Cosmos Flowers

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

How to Grow Chocolate Cosmos October 30, 2008

    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.

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How to Grow Cosmos

    How to Grow Cosmos  

Annual, Cosmos

If you are a new gardener, Cosmos are a great plant to start with. Fast growing, there is little that can go wrong with this tall growing plant. Cosmos are native to Central America and Mexico. They grow quickly to a height of 4-5 feet. Brightly colored single or double flowers include white, pink, orange,yellow, and scarlet.

Cosmos look great at the back of the garden and in informal arrangements.


Cosmos are grown from large seeds, making them easy to plant. They germinate quickly and never stop from there, normally growing four to five feet in a season.

Sow directly into the garden just before the last frost in your area. Space plants 12 inches apart and thin to 18 inches.

While most Cosmos are annuals, there are perennial varieties. Perennial varieties are Rhizomes and can also be propagated by division.

How to Grow:

Cosmos prefer full sun to partial shade. They will do well in both average and poor soils. They are tolerant dry soil conditions. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season.

Taller plants mayrequire staking. However, this can be avoided if planted in an area protected from the wind.

Insect and Disease:

Insects and disease problems are very rare for Cosmos. If problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.

gardner’s net                                  

Cosmos give you a big bang for your buck. Growing carefree from seed, these annuals (meaning they grow just one year) fill a flowerbed with color and are great cut flowers. Cosmos grow anywhere from 1 foot to 3 feet high, depending on the variety.


STEP 1: Check out your local garden center in spring for cosmos seeds and seedlings. Because they’re so fast and easy to grow from seed, however, many nurseries don’t carry them as seedlings.

STEP 2: Choose either Cosmos bipinnatus, which has feathery foliage and large daisy-like flowers in all the ranges of white, pink and red, or Cosmos sulphureus, which has smallerflowers in more brilliant, sunset hues and is drought-resistant. (Cosmos also reseed easily.)

STEP 3: Plant indoors four to six weeks before your region’s average last frost date to get earliest bloom. Otherwise, plant outdoors directly in the soil after the last frost date, 8 inches apart in full sun in average soil.

STEP 4: Trim spent blooms to encourage a longer bloom period.

STEP 5: Pull out plants, and discard in fall once frost kills them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cosmos require moderate to little water.
  • Plant cosmos in groups of at least a dozen to take advantage of their wildflower-like effect.
  • Cosmos don’t thrive in overly rich soil. They’ll produce lots of tall foliage but fewer flowers.