Cosmos 'Sensation Mixed' is a superb easy to grow annual and one of the earliest blooming cosmos mixtures. The tall graceful plants have delicate ferny foliage and throw up blooms from summer right through to first frosts at the end of autumn. The large, single flowers ranging from white to carmine, each with a yellow center make fabulous cut flowers, and are perfect for bouquets.
Disease free and its tolerant of poor soil, heat and humidity, make it an excellent choice if you are looking for an easy to grow "no fuss" annual that will thrive on minimal care. Deserving a sunny site in any garden, these adaptable plants are absolutely great for cutting, pots and borders. Water, sun and soil are all that is needed.
Cosmos is one of the best nectar plants for attracting butterflies to the garden, the seed heads attract birds and the flowers are perfect for pressing. Very easy to grow, making it a perfect choice for children or the less experienced gardener. Excellent in beds and borders as well as the cutting garden. They are also perfect for container plantings where their toughness and showiness can keep the flower show going all through the summer.
This most useful plant has long been a gardener’s favorite since 1936 when it was an AAS winner (All America Selections). The large plants make a bold, beautiful statement in any flower garden.
Sowing: Sow indoors March to April, or sow outdoors April to May Sow indoors in early spring 3 to 4 weeks before planting outside, alternatively, the seed can also be sown directly where they are to flower in mid to late spring. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.
Sowing Indoors: Use well drained soil and cover to a depth of 3mm (1/8in). When large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into small pots to grow on. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost 15cm (6in) apart.
Sowing Direct: Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth. If sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of sand and label. Sow 1mm (1/18th in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart. Sow seed sparingly or they will choke out other seedlings. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 30cm (12in) apart. Carefully replant thinned plants.
Cultivation: When the seedlings have three pairs of leaves, pinch out the tips, leaving at least one pair of leaves. Only water in an extended drought and do not apply large doses of fertiliser as flowering will be suppressed. Stake the taller varieties with a single or tripod of canes and some twine. Cosmos foliage is finely-cut into threadlike segments. When flowering, the taller varieties may become top heavy. This problem is alleviated when grown in groups, as the bi-pinnate leaves interlock, and the colony supports itself. Deadhead to prolong flowering and encourage new flower buds. At the season's end, don't be too quick to pull up withering cosmos plants. Birds (particularly gold finches) love to snack on their seedheads in autumn, and the seeds that they miss may drop to the ground and reward you the next year by sprouting into a whole new crop.
Cut Flowers: Cosmos is a cut-and-come-again bloomer, meaning that the sooner you cut the blooms, the quicker new buds will pop up to replace them. The blooms appear so profusely that you'll still have plenty of colour in the garden after you've picked your flowers. If you sear the stem end in boiling water for twenty seconds they will last a week in water.
Plant Uses: Cottage/Informal Gardens, Flowers Borders and Beds. Container Planting.
Nomenclature: Cosmos have been reassuring gardeners ever since the 1930s, when breeders first coaxed cosmos to bloom earlier than the native Mexican species, the flower-growing public has been hooked. Like many of our warm weather annuals such as marigolds, Cosmos originated in Mexico and South America. Spanish priests grew cosmos in their mission gardens in Mexico. The evenly placed petals led them to christen the flower "Cosmos," derived from the Greek kosmos, the word for harmony or ordered, or balanced universe. From this we also get the common name of "The Mexican Aster". The species name is from the Latin bipinnatus meaning “twice-pinnate” The botanical epithet is from the Latin pinnatus meaning “with leaflets arranged in opposite pairs.
|Average Seed Count||80 Seeds|
|Common Name||The Mexican Aster, AAS Winner|
|Other Common Names||Cosmea bipinnata|
|Hardiness||Half Hardy Annual|
|Flowers||Large, single flowers ranging from white to carmine, each with a yellow centre|
|Natural Flower Time||Summer to Autumn|
|Foliage||The tall graceful plants have delicate ferny foliage.|
|Time to Harvest||No|
|Position||Needs full sun to flourish|
|Soil||Lean, well drained, sandy soils.|
|Time to Sow||Sow indoors March-April, or outdoors April to May|
|Germination||7 to 10 days at 20-30°C (68-86°F)|