October Birth Month Flowers: Marigold and Cosmos

In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about October’s Official Birth Month Flowers – the Marigold and Cosmos. Learn about their meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers and their cultural significance around the world today.

October Birth Month Flowers Marigold and Cosmos

October Birth Month Flowers: The Marigold

Marigolds are famed ornamentals known for their vibrant daisy-like blooms. They are part of the Asteraceae family, which makes them related to sunflowers, chrysanthemums, asters, and dahlias, among many others. This October birth flower blooms in bright orange, red, gold, and yellow shades from spring to fall. 

History and Origins of Marigold Flowers

Yellow marigold flowers growing in a field

The Marigold is one of the two official birthday flowers for October. Native to the New World, it is currently a popular annual ornamental plant in many North American gardens and worldwide today. 

The earliest known cultivation of marigolds began with The Aztecs, who considered them sacred and magical flowers primarily because of their medicinal properties. Early Spanish explorers then brought marigolds from the Aztecs back to Spain, where the plants were grown in monastery gardens. From there, marigold seeds reached France and northern Africa, and eventually the Americas and the rest of the world after several hundred years.

The common name Marigold originated from “Mary’s Gold” since, back in the day, Virgin Mary’s altar received these flowers instead of coins as offerings.

Meanwhile, in the UK, these flowers were called the “Rose of the Indies.” In India, the other known name of the marigold is The Friendship Flower. 

Marigold Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Marigolds are popular in Mexico and Latin America, especially during the Day of the Dead. The colorful flowers often decorate household altars and cemetery graves as families remember their departed loved ones. 

The flowers of marigolds also play a role in Hindu religious ceremonies. In particular, people in India hang marigold garlands in their homes during festive celebrations to symbolize surrender and offer to god.  

The October birth flower comes in many colors, but the most popular ones are the orange marigolds, which symbolize passion and creativity because of their vibrant color. Because of their diversity, these flowers convey different meanings, including cheer, joy, remembrance, wealth, success, hard work, and winning over someone’s love. 

The negative connotations of marigolds are cruelty, despair, grief, and jealousy. These meanings may intend a desire to express strong passion, which roots back to the flowers’ association with the courageous lion.

In the Victorian Language of Flowers, these October birth flowers were seen as a desire for riches, which perhaps relates to the legend of the flower’s representation of gold coins. 

For more, see our Ultimate Guide to Marigold Flower Meaning & Symbolism.

October Birth Month Flowers: The Cosmos

Purple cosmos flowers in bloom

The other official birth month flower for October is the cosmos flower. Cosmos flowers, which also belong to the Asteraceae family, are prolific bloomers throughout the summer and early Autumn months. Native to Mexico, this October birth flower thrives in various parts of the world, including the US, South Africa, and Argentina. 

History and Origins of the Cosmos Flower

Cosmos is a genus of about 40 species of flowers that are also commonly called cosmos. The genus belongs to the Asteraceae plant family, which contains cosmos, daisies, sunflowers, and asters.

Their name is linked to Spanish priests who grew cosmos flowers in their gardens. They were so taken by the exquisite, orderly arrangement of the flowers’ petals that they named them cosmos from the Greek word kosmos, which refers to the universe’s decoration, order, and harmony.

This October flower blooms in several shades of pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white. Chocolate cosmos bloom in a reddish-brown color and have a strong, sugary fragrance.

Depending on the species, flowers are arranged individually along the stem in dense clusters. The plants have whispy yet simple pinnate or bipinnate leaves. These flowers are also easy to grow as long you plant in well-draining soil, in a spot with plenty of sunlight, and are drought-tolerant.

Cosmos Flower Meaning and Symbolism

In the language of flowers, cosmos are a known symbol of peace and tranquility. The flowers represent harmony, order, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance. 

Because of their attractive colors and lovely scent, cosmos flowers also convey wholeness and peacefulness. The chocolate cosmos flowers, in particular, are one way to say, “I love you more than anyone could.”

