In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. ~ Carl Jung
Today I want to introduce you to Cosmos, if you haven’t already met. No I don’t mean Cosmos Kramer from Seinfeld, pink Cosmopolitan cocktails served in a martini glass or even the great universe of our outer space.
Cosmos is a genus with the same common name of Cosmos, and is made up of about two dozen annual and perennial plants in the family Asteraceae. Asteraceae includes daisies, asters and sunflowers. They have delicate flowers, wispy leaves and nod gracefully in the wind, but don’t let that fool you – these are very hardy, non-fussy, must have plants.
They range in height from less than foot to more than six feet tall. The cup-shaped blossoms are fairly large from 2-4 inches in diameter. The blossoms come in a variety of colors. I like the pink, fuchsia and scarlet but they also come in white, orange and yellow.
They usually bloom only once a summer and die with first frost, but they seed heavily and will grow the following spring with minimal effort. They grow quickly and easily in all regions of the US and are probably one of the easiest seeds to grow. Personally I grab last year’s blossoms and shake them over the spot I want next year’s Cosmos, but you can purchase seeds and sprinkle on bare ground. You’ll need to thin the number of plants as the seedlings begin to sprout. I never water, fertilize or any other effort as they seem happiest when left alone.
The word “cosmos” is derived from the Greek and means “a balanced, ordered or harmonious universe.” In the language of flowers, Cosmos represent peace and order. When given as a gift they express joy in love and life, according to www.flowerinfo.org. Cosmos are the flower for October and are often gifted at second wedding anniversaries.
The top reasons you should grow Cosmos. Cosmos are:
- Inexpensive; seeds are typically just a couple dollars per packet.
- Great filler when you have a lot of space. Just a handful of seeds results in a profusion of showy blooms between June and October.
- Low maintenance and are generally pest- and disease-free.
- Easily tolerant of hot, dry conditions. They bloom even in drought weather like this year.
- Able to grow poor soil or heavy clay soil.
- Available in a variety of scents including chocolate and vanilla.
- Able to self-seed prolifically, freely and can be direct seeded.
- Are great for flower cutting and drying, making beautiful indoor arrangements.
- Attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
The negatives of a Cosmos are that for their fragile, girly-look they are survivors. They grow and re-seed easily, maybe too easily. If you plant in the back of the garden where their height will provide an interesting backdrop, it won’t be too many growing seasons before they have moved not only into the front of the flower bed but into every flower bed you own. Deadheading and/or removing seedlings is a necessity unless you are okay with cottage garden profusion.
If you are interested in trying out Cosmos, I recommend Sensation. Cosmos Sensation blooms are a lavish display in hot pink, white and red with feather-like leaves. Growing to 2 to 3 feet tall with large 4 inch blooms. This plant is also perfect for meadows and wildflower gardens. Cosmos love to be neglected, perfect for the busy or weekend gardener.