Everything You Need to Know About the Uses and Benefits of Cosmos Flowers
Cosmos flowers are exceptionally popular and pretty annuals that can add lots of color to the garden. These fantastic flowers also have a range of brilliant uses and benefits. Not only are they easy to grow, but you can also use them to attract pollinators or as cut flowers. In this article, we’ll discover 14 amazing uses and benefits of cosmos flowers.
- About Cosmos Flowers
- 14 Incredible Uses and Benefits of Cosmos Flowers
- 1. Cosmos Flowers Can Attract Pollinators
- 2. Cosmos Flowers Are Easy to Grow
- 3. Cosmos Are Great for Cut Flowers
- 4. Most Cosmos Flowers Are Annuals
- 5. Chocolate Cosmos Flowers Are Perennials
- 6. Cosmos Flowers Enjoy a Long Blooming Season
- 7. Cosmos Flowers Make Thoughtful Gifts
- 8. Cosmos Flowers May Help Reduce Stress
- 9. Cosmos Can Be Grown Easily in Pots
- 10. Cosmos Flowers Are Fantastic Ornamental Plants
- 11. Cosmos Flowers Are Drought-Tolerant
- 12. Cosmos Don’t Have Many Diseases or Pests
- 13. You Can Dry Cosmos Flowers
- 14. Some Cosmos Flowers Can Be Edible
- Wrapping Up
About Cosmos Flowers
The Cosmos genus is part of the aster or daisy family (Asteraceae). There are approximately 35 accepted species of cosmos, as well as several different cosmos cultivars. Cosmos are named after the Greek word “kosmos”, which means “beauty” or “harmony”.
Like other members of the daisy family, cosmos flowers have composite flowers consisting of central florets surrounded by colorful petals. They can be single, double, or semi-double and come in colors like pink, purple, orange, red, yellow, and white.
Cosmos flowers are native to Mexico and Central and South America. On average, these clump-forming flowers can grow up to 5 feet tall and spread approximately 2 to 3 feet wide. Most cosmos flowers are annuals, except for chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus).
14 Incredible Uses and Benefits of Cosmos Flowers
1. Cosmos Flowers Can Attract Pollinators
Cosmos flowers are some of the best annuals for attracting pollinators. Not only can this benefit your cosmos, but it also benefits other plants and crops in your garden. Cosmos flowers can help attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
Cosmos flowers are ideal for pollinators because they have large, open flower heads. This provides easy access to these beneficial insects. Remember that some pollinators will struggle to access cosmos flowers with double or semi-double blooms. Using chemical or synthetic fertilizers or pesticides can also harm pollinators and other beneficial insects, so go organic wherever possible.
2. These Flowers Are Easy to Grow
Cosmos flowers are one of the easiest annuals to grow. These fabulous annuals are pretty low-maintenance as long as you can avoid overwatering and give them lots of sunlight. Cosmos are an ideal annual to grow if you’re an inexperienced gardener.
Above all else, cosmos flowers need plenty of sunlight – at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun a day, wherever possible. Water cosmos flowers about once per week and plant them in well-draining soils that don’t hold too many nutrients. Deadhead and cut-back cosmos flowers throughout the growing season to maximize their beautiful blooms.
3. Cosmos Are Great for Cut Flowers
Thanks to their prolific blooms and long flowering season, cosmos flowers are an excellent cut flower crop. These blooms look great in vases or as part of a bouquet. Freshly cut cosmos flowers can last between 7 and 10 days.
Your plants will produce even more flowers if you use a cut-and-come-again approach. As you harvest flowers throughout the season, the cosmos will keep producing new ones until the first fall frosts. Pinching out young plants helps them build more flower stems for you to harvest.
4. Most Cosmos Flowers Are Annuals
Most species and types of cosmos are annuals, meaning each plant lasts for just one year. Annuals are ideal for growing in pots or filling empty spaces in borders. Like many annuals, cosmos flowers also grow quickly and can be highly productive.
Once you’ve sown your cosmos seeds in the early spring, seedlings should appear in about 7 to 10 days. As long as they get plenty of warmth and sunlight, your plants should flower within 7 to 12 weeks of sowing. Cosmos can continue flowering throughout summer until the first frost hits in the fall.
5. Chocolate Cosmos Flowers Are Perennials
Although most cosmos species are annuals, the chocolate cosmos is the exception. This variety grows as a tuberous perennial, a bit like a dahlia. Chocolate cosmos have wonderful reddish-brown flowers with dark brown or black central florets.
