Cosmos Flower: Planting and Care Tips for Growing Bright Cosmos Blooms

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 1, 2024

Woman with her arms crossed looks as the ground covered in cosmos flower types with pink and dark pink blooms after learning growing tips for planting cosmos flowers and types of cosmos flower varieties.

If you want your garden or yard to be full of vivid colors, planting different varieties of the Cosmos Flower can breathe new life into your landscaping.

Even hard to please enthusiasts can find that the different shades of Cosmos blossoms can easily appeal to your senses and fit into any landscape.

But before you grow your own Cosmos Flower variety, you might want to know more about this stunning plant and how to support its growth every year.

This detailed guide to Cosmos Flower planting and care will ensure that you have all the tips for growing bright Cosmos blooms.

Cosmos Flower Facts: An Overview

When you think of a garden blossom, the images of dazzling colors, delicate petals, and circular shapes may immediately rush to your mind.

With their stereotypical appearance, you can find Cosmos Flowers to be a perfect representation of these visuals.

But that’s not all. In addition to adding a splash of color to your garden, Cosmos Flowers can also fill it with beautiful butterflies and buzzing bees.

While looking for information on the Cosmos Flower,1 one of the initial cosmos flower facts you’ll encounter is that many are annuals, blooming for just a single season in your garden. But you will be happy to know that not all Cosmos plants are annual plants.

Cosmos Flower


Cosmos flower on an oval frame in a green background.
  • Characteristics: While you may know the Cosmos Flower from its daisy-like appearance, its brightly-colored blooms give the plant its own distinct identity. To help you learn more about the Cosmos plant, the following details give you a quick overview of its attributes.
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Cosmos
  • Leaf: Green, pinnatisect
  • Seed: Dark brown, slender, 1-inch long
  • Blossoms: Showy, saucer-shaped, available in different colors
  • Native Habitat: Mexico
  • Height: 2-4 feet
  • Canopy: 2-3 feet
  • Type: Annual
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2-11

Image Credit: NoName_1340

Some of them are also perennials and blossom for multiple years in your garden. As a result, whether or not your Cosmos plant will bloom for more than one season depends upon the species or cultivar that you choose to grow.

It is also easy for you to mistake Cosmos Flowers for daisies. But even though both of these flowers come from the same family called Asteraceae, they are completely different genus.4

You can differentiate between them due the smaller size and flatter petals of daisies as compared to Cosmos.3

You will be glad to hear that it is fairly easy to identify a Cosmos Flower. For starters, each Cosmos Flower has 7-20 brightly-colored petals that are attached to its center in a wheel-like arrangement.

You can also remember that the pistil of most Cosmos Flowers is just as brightly-colored in shades of gold-yellow.

You can find the Cosmos Flower to be typically 1-3 inches in size with petals that curl a bit upward. The variety of Cosmos shades includes but is not limited to red, purple, blue, and pink flowers.

Since you can grow the Cosmos Flower in practically all types of weather and especially warm climates,5 the plant remains popular across its native planting region of Mexico as well as North America and South America.2,6

How To Identify Cosmos Flower

To determine how to identify Cosmos Flower, look for its saucer shape and brightly colored petals, as well as a prominent pistil in the middle that is bright yellow for most Cosmos Flower species and cultivars.25

You can also remember that each Cosmos Flower is typically 3-6 inches in size and has 7-20 petals to give you a stunning sight.

What Does a Cosmos Flower Look Like?

The simplest way for you to describe a Cosmos Flower is that it looks like a daisy. But unlike a daisy, it has wider petals that also curl a bit upwards instead of being stretched out.

You can also find the Cosmos Flower to have a bright yellow pistil in the center that beautifully complements its bright colors that include but are not limited to white, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and blue shades.

So, what does a cosmos flower look like? Think of a vibrant, slightly curled daisy in a diverse array of hues.

What Do Cosmos Leaves Look Like?

You can identify Cosmos leaves by their pinnatisect shape, which means that each leaf grows different lobes that are almost separated by the midrib.24

Specifically for Cosmos plants, you can remember that these leaves look like they are growing threads out of their midribs while sporting a bright green color.

What Do Cosmos Seeds Look Like?

You can easily spot Cosmos seeds due to their small, elongated and double-pointed appearance. The seeds that you can sow into the ground are dry and have a brown to dark brown shade to them.

The Cosmos Flower Can Be Both Annual or Perennial, While Attracting Beautiful Creatures to Your Garden

You may also want to remember that most Cosmos species are annual plants. This means that if you grow a Cosmos plant in your garden, it may only bloom once for its lifetime.

