Cosmos are beautiful, colorful annuals grown for their wonderful flowers and delicate, feathery foliage. These flowers are easy to grow, especially for novice gardeners. Even with very little maintenance, cosmos will enjoy a long flowering season from early summer until fall. This guide will cover everything you need to know about when cosmos flowers bloom and what you can do to extend the flowering season each year in your garden.
- Cosmos Flowering Season – The Essentials
- Botanical Overview
- About Cosmos Flowers
- When Are Cosmos Flowers In Season?
- How Long Does the Cosmos Flowering Season Last?
- Factors That Influence the Cosmos Flower Season
- How to Extend the Cosmos Flowering Season
- Wrapping Up
Cosmos Flowering Season – The Essentials
Cosmos are clump-forming annuals that enjoy a long flowering season from early summer until fall. They will keep blooming until the first frost arrives. Cosmos flowers only last a single year and will die back in winter. You can extend the cosmos season by regularly deadheading spent flowers.
|Scientific Name:||Cosmos spp.|
|Native Range:||Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and parts of South America|
|Growing Zones:||USDA Zones 2 to 11|
|Flowering Season:||Early summer until first fall frosts|
|Colors:||pink, purple, yellow, orange, red, and white|
About Cosmos Flowers
The Cosmos genus is a group of approximately 35 recognized species belonging to the aster or daisy family (Asteraceae). Spanish monks coined the genus name after the Greek word “kosmos”, which means “beauty” or “harmony”.
Although most cosmos are herbaceous flowering annuals, there is one perennial species – chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus). Several types of cosmos flowers have also been cultivated from garden cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatum) and yellow cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus).
Cosmos flowers can be single, double, or semi-double and grow in several clusters that branch off from the main stems. Each composite flower has central disc florets and ray petals that can be pink, purple, orange, red, yellow, or white. Cosmos can grow up to 5 feet tall and spread as wide as 3 feet.
Cosmos flowers are a great summer cut flower crop and can last approximately 7 to 10 days in a vase. These flowers are also a vital nectar source for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. Cosmos flowers symbolize beauty, order, harmony, modesty, love, and peace in the language of flowers.
When Are Cosmos Flowers In Season?
Cosmos flowers are in season from early summer until fall. Once the first frost hits, cosmos flowers will deteriorate and die back. As annuals, cosmos have a short life cycle that only lasts a single year.
Due to their short lifespan, cosmos flowers develop very quickly. Cosmos can flower within approximately 7 to 12 weeks of sowing. Seeds should be sown in the spring so that the plants can begin to bloom in early summer.
How Long Does the Cosmos Flowering Season Last?
The cosmos flowering season lasts for several months, running from early summer until the first frosts arrive in the fall. The season usually lasts from June to October, although this will depend on your local climate. Cosmos grow as annuals in USDA Zones 2 to 11 and are fairly drought-tolerant.
To maximize the cosmos flowering season, it’s good practice to deadhead any spent or wilting flowers as quickly as possible. This encourages your cosmos to concentrate its energy on unopened flower buds, resulting in successive flowers.
Factors That Influence the Cosmos Flower Season
Cosmos flowers have low-maintenance requirements, which makes them easy to grow. That said, some climate conditions can affect the cosmos flowering season.
Although cosmos are drought-tolerant, they will struggle in extended periods of hot or dry weather. This could delay flowering or result in shorter blooming periods. Water your cosmos more frequently during hot weather to promote good flowering.
Cosmos do not like cold and will start to die as soon as the first frost arrives in the fall. Early frosts can cause the flowering season to end prematurely in colder parts of their range.
Although cosmos are relatively easy to grow, they do have some vital care requirements. Cosmos like warm, sunny conditions and prefer loose, well-draining soils that lack nutrients. Cosmos also need 6 to 8 hours of full sun during the day.
Cosmos prefer their soil to be slightly moist to almost dry. Cosmos hate waterlogged soil and will develop several problems if they get too much water. Cosmos should be watered once a week if there hasn’t been any rain.
Cosmos flowers can also struggle if the soil is too fertile or receives too much fertilizer. If a cosmos gets too many nutrients, it will focus on producing foliage rather than flowers. Grow cosmos in sandy or chalky soils, and don’t fertilize unless the plant grows in a container.
If you do need to fertilize, apply a high-phosphorus fertilizer like bone meal once every month or so.
Cosmos can also be affected by a few common pests and diseases, which need to be monitored throughout the season.
If cosmos seeds are sown too soon or too late, it can affect the flowering season. Cosmos seeds can be started indoors from March to April. This helps maximize the flowering season. Cosmos can also be sown directly into the soil in May as long as the last frost has passed.
Cosmos seedlings should emerge after 7 to 10 days. The soil needs to be kept moist until the seedlings appear. Once the seedlings have two pairs of leaves, they can be transplanted into pots before being planted outside in May. This gives your cosmos the best start, helping them flower for as long as possible.
How to Extend the Cosmos Flowering Season
One of the easiest ways to extend the cosmos flowering season is to deadhead regularly. Cosmos flowers can last for quite a while, but they will eventually astart to wilt. When this happens, snip off these spent flowers with some clean, sharp pruning shears. Make sure to cut just above the first pair of leaves.
By deadheading old, wilting flowers, you’ll encourage the cosmos to redirect its energy to fresh flower buds. Cosmos flowers bloom in clusters, so healthy plants usually have plenty of waiting buds. Deadhead your cosmos throughout the season to get successive young flowers.
You can also extend the cosmos flowering season by harvesting cut flowers from your plants. Cosmos are ideal for cut flowers because they produce so many blooms. They can last between 7 and 10 days in a vase and also work well in flower bouquets.
Cosmos actually benefit from the cut-and-come-again style of harvesting. Whenever you harvest cosmos flowers, use clean, sharp pruning shears and cut just above a leaf node. This helps the cosmos redirect its energy to focus on young flower buds. Always choose flowers that haven’t fully opened to maximize their vase life.
Cosmos flowers growing in borders or directly in the ground shouldn’t require extra fertilizer. Cosmos can fail to produce flowers if the soil is too nutritious. But if you’re growing cosmos in containers, a little fertilizer can help them flower for longer. Feed container cosmos once a month with a small dose of high-phosphorus fertilizer such as bone meal.
Cosmos flowers are stunning annuals that are easy to grow and make an excellent cut flower crop. The cosmos flowering season begins in early summer and ends when the first frost arrives in the fall. To extend the flowering season, deadhead and harvest your cosmos regularly.
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.
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