Cosmos bipinnatus

 Garden Cosmos or Mexican Aster


From March through into April and always around the Easter holidays, fields of self-sown Cosmos spring up along the roadside, transforming the highways and byways.

While some people might regard it as no more than an easy-growing weed, it can be a lovely garden annual and cut flower.

There are hybrid varieties of Cosmos to meet just about every gardener’s requirements, from tall growers that reach a metre in height to the compact dwarf varieties that grow 30 to 50cm high. There is also a choice between single or double blooms, some with a prominent golden eye, and colours that extend to deep carmine, orange, yellow and scarlet red.

Cosmos grows easily in all garden soils. Seed can be sown directly into flowerbeds in spring and thinned out later, or seedlings can be purchased from garden centres and planted out. Removing spent blooms will prolong flowering.

The Gardener