This means that if you want to grow Cosmos Flowers year after year, you need to plant them each year before their blooming season.7 However, the question arises, are Cosmos perennials?

Some varieties indeed are, allowing for repeated blooms with proper care.

With that being said, you might be delighted to know that the beauty of these flowers is completely worth the effort that annual replanting asks of you. It is also important for you to remember that some Cosmos Flower species and cultivars are perennials, which means that you can enjoy their flowers in the blooming season for multiple years.

In case you want your garden to have plenty of butterflies and bees, Cosmos Flowers can help you attract different types of butterflies and bees throughout their blooming season.8

Close-up view of red and pink Cosmos blossoms in a meadow.

(Image: tzuwensu33)

If you want to add Cosmos Flower plants to your garden, you might be happy to know that you can choose between a range of species and cultivars for this genus. This not only gives you plenty of options for the colors of your Cosmos Flowers, but also delivers breathtaking choices such as dual-hued blossoms.

This way, you can make sure that your selected Cosmos Flowers do not seem overpowering or underwhelming when put against your existing garden decor and plant choices.

Despite their striking appearance, you will find Cosmos Flowers very easy to care for. For starters, you can grow Cosmos in your garden by simply sowing seeds into the ground.9

Once your Cosmos start blooming, you don’t have to move mountains to manage them. With a little care here and some attention there, you can continue to enjoy the sight of your Cosmos Flowers against the rich green backdrop of their pinnatisect leaves.

After blooming, you can count on your Cosmos plants to last through the season until frost comes knocking.

What Types of Butterflies Does the Cosmos Flower Attract?

You will be happy to learn that the Cosmos Flower attracts many types of butterflies, with the most common being the mesmerizing monarch butterfly.28 If you want your garden to be a picture out of a storybook with lots of butterflies, you can also pair your Cosmos Flower with other butterfly-friendly plants such as butterfly bush.29

Why Do Most Types of Bees Like the Cosmos Flower?

When you plant a Cosmos Flower in your garden, you can expect many types of bees to visit it everyday. It is because the Cosmos plant is naturally full of nectar and provides bees the nutrition and pollen they need to survive.

Since your Cosmos Flower may bloom throughout the season and more than many other plants, it can present itself as a bee-friendly nutrition center to your buzzing guests.

After getting this introduction to the fantastic Cosmos, you can confidently go through this guide for Cosmos Flower: planting and care tips for growing bright Cosmos blooms.

Types of Cosmos: Garden Cosmos, Yellow Cosmos, and Chocolate Cosmos Stand Out Among a Variety of Species and Cultivar Options

When you first learn about Cosmos Flower, you can instantly identify that it belongs to the family Asteraceae. This is the same family as the magnificent sunflower (Helianthus) and the beautiful daisy (Bellis perennis).

Under the genus Cosmos, you can find a variety of species. Two of the most popular species of Cosmos include Cosmos bipinnatus (Garden Cosmos),10 and Cosmos sulphureus (Yellow Cosmos).11

You can distinguish between them by remembering that the garden Cosmos has a variety of colors for its petals, while the yellow Cosmos stays true to its name and sports yellow-gold or orange petals. But you can also find other species and cultivars of the Cosmos Flower just as easily.

In case you enjoy growing rare flowers or meticulously designed cultivars,12 you can also find suitable options within the many cultivars of the Cosmos Flower. One such option includes the absolutely gorgeous Chocolate Cosmos Flower (Cosmos atrosanguineus).

You may be positively surprised to know that this cultivar gets its name not because of its color, but because of its scent.13 While its petals and pistil sport a rich burgundy color, its fragrance instantly reminds you of rich and luscious chocolate.14

An Introduction to the Most Popular Cosmos Flower Colors

To learn more about some of the most popular species and cultivars of Cosmos, you can make your way through the following introduction to different Cosmos Flower colors.

1. Purple Cosmo Flower

In case you want to fill your garden with the joyful shades of purple, you can easily find several options in the Cosmos bipinnatus or garden Cosmos species. But you can also discover more distinct cultivars in the genus such as the Cosmos caudatus or “Ulam Raja” that is popularized due to its potential medicinal properties and its vibrant purple Cosmo Flower.15

Close-up view of a Garden Cosmos blossom with a bee perched at its center.

(Image: beasternchen34)

Close up top view of a Cosmos flower with its orange petals and yellow center.

(Image: JA202035)

2. Orange Cosmos Flower

If you feel partial to warmer colors in flowers, you may do well with varieties of the orange Cosmos Flower.

