Sometimes there are flowers that gain the reputation of being so easy to work with that they are suited only for beginners. Cosmos are one flower that has gained such a reputation. Just because you may be a more experienced gardener doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include Cosmos in your garden. Cosmos have qualities that make them ideal for many parts of your garden and just because they are easy to work with doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer gardeners of all skill levels.
Cosmos are an annual flower that can be grown anywhere in the United States. They are easy to grow from seed and are not bothered by insects or diseases. Cosmos are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and unfortunately, rabbits who find them to be quite delicious! Old-fashioned Cosmos, such as those found in cottage gardens, usually come in white, pink and purple colors. Newer varieties have been introduced over the past few years that come in colors such as yellow, orange and red. There are even Cosmos that have double flowers and smaller varieties that have been bred to flourish in containers.
An important characteristic that Cosmos have is they have a very lengthy growing season. Cosmos start blooming in the summer, just around the time that many perennials finish blooming, and they bloom into the fall until frost puts their flowering to an end. For this reason they are a great flower to fill in gaps in your perennial garden and their height, most varieties grow 3 to 6 feet tall, make them ideal candidates for the back of your garden beds. I would suggest that you provide some support for more exposed, windy locations as they do have a tendency to get blown over in these situations.
Part of the reason that Cosmos have their reputation for being so easy to work with is because they are not very demanding and thrive in conditions that other plants don’t do as well in. For example, while Cosmos do tolerate a variety of soil conditions they are at their best in dry conditions where they get full sun all day long. They do well in the heat of summer and don’t need additional watering once they are established. They also do not require fertilization and in fact too much fertilizer will give you a lot of leaves and not many flowers. While not required, removing the dead flowers will increase the speed with which old flowers are replaced by new ones and you can collect the seed in the fall to plant again the following spring.
Now that you know all about Cosmos do you still think they are just for beginners?