Cosmos are some of the most colorful and striking plants for any summer garden. These fantastic flowers come in several vibrant cultivars, allowing you to choose the most suitable variety for your garden. With their elegant foliage and petals, cosmos also make excellent cut flowers. In this article, we’ll discover 17 popular types of cosmos flowers to grow in your garden.
- About Cosmos
- 17 Popular Types of Cosmos to Grow in Your Garden
- 1. Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
- 2. Garden Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- 3. Yellow Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
- 4. Cosmos ‘Daydream’
- 5. Cosmos ‘Rosetta’
- 6. Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’
- 7. Cosmos ‘Purity’
- 8. King’s Salad (Cosmos caudatus)
- 9. Cosmos ‘Sonata’ Series
- 10. Cosmos ‘Klondyke’
- 11. Cosmos ‘Double Click’ Series
- 12. Cosmos ‘Picotee’
- 13. Cosmos ‘Sensation’ Series
- 14. Cosmos ‘Versailles’ Series
- 15. Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’
- 16. Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’
- 17. Cosmos ‘Diablo’
- Wrapping Up
Family & Genus
The Cosmos genus belongs to the aster or daisy family (Asteraceae) and contains approximately 35 recognized species. Several gorgeous cultivars have also been created to add even more choice when it comes to cosmos flowers. The name Cosmos comes from the Greek word ‘kosmos‘, which means beauty. The name was coined by the Spanish monks who grew cosmos in their missions.
Most cosmos species are endemic to Mexico and thrive in meadows and scrublands. Some cosmos species are native to parts of Central and South America and the United States. Cosmos have also been introduced to parts of Europe and South Africa.
Cosmos flowers can be annuals or perennials that bloom from early summer until the first fall frost. Many cosmos varieties have delicate feathery leaves and can grow up to 5 feet tall.
These flowers are drought-tolerant and only need watering when the top few inches of soil are dry. You can also pinch and deadhead cosmos throughout the flowering season to promote more vigorous growth.
The Cosmos genus contains as many as 35 accepted species. However, most garden varieties and cultivars come from three main species:
- Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
- Garden cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- Yellow cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
Uses, Benefits, and Symbolism
Cosmos perform brilliantly as cut flowers in vases and bouquets, lasting between 7 and 10 days. These flowers are also a vital pollen source for insects such as bees and butterflies. Cosmos flowers represent harmony, order, love, tranquility, and modesty.
17 Popular Types of Cosmos to Grow in Your Garden
1. Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) is one of the most recognizable types of cosmos. It’s been cultivated in Europe since 1885 but is originally native to Mexico. This species is a herbaceous perennial that grows up to 30 inches tall. Chocolate cosmos is unique among cosmos because it grows from tubers rather than seeds and prefers USDA Zones 7 to 9.
Chocolate cosmos produces clusters of reddish-brown flowers with dark brown central florets. These rich, dark blooms also give off a faint vanilla scent. This gorgeous cosmos variety flowers from mid-summer until the first frosts arrive in the fall. They thrive best in loose, well-draining soil bases.
2. Garden Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Also known as Mexican aster, garden cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) is one of the most popular types of cosmos flower. It’s native to Mexico and other parts of Central America. Garden cosmos has also become naturalized in parts of the United States.
These stunning annuals form bushy clumps that grow up to 4 feet tall and can spread up to 3 feet wide. Garden cosmos produces pink, purple, red, yellow, or white flowers that bloom from early summer to fall.
Several cosmos cultivars are derived from garden cosmos, ranging from bi-colored varieties to ones with double or semi-double flowers. These cosmos flowers will benefit from fertilizing throughout the growing season.
3. Yellow Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
Yellow cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) is one of the brightest and most vibrant cosmos species. This variety dazzles with its bright yellow, orange, or red flowers and has also produced several stunning cultivars. Also known as sulfur cosmos, yellow cosmos can grow up to 6 feet tall and spread for about 3 feet.
Yellow cosmos is endemic to Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. It’s often used as an annual in gardens and flowers from June to September. Each flower can be as large as 2 ½ inches.
4. Cosmos ‘Daydream’
Cosmos ‘Daydream’ is an elegant bi-colored cosmos cultivar derived from Cosmos bipinnatum. ‘Daydream’ grows up to 3 feet tall and thrives in USDA Zones 2 to 11. This sun-loving variety is also an excellent annual to grow to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Cosmos ‘Daydream’ produces lovely light pink flowers with bright yellow central disc florets. These central florets are surrounded by a ring of dark pink or magenta. ‘Daydream’ flowers from early summer until fall and has the quintessential feathery cosmos foliage.
5. Cosmos ‘Rosetta’
Another cultivar derived from Cosmos bipinnatum is Cosmos ‘Rosetta’. This attractive cosmos variety has semi-double flowers with pink and white striped petals surrounding yellow central florets. Cosmos ‘Rosetta’ bloom from early summer until the first fall frosts.
Cosmos ‘Rosetta’ can grow between 2 and 3 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. This cultivar stands up well to common diseases and pests that afflict cosmos flowers. It’s also an excellent variety to grow in containers.
6. Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’
Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’ is a wonderfully sophisticated cosmos variety based on Cosmos bipinnatum. It’s mostly known for its fluted pink petals, which surround yellow central florets. Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’ is also available in a mix of colors, including red and white.
Cosmos ‘Sea Shells’ grow up to 3 feet tall and approximately 2 feet wide. This variety is grown as an annual in USDA Zones 2 to 11. ‘Sea Shells’ is another cosmos cultivar that’s excellent for pollinators such as butterflies.
7. Cosmos ‘Purity’
Few Cosmos bipinnatum cultivars are as exquisite as Cosmos ‘Purity’. Its pure white flowers can be up to 3 inches wide, adding plenty of impact to borders or containers. Cosmos ‘Purity’ also has golden yellow central florets and grows up to 4 feet tall.
