Cosmos is perfect for borders and pots

Julie Chai,  – July 10, 2006

Cosmos come from tropical areas of the Americas, mainly Mexico, and show off the bright, clear colors of that region. Blooms come in many forms, including single, double, crested, and frilled, and the plants fit easily into a range of garden spaces.

Plant them en masse for a huge hit of color, or mix them with other plants for a softer look. Take advantage of the taller types for the middle or back of borders. Smaller varieties like the Sonata strain are perfect for pots.

The most commonly-available types are varieties of annual Cosmos bipinnatus, but keep an eye out for annual C. sulphureus (yellow cosmos), and perennial C. astrosanguineus (chocolate cosmos). All make good cut flowers.

Color: Cosmos comes in shades of pink, white, rose, lavender, purple, crimson, orange, yellow, and chocolate. Flowers are 1½ to 4 inches wide depending on variety, and bloom from summer into fall.

Height: Annual cosmos can reach 8 feet tall, but most top out at 3 to 4 feet.

Planting and care: They like full sun (meaning 6 to 8 hours a day) and take moderate water. Plant annuals types in late spring or summer, and perennials from spring through fall.

Companions: Garden pals include alyssum, dahlias, helichrysum, artemisia, Nigella, phlox, sunflowers, bells-of-Ireland, petunias, zinnias.