Cosmos are a stunning type of annual flower that can easily be grown from seeds. By following a few basic tips, you can ensure that they stay healthy and continue blooming throughout the entire season.
These flowers, which resemble daisies, are quick to make an impression, often flowering just two months after being planted. However, if left to their own devices, their blooms can decrease or even stop altogether. Fortunately, identifying and addressing the issue is a straightforward process, which is precisely what this article aims to explore.
A Little About Cosmos
Cosmos, a stunning annual flowering plant, can bloom from late spring until the first frost if cared for properly. They are both heat and drought-resistant, and are not usually eaten by deer or other animals, making them a wonderful addition to any property.
Depending on the variety, they can grow to be anywhere from 18 inches to 6 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide. You can start growing Cosmos indoors or directly sow the seeds during early springtime. Although they take around 7 to 21 days to germinate, you won’t have to wait long after germination to see their breathtaking blooms! These daisy-like flowers can come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, purple, pink, white, and even brown.
Their colorful flower heads are filled with pollen, making them perfect for attracting pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies to your garden. Cosmos look particularly striking when paired with vertical plants like black-eyed susans and coneflowers.
The taller varieties work well for borders and flowerbeds, while the shorter ones are perfect for pots and containers. Additionally, planting cosmos on your property has the added advantage of self-seeding, meaning you can enjoy their beautiful blooms year after year with minimal maintenance.
How To Keep Cosmos Blooming Strong
To ensure your cosmos blooms to their full potential, it’s essential to consider several factors during planting and throughout the growing season. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll see your cosmos blooming beautifully in no time!
To maximize the flowering potential of your cosmos, pruning and deadheading are essential tasks. One of the most common reasons for weak blooms is the lack of these practices. When the plants reach 18 inches tall, prune off all the stems until they are about a foot tall.
This encourages branching in multiple directions, resulting in more flowers. Throughout the blooming period, remove old or decaying blooms from the stems by using pruning shears to cut between the stem and a leaf section. However, be careful not to cut too low on the stem, as it will take longer to regrow flowers.
Removing spent blooms prompts the plant to produce more flowers throughout the growing season. If you want your plants to self-seed at the end of the season, leave a few dried blooms on the stems to allow the seeds to drop.
Cosmos, being native to Mexico, prefer dry and humid soil conditions. Therefore, over watering can often lead to reduced blooms. When the soil is consistently moist, the plants tend to focus on growing foliage instead of producing flowers. Moreover, excess moisture on the roots can lead to rotting of the plants. Established plants usually do not require frequent watering, except in case of severe drought conditions.
To check if watering is needed, insert a finger a few inches into the soil. If it feels damp, delay watering and check again after a few days. If the soil feels dry, water the cosmos thoroughly and avoid watering again until the soil is dry.
As previously stated, cosmos plants do not require rich soil, and using fertilizer can result in more foliage rather than blooms. If you have already applied fertilizer, there isn’t much that can be done. However, ensure that all other factors mentioned in this article are in check to encourage flower production.
In case your plants seem to be struggling, you can try giving them a low dose of fertilizer to revive them. Just ensure that the fertilizer you use is low in nitrogen levels because nitrogen can cause plants to grow tall and thin with fewer flowers.
Giving Cosmos The Best Chance For Success! – How To Keep Cosmos Blooming Strong
The Right Type Of Soil
Cosmos seeds are unique in that they prefer soil with lower fertility. As natives of Mexico, they thrive in sandy, well-draining soil. However, if your garden soil is rich in nutrients and compost, the plants may put more energy into growing foliage than blooming, resulting in fewer flowers.
To help your soil match the needs of cosmos, you can add sand to create a soil similar to their natural environment. This will improve drainage and balance the organic and inorganic materials in the soil.
On the other hand, heavy soils like clay can cause problems for cosmos as they struggle to take root and produce blooms. Clay soil tends to retain too much moisture, leading to constantly damp roots that are the opposite of the ideal growing conditions for cosmos.
One solution is to amend the heavy soil with sand, but it may be easier to grow cosmos in pots, containers, or raised beds where you can control the soil type and drainage more effectively.
Your Planting Date
The ideal time to plant cosmos seeds is in the spring after the risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to around 60° Fahrenheit (16° Celsius). In the United States, this typically falls in March and April. Planting too early or too late can negatively affect the growth of your cosmos plants.
Cosmos are considered short-day plants, meaning they bloom best when daylight hours are 14 hours or less. Planting too late in the spring or early summer will result in maximum growth during the longest daylight hours of summer, causing a reduction in blooms.
If you live in an area with a shorter spring, starting cosmos seeds indoors can give them a head start. Once the weather has warmed up, transplant them into the garden to promote flowering while daylight hours are still shorter.
Age Of Seeds
Just like any other plants, it is important to avoid planting old cosmos seeds as they may impact the plant’s health and blooming ability.
Seeds that have been stored improperly for a long period of time are especially prone to this. To ensure the best results, it is recommended to use seeds that have not been stored for more than a year or two, as indicated on the seed packet. When storing seeds, make sure to keep them in a cool, dry location and away from light.
For cosmos plants to achieve their full blooming potential, they require a minimum of six hours of daylight per day. Although the plants can survive in partial shade, a lack of sufficient sunlight will result in a significant reduction in blooms. Additionally, plants grown in shady areas are more likely to become spindly.
If your plants are spending too much time in the shade, consider transplanting them to a sunnier location. If transplanting isn’t feasible, trim any tree limbs or foliage that might be casting a shadow over the cosmos plants.
Factors Out Of Your Control
Occasionally, nature can cause a less-than-ideal growing season for cosmos. A cold spring or summer, excessive rainfall, or extended periods of cloudiness may all contribute to reduced blooming.
Even strong winds can weaken the plants and negatively impact their overall health. If you experience a disappointing year of growing cosmos, don’t lose heart. These beautiful flowers are certainly worth trying again!