Also known as
Mexican Aster, Kosmos (Afr.)
Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)
6 months to reach maturity
This plant has no fragrance
More images of Cosmos
Cosmos is a genus of about 25 species of erect to spreading, freely branched annuals and perennials found in scrub and meadows. The annual species C. bipinnatus is commonly grown in gardens on mass for the showy flowers. Cosmos was introduced to South Africa via contaminated horse-feed imported from Argentina during the Anglo-Boer War. It is now widespread over the high eastern plains of South Africa and invasive in certain areas.
How to harvest Cosmos
Flowers can be harvested, pick the stems when buds are coloured but not open yet; this will keep insects from pollinating them and stretch the vase life by a few days. Collect seeds from ripened capsules and store them in a dry, cool dark location for use the following year. Alternatively, allow the seed to self-sow, transplanting seedlings in the spring to more desired locations.
How to propagate Cosmos
Sow between March and May into trays of per-watered seed compost and cover with 3mm sieved compost. Keep between 15-25C until they have germinated. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle (produced 2 leaves) transplant into 7cm (3") pots and move to a cooler location to continue growing. Plant out once the threat of frosts have passed and space each plant 45cm (18") apart.
Special features of Cosmos
Attracts useful insects
Beautiful flowering beds in autumn if they are sown in well prepared beds.
Cultivars may range in colour from white, pink, orange, yellow and scarlet.
Other uses of Cosmos
These stunning flowers make lovely additions to mixed flower borders or grown in containers in almost all garden styles. Suitable for use in coastal locations.
The large flower on a long slender stem makes a pretty effect if displayed in bunches or mixed into other floral bouquets.