmos is easy to start from seed. Rich, fertile conditions are not necessary to grow yellow cosmos, but adequate drainage is. The seeds may be sown outdoors after all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees F. Scatter the seeds right where the yellow cosmos are to be displayed. Firm or rake seeds into a loose soil — if the seed is planted too deep, germination can be affected. Keep the soil moist for 5 – 10 days after seeding. Seeds will germinate in 7 – 21 days. If the early spring has been cold, soil temperatures will remain cool also. If the soil temperature is below 65 F., seeds may not germinate as rapidly. Thinning is really not necessary.

Yellow cosmos is a sun – loving annual; it will not produce as many blooms if grown in the shade. Choose a location that receives at least 8 – 10 hours of direct, sunbathing sunlight. Cosmos will perform best if grown in well-drained soil. Yellow cosmos is not a heavy feeder. Excess fertilization will cause plants to produce excessive leaf growth at the expense of flower production.

Yellow cosmos needs only basic care to provide a colorful abundance of blooms all summer long. After the seedlings emerge, water VERY SPARINGLY. In lieu of any rainfall during an entire month, give the planting bed a long, slow drink. Cosmos is drought tolerant, providing abundant blooms with less water than most other annuals. Herein lies the “problem” which many people encounter when growing cosmos — they “over-care” for their cosmos plants. “Over-care” means too much water, too much fertility and too much shade. When “over-care” occurs, cosmos becomes tall and spindly (even when the new, lower-growing varieties are used), and blooms sparsely. John Thomas says that the best growers of cosmos practice “tough-love” plant culture. “Tough-love” watering means only watering when the cosmos foliage begins to wilt. “Tough-love” fertility means very little if any soil fertility. “Tough-love” location means no shade and in direct, all-day blazing sunlight. Cosmos grows best in the worst conditions Texas has to offer — hot and dry. This is why cosmos is the best possible annual for Texas. When not exposed to “tough-love” growing conditions, this otherwise beautiful flowering plant becomes tall, spindly and sparsely floriferious. Cosmos sulphureus (Yellow Cosmos) is not as sensitive as Cosmos bipinnatus to pampering and “over-care”. However, if you can discipline yourself to do some “tough-love” growing of Cosmos bipinnatus, you can produce the lovely pastels which the ladies really like. Gardeners also have the added advantage of the naturally smaller growing Cosmos bipinnatus varieties such as ‘Gloria’ pink, ‘Tetra Versailles’ red, ‘Candy Stripe’ white with red veins, ‘Day Dream’ white with red halo around yellow stamens, ‘Picotee’ white petals with red margins, ‘Sea Shells’, ‘Dwarf Sensation Mix’ and ‘Psycho White’.

Because cosmos is so easy to grow in the worse conditions spring and summer have to offer, it can be seeded in the spring for early summer bloom or in mid-summer (June) for late summer (August) – until- frost bloom as well. Since cosmos seed actually sprout faster in hot soils and the plant grows best in hot, dry summer temperatures, you can increase your plant population and bloom display by cutting back spring-planted cosmos. When the spring-planted cosmos begins to look as if there are an abundance of dried seed pods, do not remove the plants — encourage re-bloom simply by cutting the plants back to 12 – 18 inches high. They will be back in bloom in a month and the seed cut off will fall to the ground, germinate in the hot soil and increase the density of your plant population and subsequently, the eventual bloom display.

In summary,
THE TOP TEN REASONS EVERYONE SHOULD BE GROWING COSMOS ARE:  

#10 — Cosmos is one of the easiest-to-grow flowers in Texas 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
Freshly cut cosmos blooms make a bright airy bouquet. An arrangement of cosmos can last for 7 – 10 days. Select flowers whose petals have just unfolded; they will open fully once cut. Cut the flowers in the morning when their water content is highest and immediately place them in a deep container of tepid water. Before arranging, strip foliage from the lower portion of the stems. If leaves are submerged under water, they will decay quickly, shortening the life of the bouquet.

