Cosmos! Even the name of this flower is exciting, bringing to mind the image of a star’s light flowing out into the universe. That image is appropriate because cosmos have petals that form a ray around a central disk. Cosmos come in a variety of colors and are an easy-to-grow annual that brightens the yard. The flowers grow anywhere from 2-4 feet, depending on the variety, and require full sun, adequate water, and good drainage. However, they don’t require a rich soil. Because they’re so easy to grow, there are a number of creative ways to plant cosmos.
Create a baby’s bed. Cosmos come in a wide array of colors besides yellow. White, purple, red, orange, and even chocolate flowers abound, but in my opinion, the most beautiful are the pinks. Scatter pink cosmos seed in a bed in full sun, along with blue bachelor buttons and white baby’s breath for a striking combination that will remind everyone of newborn babies. “Candy Stripe” and “Gloria” are two lovely varieties to try when creating a baby’s bed.
Create a sunshine bed. The yellow cosmos, Cosmos sulphureusis is native to the American continent and is the easiest to grow. Plant in soil that isn’t particularly rich but is well drained, and provide the flowers with adequate, but not overabundant water. Too much water or rich soil causes the flowers to grow lanky, with excessive green growth and not as many flowers. Colors can vary from pale yellow to the yellow-orange reminiscent of a sunset. Edge the flowerbed with mid-sized marigolds for variation and a warm, sunny look.
Scatter cosmos seeds among the vegetables. Although many of the cosmos varieties grow quite tall, they have an airy growth and leaves with a fern-like appearance. As long as they’re not sown too thick, they can be planted in with the taller vegetables without blocking needed sunshine. For those who like color in with their vegetables, cosmos give a bright, lacy look to the garden. There are also dwarf varieties, such as “Knee High Sonata Mix” and “Little Ladybirds” available.
Plant cosmos in pots. Because they typically grow tall, most gardeners don’t think of planting cosmos in a pot. The way to pull this technique off is to plant in a pot and then place it inside a larger pot that balances out the cosmos’ expected height. The edges of the larger pot will also help keep the cosmos standing up instead of falling over. In addition, dwarf varieties such as “Ladybird Dwarf Lemon” grow with less height.
Give cosmos a try this year. They’re lovely flowers that are easy to grow, and will even reseed themselves occasionally, giving more than one season’s worth of bloom. The bright, cheery flowers are well worth planting.
“Cosmos Produces Cosmic Beauty ” Aggie Horticulture.
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