Along with their rich colors, chocolate cosmos also have wonderfully scented petals that smell like cocoa or vanilla. Unlike annual cosmos, these should be cut back to the ground after the first frost. As they come back each year, chocolate cosmos make grand garden statements.
6. Cosmos Flowers Enjoy a Long Blooming Season
One of the significant advantages of cosmos flowers is their long flowering season. Cosmos flowers can bloom from early summer until the first frosts arrive in the fall. For several months, they produce plenty of gorgeous flowers and a feast for garden pollinators. However, they will quickly die off after they get hit by the first frost.
7. Cosmos Flowers Make Thoughtful Gifts
Due to their beautiful meanings and symbolism, cosmos flowers are great gifts for several occasions. These flowers primarily represent order, harmony, and beauty and can also symbolize love, peace, modesty, and tranquility.
Because cosmos flowers symbolize love, they can be a wonderful gift for Valentine’s Day. White cosmos also make beautiful wedding flowers. These flowers are an October birth flower, so they are ideal as a birthday gift for friends and family at this time.
8. Cosmos Flowers May Help Reduce Stress
It’s a well-known fact that nature, gardening, and flowers can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. And because cosmos flowers are so easy to grow, these annuals are the ideal stress relief. Studies have shown that even gardening just two or three times a week can start to relieve stress. Gardening also counts as low to medium-intensity exercise, meaning that growing these plants is good for both your physical and mental well-being.
9. Cosmos Can Be Grown Easily in Pots
Like many annuals, cosmos flowers are ideal for growing in pots. Because they only last for one year, they make fantastic temporary displays in containers, especially in a small garden. When growing cosmos flowers in pots, water them once a week and fertilize them once a month or so.
If you’re growing in a pot, use well-draining soils that don’t hold too many nutrients. Use loose mediums such as chalky or sandy soils.
10. Cosmos Flowers Are Fantastic Ornamental Plants
Whether you’re growing cosmos flowers in containers or a garden border, these annuals add plenty of ornamental impact. Many cosmos varieties can grow up to 5 feet tall, so planting them at the back of a border takes full advantage of their height.
As annuals, they can also be used to fill gaps with a dramatic pop of temporary, seasonal color. They bloom in several colors, such as pink, purple, orange, yellow, and white. This range of shades allows you to work cosmos easily into your garden color scheme.
11. Cosmos Flowers Are Drought-Tolerant
Cosmos flowers are native to the open plains and meadows of Mexico and other areas of Central and South America. These conditions offer plenty of sun exposure and extended periods of drought. Thankfully, these plants are well-adapted to these conditions because they’re drought-tolerant.
Once established, cosmos flowers only need watering once per week. They can tolerate most droughts in USDA Zones 2 to 11. However, extended periods of drought can damage these plants unless you water them more frequently.
12. Cosmos Don’t Have Many Diseases or Pests
One of the reasons why cosmos flowers are so low-maintenance is that they don’t suffer from too many debilitating diseases or pests. Although aphids, plant bugs, and spider mites can infest these plants, they can be dealt with reasonably easily. These flowers can suffer from diseases such as botrytis blight and powdery mildew.
However, good care practices can help avoid these problems. As long as you avoid overwatering and provide enough sunlight, your cosmos flowers should stay pretty healthy.
13. You Can Dry Cosmos Flowers
As well as being excellent cut flowers, cosmos blooms can also be used as dried flowers. This helps preserve your blooms for vases and bouquets throughout the year. They can be dried by simply hanging them in a cool, dark cupboard. You can then add them to floral displays for some beautiful architectural structure and slightly faded color.
14. Some Cosmos Flowers Can Be Edible
A few species of cosmos flowers may also be edible, mainly species derived from yellow cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus). However, always double-check the exact species you have to ensure it’s safe to eat. Cosmos flowers can make a colorful garnish for salads, cakes, or drinks.
Yellow cosmos leaves may also be edible and can be mixed into salads. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia, the king’s salad cosmos (Cosmos caudatus) is also eaten in salads. In these regions, it’s also known as “ulam raja”. The leaves have a mango-like taste.
The Benefits of Cosmos Flowers – Wrapping Up
As well as their beautiful flowers and low-maintenance needs, cosmos flowers also have plenty of uses and benefits. These stunning annuals can attract pollinators, tolerate droughts, and work equally well in containers or garden borders as ornamental plants. Cosmos flowers also make excellent cut or dried flowers for vases and bouquets.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.