# 4 — Cosmos flowers are suitable for drying There are many summer flowering annuals which are excellent for drying. Marigold, salvia, cosmos, zinnia, coreopsis and gloriosa daisy are among the most popular and make fine dried specimens. A complete description of how to dry flowers can be found at:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/
misc/dryflrs.html 
        

# 3 — Cosmos are suitable for backgrounds and screens
Mid-sized varieties add an airy note when interplanted with evergreen shrubs. Edge a garden path or driveway with medium height cosmos in pastel or bright hues. Because they bloom so freely all summer and into early fall, cosmos is recommended for these highly visible areas.

# 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.

 

 

 

Cosmos: dependable beauty – flower gardening

                                               

Cosmos: dependable beauty – flower gardening

THE TRANSLUCENT FLOWERS OF the cosmos, a favorite garden annual for generations, have been a relatively recent discovery for me. I first noticed the rose-hued flowers of Cosmos bipinnatus in rambling country gardens in the mountains of northeastern Georgia. I was captivated by the flowers’ airborne effect; they seemed to float on their tall, gently waving stalks. At dusk the whiteflowered varieties appeared as stars suspended above the feathery foliage and slender stems, which became almost invisible at twilight.

Cosmos is often described as an easy flower for beginners, as almost nothing can go wrong. Worthy types range from the rose, pink and white of C. bipinnatus to the fiery oranges and golds of C. sulphureus, both annuals, and even to the little-known, chocolate-scented black cosmos (C. atrosanguineus), a perennial in Zones 7 through 10. The cosmos is a member of the daisy or composite family, a fact not surprising given the classic daisy form of its flowers.

C. bipinnatus is a tall, sprawling plant, towering from 4 to 6 feet or more. I have grown some problem specimens that billowed taller than 6 feet and were felled by the slightest wind. With a little foresight, however, this problem can be solved by supporting taller varieties with stakes, or more sensibly, by pinching the plants back early in their development to encourage compactness.

In its most common form, C. bipinnatus has single flowers of rose, pinkish lavender, rich maroon or white. Hybridizers stay busy, however, creating new varieties. ‘Seashells’ is particularly intriguing, with its tubular petals, each flaring into a trumpet shape at the tip. The petals of ‘Candy Stripe’ are vivid white outlined with crimson, giving the look of a Christmas candy cane. ‘Daydream’ produces a misty, almost ethereal effect with its frosty pale-pink petals deepening to rose at the center.

As an added bonus, the three previously mentioned varieties average from 30 to 36 inches in height, making them a good choice for smaller gardens. Gardeners with a very small planting area would do well to try the dwarf cosmos ‘Sonata White.’ Plants of this variety grow only 2 feet in height, bearing snowy white flowers with golden yellow centers.

Evocative of the tropical climate from which it came, Cosmos sulphureus lights up gardens with a bold, bright color scheme that ranges from golden yellow to blazing orange-red. This type of cosmos tends to be sturdier than C. bipinnatus; taller varieties, however, may require support. The smallest hybrids, usually about a foot high, resemble marigolds in the garden. Two of these, ‘Ladybird’ and ‘Sunny Gold,’ are tolerant of dry weather and heat, and produce plenty of semidouble blooms until frost.

The cosmos’s dependability is certainly refreshing. Its large, easy-to-handle seeds may be sown directly in the garden and can almost always be counted on for success, a trait that is true of too few plants. Space the seeds at least an inch apart, as growth is usually quite rapid. Because it needs warm soil to germinate, cosmos should not be sown until well after the last frost of spring. Choose a site with lots of sun and sharply drained soil of average to low fertility. Fertilizers will encourage rich green foliage instead of flowers.

Plant taller varieties of cosmos well to the back of mixed borders. They are effective against walls or railings or planted as a screen. When mixing cosmos with other flowers, it helps to remember that many varieties do not reach their peak until late in the season. Drifts of cosmos mist the background of my garden in early fall, putting out their flowers alongside dahlias and chrysanthemums. Despite its fragile appearance, the cosmos makes an excellent cut flower.

