The Spanish priests named this little Mexican charmer cosmos, indicating it is a balanced universe on its own and therefore a thing of beauty. I grew Sensation mix (Cosmos bipinnatus) from seed indoors in early spring. Definitely a plant for dummies – they sprout quickly, transplant with ease and love lousy soil and dry conditions in bright sun. They flower until frost with some deadheading and reseed the next year – fingers crossed.
They are shallow rooted so do well among lilies. They are a perfect cottage garden and cutting garden choice. A brown bottle on our coffee table will hold three or four blooms every day until frost. The colors range from downy bright white to almost chocolate velvet.
It’s best not to give cosmos a lot of fertilizer or rich soil. That signals them to put out a mass of foliage and not much in the way of blooms. I did transplant some to an area covered with Leafgro and they have yet to flower. Note to self: read up and heed the experts.
Cosmos, also called Mexican Aster, is part of the Asteraceae family so is a close cousin to sunflowers, daisies and asters. The foliage is fernlike, giving the plant a delicate look and a beautiful contrast to the stout, sturdy leaves of lilies. Mixing Cosmos among the strap-like leaves of Stella de Oro daylilies would also be a pleasant combination.
Cosmos comes in handy as an introduction to flowers for young gardeners. Quick sprouting and easy blooms reaps generous rewards and will surely charm budding horticulturalists as they did the Spanish priests so long ago.