Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Orange Cosmos: You Can Grow That!

Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) is a prolific annual flower that re-seeds liberally, so once you have this plant, you will have it return each year in abundance.

To start it off, sprinkle (direct sow) a pack of seeds in mid-spring. The 'Bright Lights' seed mix is popular and widely available.

The seeds are easy to collect, so it is likely that you can get some free from fellow gardeners or at a local seed swap. If you do not want it to re-seed in your garden, deadhead and collect the spent blooms regularly.

This cosmos has ferny foliage and is covered with orange/yellow/gold flowers from mid-summer to frost. It is a wonderful cut flower, though it only lasts a few days in a vase. It is a pollinator magnet -- beloved by bees and butterflies. Finches enjoy eating the seed-heads.

It is native to the desert areas of the USA, so that gives you a big clue as to its growing preferences. Sulfur Cosmos (aka Klondike Cosmos or Sulphur Cosmos) grows best in full sun, but tolerates poor/clay soil and it thrives in heat and humidity. I never give mine any water unless we have a prolonged period of no rain and excessive heat.

Orange Cosmos is a bright spot in my garden and one of those old-fashioned reliable plants that is the backbone of my cottage garden.

All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at http://www.youcangrowthat.com/.

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