Another characteristic of cosmos — one that some gardeners may consider a drawback — is its ability for rampant self-seeding. I discover seedlings in the most unexpected places, from cracks in the patio to the large compost pile in the woods. Each blossom produces a cluster of about 30 or 40 seeds that are particularly appealing to goldfinches; I often see these lovely little birds feeding on faded cosmos plants in November.

Other winged creatures are drawn to cosmos as well, including butterflies and hummingbirds, which drink nectar from their favorite crimson and maroon varieties. With the departure of the hummingbirds for warmer regions and the first frost, the cosmos season comes to an abrupt end. Discovering this carefree flower has proved a delight for me, and I look forward to its unassuming beauty every summer.

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Candy Stripe Cosmos

   Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Candy Stripe’

Bunches of daisy-like flowers and graceful feathery foliage make them a delight in both color and texture. Attactive to birds and butterflies, they are available in two species. Cosmos bipinnatus come in pink, rose, red, white, lavender and bicolors, and Cosmos sulfureus in yellow, orange and scarlet orange. Some varieties of this fast-grower have semi-double flowers, rolled quilled petals or bicolor striped colors. Use 3- to 6-foot tall plants as background, or in wild or naturalistic gardens. Dwarf forms, 1 to 2 feet tall, are good for containers. Excellent cut flowers. Considered drought resistant, Cosmos grows best in full sun, but will grow well and flower earlier in poor, fairly dry soils. Easy to grow from seed, they seed themselves. Do not over-fertilize, unless you want lush plants with few flowers. Tall varieties require stalking. Nearly pest-free, but watch for borers or fungal diseases.

Attributes – Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Candy Stripe’Plant Type: Annual

Bloom Season: Early Summer through Mid Fall

Flower Color: Pink, White

Height: 3 ft. to 4 ft.

Width: 2 ft.

Sunlight: Full Sun

Here is a must visit website SunnyGardens.com

It not only is super packed with information on all types of plants, shrubs and trees, but also has a discussion forum.  Wonderful site!

Notes: Cut Flowers, Long Blooming, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Aphids, Beetles, Powdery Mildew, Root Rot, Spider Mites.

                         

 

How to Grow Chocolate Cosmos

    How to Grow Chocolate Cosmos  

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguinea) is both nose and eye candy for your garden. When it’s in full bloom, mature blossoms on long, slender stems look like candy kisses on a stick and fill the late afternoon with the sweet scent of vanilla tinged chocolate. New blossoms hug the foliage of the plant, nearly concealing it with their numbers! Add to that the sweet chocolate fragrance and you end up with something very special.

Although chocolate cosmos is endangered in the wild, transplants are easily found at most nurseries and garden centers in the spring. However, gardeners who are inexperienced in how to grow chocolate cosmos may overlook what seem to be small, messy tangles of miniature dahlia leaves, unaware that once established, prolific blossoms nearly conceal the foliage. Once in bloom, chocolate cosmos blossoms continuously throughout the summer into the first frosts of autumn.

If you’re planning a gothic garden, chocolate cosmos is the plant for you. Sometimes referred to as black cosmos, dark maroon blossoms are so deep in color that they appear brown/black in late afternoon and evening.

A native of Mexico, the chocolate cosmos is a half-hardy perennial and a sun loving plant that is moderately drought tolerant.

You’ll most easily grow chocolate cosmos from transplants purchased at your local garden center or nursery. Large clumps of established plants can also be divided to provide as many as three or four transplants.

Plant chocolate cosmos in organically rich, well-drained soil in a location that gets full sun. Keep the transplants moist until they established roots and you see the beginnings of some new growth.

In the fall, when foliage dies back, cut plants back to about two inches from the root and over-winter them in a frost-free area. Chocolate cosmos is hardy in zones 7-10. In these zones, you may opt to cover the plants with a cloche to protect them from danger of frost.

