The Cosmos Flower
Cosmos Flowers: Maintenance Free Yet Beautiful
Cosmos is a pretty flower that is very popular among gardeners for its beauty and also its ease in growing.
Because it is such an attractive flower, and can grow almost anywhere, cosmos can be found in many private backyard flower beds as well as public gardens.
Cosmos is the name of the genus of about twenty six flowering plants in the asteraceae family, which includes daisies, sunflowers and asters.
Some cosmos plants are annuals, meaning they last only one growing season, and others are perennials, meaning they return year after year. The word cosmos comes from the Greek meaning of 'a balanced universe'.
Cosmos is native to meadows of Mexico, Florida and other southern American states, Arizona, Central America and parts of South America. It is not particular where it grows, therefore, it is one of the easiest flowers to grow. Cosmos seeds resemble tiny pine needles.
Description and Characteristics
Cosmos is an herbaceous plant, meaning the leaves and stems die back to the level of soil at the conclusion of the growing season. Annual herbaceous plants die completely, but then regenerate themselves through seeds from their flowers.
Perennial or biennial herbaceous plants have stems and leaves that die back to the soil level, yet parts of the plant survive underground between growing seasons.
New plant growth can develop from corms, tubers, bulbs, rhizomes, roots or a caudex, which is a thickened stem part found at ground level.
Cosmos will regrow in the springtime if their seeds fall on bare ground in the autumn. It is one of the easiest seeds to try to grow, which makes it especially attractive to gardeners.
Characteristics of Cosmos Flower
Various kinds of cosmos flowering plants can grow from three (0.9144 m) to six feet (1.8288 m.) tall. Cosmos flowers have a capitulum, or a dense cluster of tiny disc florets, in the center, surrounded by a ring of wide floret ray petals.
The flower of the cosmos is anywhere from two to four inches (5.1 cm to 10.2 cm) in diameter. The flowers can appear in either single or double flowers of red, yellow, white, orange, purple or pink. Cosmos plant leaves are multi-divided and feather-like.
Cosmos flowers bloom twice each year, but only once a season. They are extremely easy to grow, and bloom very heavily during the season, but then die back with the first frost. They can grow rapidly and easily in all regions.
Cosmos is a very enticing addition to any flower garden. They are very attractive flowers which bloom profusely, adding lots of color to any area in which they are grown.
This, coupled with their ease in growing and their almost nonexistent needs make them the perfect flower for anyone to grow, especially for first time gardeners.
Cultivation and Care
Because cosmos flowers are one of the easiest flowers in the world to grow from seed, the planned area does not need an exorbitant amount of preparation, however, the right conditions, in the right place, will ensure a healthy group of flowers.
Cosmos prefer moist but well drained soil with good nutritional value. They like to be in full sun, but will usually tolerate shadier spots in partial sun.
Because cosmos usually grow taller than most other plants, they should be planted in the back of a flower bed, so as not to crowd out other plants, and keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Diseases and Pests
Cosmos plants do not have many problems with pests or diseases. The only pests that pose a threat to cosmos flowers are aphids. If you find that your cosmos are suffering from an aphid infestation, you can get a good aphid insecticide from your local garden center.
Pinching To Control Height and Add Blooms
Pinching back cosmos flowers can help them to grow, therefore, feel free to add cosmos flowers to bouquets of cut flowers inside your house. Be forewarned, however, that once picked, cosmos do not seem to last very long.
Pinching back the plants will keep them blooming, and also keep them in a bushier state, rather than let them get too tall. So if you prefer a more compact plant, pinching them will help to keep them from gaining too much height.
Also, you will not have to worry about staking the plants, which is something that may need to be done if left to grow unchecked. Pinching off flowers will also help the plant to produce more blooms. Pinching off flowers should be done as they bloom or directly before.
C. sulfureus is a shorter, bushier cosmos plant, with fern like leaves. They prefer shadier areas than most other types of cosmos. This is one of the most familiar cosmos varieties.
The 'Cosmos atrosanguineus' is called the chocolate cosmos, because it produces velvety, maroon colored blooms that resemble dahlias.
These flowers have a wonderful aroma that will remind one of very good chocolates. To minimize damage due to frost, the tuberous roots should be mulched over during winter.
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