Scientific Name:  Cosmos bipinnatus

Light: full sun

Zone: 2 to 11; Grown as an annual in Carroll County

Height:  1 to 4 feet

Width:  2 to 3 feet

Flowers:   Red, pink or white rays and yellow center; June to frost


Fall Color:

Butterflies:  attracts

Birds: Yes


Deer Resistant: Yes

Insects/Pollinators:  Cosmos flowers are magnets for beneficial insects like lacewings, parasitic wasps, tachinid flies and hoverflies that feed on many pest insects and provide free pollination services.


Idea Garden:

Propagation:  Seedlings emerge in 7 to 10 days if started at 70 – 72F.  Seeds should be lightly covered.  In Carroll county, seeds can be started in mid-April for seedlings to be set out after Mother’s Day.  Seeds can also be directly sown after Mother’s Day.


Cosmos are a beautiful, low maintenance edible annual flower that attracts birds, butterflies and bees to your garden. Flowers come in an amazing variety of bright colors and unique styles.

The Cosmos flower (Koz-moss) is an annual flowering plant grown for their showy daisy-like flowers often planted as background plants.

Cosmos is a heat loving plant and grows and flowers well at temperatures above 60F.  Temperatures below 55F inhibits growth & flowering.

Cut Flowers

Space plants 9-12″ apart and use support netting especially if windy.  Sequential planting every 2 to 4 weeks will result in better quality flowers.  To encourage long stems, pinch early to the first set of nodes or wait until the are about 18″ and use hedge trimmer to shear to 10-12″ for better branching.

Harvest from colored bud thru when petals are on first flower are just beginning to open but have not yet flattened for fresh cut flowers.  Vase life is 4 to 6 days with water and can be extended with floral preservatives.

Varieties / Cultivars

Antiquity – 24″; Burgundy flowers open and mature to bronze salmon creating a lovely, two-tone effect. Very floriferous all summer for borders, containers & cutting.

Capriola – 2 ft; Large bicolor flowers with broad petals. White background with purple-red center ring and rosy-red picotee edge around entire petal. Early. For borders, landscaping, container accents and cut flowers.

Casanova Series – 10″ containers, 24″ garden; Very compact, bushy, branching and uniform. Large 2.5-3.5″ flowers. Pink, Red, Violet & White.

Cosimo Series – 18-20″; Early & compact with unique bi-colors and collarettes. striped pink & white, Purple Red and bi-color striped red & white.

Cosmix Series – 10″ container, 24″ garden; Very large 3″-4″ flowers with compact habit.

Cupcakes –  Cup-shaped blooms. Fused petals form a single cupped shaped flower resembling a poppy.

Cutesy – 24″; semi-dwarf, mounding habit with large flowers.  carmine, pink, pink blush and white.

Double Click Series –  24″-30″. Very floriferous, informal mum-like doubles with strong stems. Long flowering period.  Bicolor Pink, Bicolor Violet, Cranberries, Rose BonBon & Snow Puff.

Fizzy Series – 3 ft; Showy semidouble flowers. Rose Picotee

Gazebo (Vega) Series – 2 ft; Strong stems, compact, freely branched w’ fernlike leaves, large bright flowers. Red & White.

Happy Ring –  4 ft; Bicolor, shell-pink, cherry-ringed center. Long wiry stems.

Hot Pink – 10″ container, 24″ garden; Large 2.5″-3″ flowers. Striking hot cerise pink color.

Lovebird Series – Fluted, ‘Seashells’ type petals with compact low growing habit. Lilac Pink, Mix, Reddish Purple & White.

Picotee – 32″; White centers, magenta-red & carmine-rose edges

Red Illusion – 4 ft; huge 4″ semi-double to double bloms. Petals are marked at base and rim with spidery deep red veins over palest pink background. 60-90 days.

Rosetta – 30″; Large flowers, mostly single, some with collarettes. Background color is delicate pink shades, many with white, deep rose or white stripes the length of the petal.

Rubenza – 2 ft; shifts from bright ruby-red to rose. Large 3″ flowers w/ broad overlapping petals. Lacy deep-green foliage.

Rubinato – 2 ft; ruby red flowers with broad petals. Early to flower. Well branched and floriferous.

Seashells – 5 ft;  fluted petals.

Sensation Series – 4 ft; Finely cut foliage & delicate, colorful flowers. Stands up to heat & humidity.

Sonata Series – 2 ft; dwarf.  Pink, Pink Blush, White

Velouette – 24″ container, 32″ garden; red-purple shades, many with eye catching clean white streaks radiating from the center.


Cosmos – Missouri Botanical Garden

Specialty Cut Flowers by Armitage & Laushman

The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski

Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein

Recommended for Wildlife by

Some Favorite Nectar Plants – Washington Area Butterfly Club

Butterfly Gardening in the DC Area – Washington Butterfly Club

9 Reasons You Should Grow Cosmos Flowers 

Photos by

Nancy Bittler

Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8



Flower Color

Pink, Red, White

Flower Season

Fall, Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Summer

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Nectar

Notable Features

Containers, Cut Flowers, Long Blooming

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available


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