Cosmos is an easy-to-grow flower that can re-seed itself and grow in hot, dry conditions, making it a good choice for our gardens here in Zone 8. It can reach varying heights and add a frilly texture to the garden. Cosmos can be grown in the back of the garden or the center of an island. Cosmos flowers are a great cut flower, and taller cosmos can even be used as a screen for unsightly areas in the garden.

Plant cosmos in a location that gets at least a half-day of direct sunlight. Sow the seeds outdoors after the danger of frost is past and when the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees. Rake seeds into loose soil and keep them moist. Seeds will germinate in 7 to 21 days. Cosmos needs only basic care to provide an abundance of colorful blooms all summer. Taller varieties may need staking in high winds.

Deadheading will encourage re-blooming. If the entire plant is cut back, it will regrow in a month and provide another flush of blooms. There are many varieties of cosmos. Some reaching 4-feet tall. Colors range from white, pink, purple, yellow, and orange.

Cosmos is at home in a pollinator garden and cutting garden. If you do not have cosmos in your flower bed this year, be sure to add it to your list for next spring and you will enjoy this colorful, easy care annual.

Photos and information by Jeanne Pavero

North Carolina Extension Gardener Toolbox