Of all the annual flowering plants you can grow in your cutting garden (or even the back of your veggie patch), none is more productive than cosmos. They truly are a cut-and-come-again flower: The more you harvest them, the more they bloom.A single planting will produce buckets of airy, delicate, daisy-like blossoms for many months. You can arrange them on their own or weave them into mixed bouquets. The possibilities are endless.
Cosmos are incredibly easy to grow, making them perfect for beginning gardeners. Seeds can be started indoors to get a jump-start on the season or sown directly into garden beds once the weather warms.Either way, cosmos will bloom in just under 3 months from the date you sow them.
To start indoors, sow seeds 4 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost, then plant seedlings into the garden once all danger of frost has passed. Be careful not to sow seed too early, because seedlings will quickly outgrow their pots before the weather has warmed enough to put them out into the garden.Alternatively, you can sprinkle seeds in your garden once danger of frost has passed. In about a week, you’ll see seedlings sprout up from the soil. Keep the young plants protected from slugs and snails as they are getting established since new growth is quite tender.
Plants get very bushy and prefer a little extra room to spread out, so space plants 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 46 cm) apart. Once in the ground, cosmos will grow rapidly, so be sure to stake them early, while they are still young. Cosmos also benefit from a technique called pinching, as this will encourage the already highly productive plants to branch even more vigorously.Here’s how it’s done: When plants are young, between 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30.5 cm) tall, take sharp pruners and snip the top 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) off the plant, just above a set of leaves. This signals the plant to send up multiple stems from below where the cut was made, resulting in more abundant flower production as well as longer stem length.I typically do two sowings of cosmos, a month apart. This gives me a wide range of flower types and loads of blooms for cutting from summer into fall. I list some of my favorites here.
The ‘Double Click’ series is available as a mix or in single colors. This unique double-flowered variety is loaded with fluffy blooms that look great in bouquets.
The ‘Double Click Mix’ (pictured above) includes snow white, vibrant cranberry, rosy mauve, and a lovely soft blush.
Individual colors are also available, and I am particularly fond of ‘Bicolor Rose’, ‘Cranberries’, and plant delivery vancouver
Nothing says country charm like pure white cosmos, and two of my favorite white varieties are ‘Purity’ and ‘Psyche White’.
‘Purity’ (pictured left) is a cheerful daisy-like bloomer that produces an abundance of pure white single, wildflower-like blooms.
The large, pure white blooms of ‘Psyche White’ (pictured right) are a mixture of single and semi-double flowers with a central ring of fluffy miniature petals. The ruffled flowers look like snowflakes dancing in the breeze.
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