You are free to publish the above article in your ezine or website, provided credit in the form of an (HTML clickable) hyperlink is given to the author.

eZine Articles                       

 

Cosmos Picture Gallery

      Cosmos Pictures       

                

Pink/Maroon  Light Purple   Light Pink     White          

               

 White Pink     White Purple    Orange          Pink                 Purple

               

Purple White    Yellow            White             Dark Purple   Pink Maroon

                   

Dark Red      Chocolate    Candy Striped       Red

 

Garden Tools for Cosmos

 Garden Tools for Cosmos 

You will also need a small selection of garden tools for your flower bed.  This is one area that I don’t believe in buying these cheap, flimsy tools.  You save more money in the long run by purchasing tools that are sturdy and of superior quality.

Your tools should include the usual large ones, plus a set of the smaller hand varieties.  I find both come in quite handy and each has a particular use at a particular time.

                                              

Garden Tools ~ quality gardening tools are a good investment

Now you can have the benefits of working with garden tools designed for professionals. Heavy duty, high-grade materials used in gardening tools for landscapers, arborists and professional gardeners mean your tools will last longer and perform better.

Good quality garden tools are a wise investment for all gardeners from novices to master gardeners. With proper care and maintenance your garden tools will last a long time, if not a lifetime. Start with the basic gardening tools and build your collection as you gain experience and as your garden grows.

Basic garden tool set:

  • spading fork
  • round-end shovel
  • rake
  • garden shears or pruners
  • hoe

Gardening Trends

              

Before digging into the garden make sure you have the right tools

Digging around in your garden is not exactly brain surgery, but like surgeons, every gardener should have the right tool for the right job.

Some may say that a shovel is just a shovel, but an expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences points out that real gardeners need a spade — and about four other essential gardening implements.

“These days there are catalogs and stores with very specialized equipment, but many gardeners really just need some basic tools,” says J. Robert Nuss, professor of ornamental horticulture. “Once you have a solid set of tools, then you can branch out into specialty equipment.”

Nuss recommends five basic tools:

A long-handled spade. This tool is designed for digging. The blade is straight and set at an angle so it cuts easily into the soil. “A spade is not a shovel,” Nuss explains. “A shovel is designed like a scoop and is used to move material from one place to another.”    

A spading fork. This tool has flat, square tines and is used for moving heavy soil. “Spading forks are invaluable for preparing soil in the spring and harvesting some types of vegetables in the fall,” Nuss says. “Don’t confuse it with a pitchfork, which has rounded, slender tines and is used to move straw or compost.” – see other side    

A steel rake.These large rakes are used to break up clay, to smooth out soil and to rake in fertilizers. “If the garden is large, get a wide, heavy rake,” Nuss says. “It wouldn’t hurt to have a wide leaf rake for lawn work.”

A hoe. Hoes are used to form rows, cover seeds, move soil, cut out weeds and make holes for planting seedlings. “Hoes come in all types and sizes, but most gardeners don’t need heavy ones,” Nuss says. “The most versatile hoes are dual-purpose models, with a triangular cutting head on one side and a cultivating tool with three tines on the other side.”

A hand trowel. Any hand tool that makes gardening more efficient is an invaluable addition to the homeowner’s arsenal of tools. “Hand tools are best for marking rows, weeding, making furrows and moving small plants,” Nuss says.

Nuss says when it comes to gardening, choosing a big tool isn’t necessarily better. “Heavy tools are fine for big people, but if you are short on size or energy, pick smaller tools,” he explains. “The same logic applies to picking the best handle length. Tools are extensions of the body and should be used for extra leverage or reach when pulling or cutting.”  

Nuss advises using heavy-handled tools for moving soil and heavy material. For weeding and cultivation jobs, he recommends using a tool with a lightweight handle.

 

Old House Web

** I also highly recommend a good pair of garden gloves as well **