Friday, January 9, 2009

Blooming Friday

our Cosmos bipinnatus in our garden last summer

In my experience, Cosmos bipinnatus, also known as Mexican aster, is one of the easiest plants to grow. The term “cosmos” is the genus by which other species like Cosmos sulphureus (yellow cosmos) and Cosmos atrosanguineus (chocolate cosmos) also belong to, but it is more commonly used to refer to the bipinnatus kind. In our area, cosmos are grown in some fields while they lay fallow. And you can sometimes collect flowers and make a bouquet of them, provided the access to these fields are not forbidden.

There are several varieties of bipinnatus; the ones I plant every spring are of the Sensation variety. The seeds are not that expensive compared to other types of cosmos and the color of the flowers ranges from white to magenta --- hence, you’ll have more hues in your garden plots. They grow up to a meter high and their spindly leaves and stems create an air of "lightness " in your flower beds, especially combined with thick-leaved plants. The big brightly colored flowers attract a lot of butterflies and bees which make them really interesting to have in one’s garden. They also don’t need much care once they germinate and even drought-tolerant (but of course watering them from time to time will ensure continuous flowering).

One just has to be careful with slugs (and sometimes with aphids) when they are still young. I use ashes to prevent these gastropods from eating the seedlings. But generally, they resist diseases and pests. And they flower for a long time, around 6 months if planted at the start of spring. They can be planted directly on the ground, as long as the soil temperature is around 20-25°C. But one can also sow the seeds in small trays by March and just transplant them when the ground is warm enough.

My favorite is the magenta/fuchsia-colored flowers. I normally collect seeds at the end of each flowering season to avoid buying them for the following year. A handful of them can be gathered from a single flower, so even if you don’t have that much blooms due to the weather conditions, you will still have enough seeds for next spring. Or if you don’t have time to collect them, you can just let it self-sow. With the ease of cultivating cosmos, as a budding gardener, I could say that growing them is a great way to start your garden.

see my other blooming fridays
see other blooming friday participants


lisaschaos said...

I love the cheerful colors of Cosmos! Beautiful!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

This is my favourite flower! I love your photos/ Tyra

Vella said...

So lovely flowers!

andré said...

Nice photos of nice flowers! I always keep a few different varieties in my garden. :-)

Roses and stuff said...

A lovely, blooming Friday! Magenta is one of my favourite colours and your photos are just excellent! very enjoyable.
I wish you a great weekend.

Gunilla said...

Nice photos of lovely flowers

Have a great weekend


Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on Robin's Nesting Place. You had asked me what kind of flower the bee was landing on. It is liatris, or purple gay feather. I'll have to have a look at your blog now that I'm here. Thanks again for your comment leading me to your blog!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I grow these cosmos every year, they are self-sowers in my garden, but I usually collect seeds just to make sure I have them. The butterflies love them!

lareine said...

to everybody: thanks a lot for dropping by:)... cosmos flowers are really great to have in the garden --- not only for their beauty and easy cultivation, but also for being "insect-friendly"...

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