cosmos plant

Cosmos Flower: Types, How To Grow and Care

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Every summer, Cosmos flowers catch everybody’s attention mainly because of their astonishing colors, strong fragrance, and long stems.

What’s more, cosmos are so easy to take care of, that even new gardeners will have thriving plants in no time! This flower will also attract pollinators to the garden, making it an essential plant in any ecosystem.

cosmos flowers in the evening sun

Continue reading if you would like to learn how to grow Cosmos bipinnatus successfully.

Basic Facts about Cosmos Plant

purity cosmos
  • This plant belongs to the Asteraceae family of plants. Its name is derived from the Greek word ‘’Kosmos’’, which means ‘’harmony and gratitude.” This is a great name for them, as they surely bring those feelings to any garden! 
  • There are three different types of cosmos flowers: the Cosmos sulphureus, the Cosmos atrosanguineus, and the Cosmos bipinnatus. 
  • Cosmos do not need to be nurtured and cared for like other plants. However, they do need to have plenty of space, as their average height could be up to 6 feet. 
  • These flowers can have white, pink, yellow, soft red, purple, orange, or maroon petals.
  • They will thrive best in zones 4 to 11, according to the USDA.

How To Grow Cosmos Flowers

pink cosmos flower field

Growing cosmos is easy, even for amateur gardeners. This plant can handle hard climate conditions, such as drought or even neglect from the carer. In fact, cosmos is often considered as an invasive plant in some warm areas, as they tend to self-sow. 

Light Considerations

The most important aspect to consider when growing cosmos is that they require plenty of sunlight to survive. As a result, they need to be fully exposed to the sun.

Cosmos flowers are native to Mexico and South America, hence, why they prefer drier and warmer climate conditions.

pink cosmos flowers

Soil Requirements

This summer flower will thrive best in slightly acidic or neutral soil. Sometimes, depending on the climate, cosmos flowers will thrive in poor soil as well.

On the other hand, if the soil is too rich in organic elements, it will encourage foliage at the expense of blooms. If this is the case, then stack the plants in order to avoid them falling over. 

Water Needs

orange cosmos flowers

Once the plants have established themselves correctly, they do not need to be watered at all. In fact, if it’s the rainy season, then make sure the plants are protected against the rain; otherwise, they could suffer from too much water.


The great thing about this plant is that it does not need to be fertilized at all. On the contrary, they prefer poor soil, and they will thrive best if the gardener doesn’t pay too much attention to them.

Pruning Necessities

pink cosmos flower

However, cosmos plants require lots of deadheading and pruning to grow healthily. This will allow them to prolong their flowering season as well, which is excellent news for any garden! 

If the flowers have faded, then it is time to prune them. Depending on their size, you will need to shear the plants.

Propagating Cosmos

Another great thing about these daisy like flowers is that they self-propagate. Collect all the dried cosmos seeds at the end of summer. This way, you will have them ready for next year’s batch of cosmos. 

Alternatively, allow them to drop and self-sow. Be careful though, as they can become invasive if all their growing requirements have been met!

burgundy cosmos flower

Cosmos Flower Care Guide

  • When you deadhead the plants, you are also prolonging its flowering period because you are giving new and younger petals more room to grow.
  • Moreover, you will also aid with the plant’s development as you will be speeding up a natural regenerative process.
  • Be aware of strong winds as they could seriously harm the flower’s stems. Ideally, you would stack the plants, so they can have something to support themselves.
  • Harvesting times will vary according to different zones; however, as a general rule, you should harvest as soon as the petals open.

cosmos flowers in pink and orange

Types of Cosmos Flowers You Can Grow

There are three main species of Cosmos flowers: the Cosmos bipinnatus, the Cosmos sulphureus, and, Cosmos atrosanguineus.

Cosmos bipinnatus

Also referred to as Mexican Aster, this plant is native to the American continent, more specifically to the USA, and Mexico. 

This herbaceous plant is a half-hardy annual and will self-sow continuously if the right conditions are met. Albeit, in some areas, it is also considered as a perennial plant, as it will die before winter.

To sow cosmos seeds, prepare a well-draining soil bed and scatter the seeds evenly. Lightly cover them with soil and keep the area consistently moist until germination occurs.

This plant tends to have hairless stems that produce strong branches. Its leaves have a unique shape, as their tips are hard and sturdy. If planted in groups, all of the Cosmos bipinnatus petals will support each other to remain elongated.