Cosmos ‘Purity’ flowers prolifically from early summer until the frosts return in the fall. ‘Purity’ is an annual cultivar that produces beautiful cut flowers and is a vital nectar source for pollinators.
8. King’s Salad (Cosmos caudatus)
King’s salad (Cosmos caudatus) is a type of cosmos known for its edible leaves. Its name comes from the Malaysian word “ulam raja”, which means “the king’s salad”. Cosmos caudatus is native to Central and South America but was spread throughout Southeast Asia by Spanish explorers.
Cosmos caudatus can grow over 6 feet tall and produces pink, purple, or white flowers. These flowers emerge from clusters on light green stems with a slight purple tone. The leaves of this cosmos are used in many Asian salads and are said to taste like mangos.
9. Cosmos ‘Sonata’ Series
Members of the Cosmos ‘Sonata’ Series are compact cosmos varieties that are well-suited to growing in pots. These cosmos grow up to 24 inches tall and spread in clumps approximately 15 inches wide. Like many cosmos cultivars, the ‘Sonata’ Series is derived from Cosmos bipinnatum.
Cosmos ‘Sonata’ Series mixes are grown as annuals in USDA Zones 2 to 11. These small cosmos produce flowers up to 3 inches wide and come in pink, purple, red, and white. Each flower also has golden yellow central florets.
10. Cosmos ‘Klondyke’
Cosmos ‘Klondyke’ is a variety derived from yellow cosmos flowers (Cosmos sulphureus). These annuals produce fiery orange or yellow semi-double flowers with yellow central florets and feathery green leaves. Cosmos ‘Klondyke’ grows in clumps measuring up to 35 inches tall and approximately 16 inches wide.
This vibrant cosmos variety flowers from summer until the fall frosts, usually from July until October. The saucer-shaped blooms are the ideal landing spot for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
11. Cosmos ‘Double Click’ Series
Cosmos ‘Double Click’ is another cosmos series based on Cosmos bipinnatum. These cosmos grow up to 4 feet tall, making them ideal for the back of a border. They can be grown in USDA Zones 2 to 11 and form clumps that can spread up to 2 feet wide.
Cosmos ‘Double Click’ produces semi-double or double flowers that come in mixed shades of pink, red, or white. These gorgeous cosmos blooms emerge in early summer and continue until fall.
12. Cosmos ‘Picotee’
Cosmos ‘Picotee’ is a beautiful cosmos variety derived from Cosmos bipinnatum. ‘Picotee’ produces large white flowers with dark pink on the edges of the petals. Cosmos ‘Picotee’ also has bright yellow central florets and grows between 3 and 4 feet tall.
Cosmos ‘Picotee’ is a showy annual cosmos that flowers from early summer until the first frost hits in the fall. This variety is a bit more resistant to common pests and diseases that can target cosmos flowers.
13. Cosmos ‘Sensation’ Series
The ‘Sensation’ Series is a breathtaking cosmos series known for its bold, vibrant colors. These cosmos cultivars have been bred from Cosmos bipinnatum and come in pink, red, and white. This is another tall cosmos variety that can easily grow up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Cosmos ‘Sensation’ Series varieties are in bloom from early summer until early fall. The flowers are single and are ideal for attracting beneficial pollinators to the garden.
14. Cosmos ‘Versailles’ Series
The Cosmos ‘Versailles’ Series, also known as ‘Versailles Tetra’, yields dramatically colored flowers. The flowers are pink, with dark pink or reddish-pink rings surrounding yellow central florets. Cosmos ‘Versailles’ Series cultivars come from the Cosmos bipinnatum lineage.
Cosmos ‘Versailles’ specimens grow up to 3 feet tall and grow as annuals in USDA Zones 2 to 11. These cosmos produce a prolific mass of flowers from early summer until the first fall frost.
15. Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’
Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ is a spectacular annual cosmos variety with beautiful bi-colored petals. Derived from Cosmos bipinnatum, clumps of ‘Candy Stripe’ can grow between 2.5 and 5 feet tall and spread for approximately 2 feet.
Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ wows with elegant single white flowers that have dark pink or pinkish-red edges on the petals. The central florets are bright yellow. ‘Candy Stripe’ flowers from early summer until the arrival of the first frosts in the fall.
16. Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’
Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’ has delicate, unique flowers compared to many other cosmos varieties. Each semi-double flower head has fused petals, giving the appearance of a cupcake wrapper. These flowers are white when they first bloom but turn a rosy pink within a couple of days.
Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’ flowers can grow up to 5 inches wide, creating a dramatic ornamental statement. This cultivar originates from Cosmos bipinnatum and blossoms from early summer until fall. Each specimen can reach up to 4 feet tall and spread approximately 2 feet wide.
17. Cosmos ‘Diablo’
The fiery Cosmos ‘Diablo’ cultivar is a descendant of the yellow cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus), which originated in Mexico. This variety produces masses of orange, red, or yellow flowers from May until October. Cosmos ‘Diablo’ grows well in USDA Zones 3 to 8 as an annual.
Cosmos ‘Diablo’ can grow between 4 and 5 feet tall and can spread for approximately 2 to 3 feet. The bright flowers are excellent for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Popular Types of Cosmos Flowers – Wrapping Up
Choosing from one of the many gorgeous cosmos cultivars is a great way to bring color and impact to your garden. Most cosmos cultivars are derived from three species – Cosmos atrosanguineus, Cosmos bipinnatum, and Cosmos sulphureus. Cosmos varieties come in a range of colors including pink, purple, red, orange, and white as well as bi-colored cultivars. Cosmos flowers are predominantly annuals and can grow up to 5 feet tall.
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.