Despite the orderly appearance that Spanish priests saw in cosmos petals, their leaves lend them a rather wild, untamed appearance. In folklore, cosmos flowers are said to attract faeries to the garden since their wild looks make these mythical creatures feel right at home.

Cosmos are also thought to be lucky. The luck associated with these flowers might be connected to the blossom’s ability to repel unwanted insects that might destroy other plants in a garden.

Cosmos Flowers in Mexican Traditions

The chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) has also been a prized flower in Mexico for its red color that appears almost chocolate brown and its cocoa-like fragrance that matches. Like other varieties of cosmos flowers, the chocolate cosmos also represents order and harmony in Mexican traditions.

Greek Culture and Cosmos Flowers

Although cosmos flowers hadn’t made their way to Greece early enough to be included in Ancient Greek mythology, they do get their name from the Greek word kosmos.

In Greek mythology, the gods believed that there was a special order or perfect harmony to nature, and the word kosmos, assigned to cosmos flowers later by Spanish priests, represents this idea.

Cosmos Flowers in Religion and Spiritual Practices

Cosmos are strongly associated with the throat chakra (or throat energy) and are believed to remove energy and spiritual blockages.

As a result, public speakers often use them to help open the throat and energize the throat chakra to improve the speaking voice.

Cosmos Flowers and Wedding Anniversaries

Aside from being one of the two October birthday flowers, the cosmos is also the second wedding anniversary flower. 

For more, see our essential guide to Cosmos flower meaning and symbolism.

What are the Origins of October Birth Month Flowers?

The tradition of October birth flowers is thought to have originated in ancient Rome, where flowers were given as gifts to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Each month was associated with a particular flower, believed to hold specific characteristics or powers that would be imparted to people born in that month.

The specific flowers associated with each month have varied throughout history and between cultures. This practice continued into the Victorian era when the language of flowers became extremely popular.

Like many traditions, the current list of October birth month flowers that we use today has been influenced by various historical and cultural factors. It’s similar to birthstones, where each month is associated with a specific gemstone.

For more, see our in-depth guide to the Official Birth Month Flowers.

The Official Birth Month Flower Calendar:

Month:Birth Flower:Meanings & Symbolism:
January:Carnations & SnowdropPink Carnations (love and appreciation), White Carnations (luck, love, and affection, Red Carnations (love and friendship). Snowdrop (hope and rebirth).
February:Violet, Iris, and PrimroseViolets (faithful love, truth, loyalty, humility), Iris (hope, faith, passion, purity, and innocence), Primrose (affection, young love, undying affection)
March:DaffodilsDaffodils (new beginnings, faithfulness, luck, prosperity, and hope)
April:Daisy & Sweet PeaDaisy (purity, love, new beginnings, fertility, and motherhood). Sweet Pea (blissful pleasure, gratitude).
May:Lily of the Valley & HawthornLily of the Valley (romance, luck, happiness, purity, humility). Hawthorn (hope, love, beauty, fertility, and supreme happiness).
June:Roses & HoneysuckleRoses (love, passion, romance, purity, gratitude). Honeysuckle (happiness and eternal love).
July:Larkspur & Water LilyLarkspur (happiness, love); Water Lily (enlightenment, resurrection, purity, beauty, creation).
August:Gladiolus & PoppyGladiolus (integrity, honor, respect); Poppy (remembrance, prosperity, enchantment, sympathy).
September:Aster & Morning GloryAster (faith, love, achievement, and wisdom); Morning Glory (affection, intimate love, patience).
October:Marigolds & CosmosMarigolds (devotion, commitment); Cosmos (harmony, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance). 
November:Chrysanthemum & PeoniesChrysanthemum (friendship, love); Peonies (romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion)
December:Narcissus, Poinsettia, and HollyNarcissus (innocence and purity); Poinsettia (success, celebration); Holly (happiness and optimism).

Wrapping Up

The Marigold and Cosmos, the birth flowers of October, beautifully encapsulate the essence of autumn. The Marigold has fiery colors and symbolism tied to passion and creativity. The Cosmos flower, symbolic of peace and harmony, provides an elegant contrast, embodying the season’s beauty.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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