Fizzy Pink

fizzy pink cosmos

This variety can grow up to 5 feet tall. Unlike other types of Cosmos, the Fuzzy Pink has double flowers, and they could be pink, white, or cream.

They will bloom throughout the summer, and they require direct sunlight in order to guarantee optimal growth and health.


This yellow-centered flower has bright pink petals and a long stem that could grow up to 4 feet in height. Its foliage has a soft surface that resembles feathers. They are very hardy; hence, why they will continue to bloom throughout late fall.


picotee cosmos

The Cosmos Picotee variety usually has pink and white petals, although some types could be purple and cream. They are easier to recognize as they are bicolored and their petals have darker edges.

Gazebo Red

gazebo red cosmos

This dwarf variety tends to grow earlier in comparison to other varieties of Cosmos. Its petals have a feathery texture. As its name suggests, they are vibrant red. Gazebo Red needs sandy, rich soil and plenty of sunlight to thrive.


sonata cosmos

These plants’ petals are slightly separated from one another. Known for its short stem, the Cosmos’ Sonata plant can be pink, red, carmine, white, and yellow. Its center is usually yellow with some light golden tone to it.


purity cosmos

This plant has large white petals and vibrant green foliage. They can easily grow up to 5 feet tall. Unlike other varieties, this Cosmos needs a soil rich in nutrients. They prefer direct sunlight throughout the day.

Cosmos sulphureus

This Cosmos variety is usually found in Mexico, Central, and South America. Sometimes they are also referred to as yellow or orange Cosmos.  As its name suggests, Cosmos sulphureus usually has orange, red, or yellow petals.

They are annual flowering plants that can easily grow up to 7 feet in height. Its leaves are similar to Daisy’s leaves.

Cosmic Red

cosmic red cosmos

Cosmic Red Cosmos has double red flowers. They are very popular amongst gardeners, mainly because they know that pollinators love them! They will bloom throughout summer and even at the beginning of fall.

Bright Lights

bright lights cosmos

As its name suggests, these cosmos grow bright-colored petals. They bloom throughout the summer, as they are particularly fond of warm weather. They can have yellow, scarlet, lemon, or orange petals.

Cosmic Orange

cosmic orange cosmos

This plant features vibrant orange petals that are astonishing! It is very easy to maintain, as it prefers to be left alone throughout its growing season.

Cosmos atrosanguineus

cosmos atrosanguineus

The third type of Cosmos is also referred to as Chocolate Cosmos. They are native to Mexico, and even though they have been grown in other countries, the new flowers seem to grow unhealthy and with problems.

This type of Cosmos smells like chocolate, hence its name. They can only grow up to 3 feet in height, and they require full sun to thrive.


Here are some of the most asked questions about cosmos flowers:

Does cosmos need sun or shade?

Cosmos plants prefer full sun, thriving in locations that receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. In shadier conditions, they may produce fewer flowers and become leggy.

Do cosmos come back each year?

Cosmos are annual plants in most regions, meaning they complete their life cycle within one growing season. However, they readily self-seed, so they may come back each year if allowed to drop seeds and naturalize in the garden beds.

Do cosmos flowers need to be deadheaded?

Deadheading spent cosmos flowers can encourage more flowers and continuous blooming and prevent the plant from self-seeding excessively. Removing faded blooms redirects the plant’s energy into producing new flowers, prolonging the flowering period.

Do cosmos do well in pots?

Yes, Cosmos can do well in pots if provided with the right growing conditions. Use a well-draining potting mix, place the pot in a sunny location, and water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Deadheading spent flowers can also help keep potted cosmos looking tidy and encourage prolonged blooming.

Do cosmos do well in heat?

Yes, Cosmos are generally heat-tolerant plants and thrive in warm weather. They can withstand hot temperatures, but they may benefit from supplemental watering during prolonged periods of heat and drought. Providing adequate moisture and mulching around the plants can help them retain soil moisture and thrive in hot conditions.


gold cosmos

Cosmos are the quintessential flowers for gardening beginners all over the world! Not only are they easy to maintain, but they will also help your garden by welcoming pollinators that will, in turn, help other flowers.

Besides, cosmos are rapid growers, and any gardener can be confident enough to know that in less than two months they will have grown a flower.

Up next: Cosmos Flower Meaning and Symbolism

*Featured photo by ekina1/depositphotos

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