You may find the Cosmos sulphureus or Sulfur Cosmos to be the most popular Cosmos Flower in this color.

Interestingly enough, the sulfur Cosmos also boasts of yellow hues, which means that you can also find it when searching for yellow Cosmos Flowers.

3. Pink Cosmos Flower

If you are looking for pink Cosmos for your garden, you can easily discover them in the form of the popular species called Cosmos bipinnatus or Garden Cosmos. But if you want to grow Cosmos with distinct shades of pink, you can also look into cultivars such as the ‘Apollo Pink’ and ‘Apricot Lemonade’ to tick all the boxes on your list.

Close up view of a Cosmos flower showcasing its pink petals, buds, and yellow center.

(Image: kie-ker36)

Close-up of multiple white Cosmos blossoms highlighting their yellow centers.

(Image: matthiasboeckel37)

4. White Cosmos Flower

At first glance, you may find the white Cosmos Flower to resemble a daisy.

But when you look a bit closely, you can see the difference in the wider petals that are a signature attribute of the Cosmos Flower.

You can get this classic color of Cosmos in the Cosmos bipinnatus species as well as cultivars such as the ‘Sonata White’ and ‘Purity’ very easily.

5. Blue Cosmos Flower

In case you want to turn away from the usual palette of bright and warm colors, you can also find blue Cosmos Flowers within this family of low maintenance plants. But here’s the kicker: While you can discover people discussing the beauty, meaning, and symbolism of blue Cosmos Flowers,16 you may quickly realize that they are harder to find than their many other counterparts.

Now that you have the basic knowledge of Cosmos Flowers, you can breeze through the rest of this guide for Cosmos Flower: planting and care tips for growing bright Cosmos blooms.

Cosmos Flower Growing Zone Information: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Cosmos Flower

Before you cultivate any type of plant, you should check if your geographic area’s environment is favorable with the Cosmos Flower growing zone and is conducive for its growth. This not only allows you to make sure that your plants thrive under your care, but also saves you from wasting your efforts on plants that may not properly grow in your area in the first place.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help you obtain this information quickly through its plant hardiness zone information.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map categorizes 13 geographical areas throughout the United States according to their annual average minimum winter temperature.17 These categories start from zone 1a and go all the way to zone 13b.

Low angle view of pink Cosmos flowers during daytime.

(Image: qurrant38)

You will be happy to learn that Cosmos Flower is one of the few plants that can grow in most of these plant hardiness zones, particularly zones 2a-11b. This means that if you don’t live in regions with the coldest annual average minimum winter temperature, you may very well be able to grow a thriving Cosmos Flower plant.

With that being said, you need to be more careful about growing certain cultivars of Cosmos Flowers that may only grow within a select few of these zones. You can get more information about this requirement when buying Cosmos Flower seeds, seedlings, or plants from a local or online garden center.

What Are the USDA Growing Zones for Cosmos Flower?

You will be happy to know that the USDA hardiness or growing zones for Cosmos Flower range from 2-11. This means that you can grow these gorgeous flowers in most of the areas across the United States.

As a result, if you are looking for types of white flowers that you can grow easily, the Cosmos Flower can be a great choice.

How To Grow Cosmos Plant: Planting Tips for Cosmos Flower

Seeing that you can grow Cosmos plants in almost all types of planting zones, they remain one of the easiest flowers to plant in your garden all by yourself. But you still need some information and tips to make sure that your Cosmos Flower not only survives but thrives under your care.

To achieve a thriving garden, understanding how to grow Cosmos is crucial. Here are some details to guide you towards that objective:

How To Start Growing a Cosmos Flower From a Seed (How To Plant Cosmos Seeds)

You can start growing a Cosmos Flower from a seed by sowing it into the ground or garden bed.9 If you’re wondering how to plant Cosmos seeds effectively and ensure a high success rate, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Make sure that you are not using rich soil as that can produce floppy plants.18
  2. Start by making about a half-an-inch space into the ground for your Cosmos seeds.
  3. Sow your Cosmos seed into the ground.
  4. You can then cover with soil to level the ground.
  5. You should remember to follow your garden center or package instructions to ensure ideal space between Cosmos plants.
  6. After planting your Cosmos seed, make sure the soil is well-drained and not too damp.
  7. Keep the soil moist by watering daily until seedlings emerge.19

How To Handle Cosmos Seedlings

After your Cosmos seeds turn into thriving Cosmos seedlings, you can handle them through the following practices:9

  1. Water deeply only once a week to make sure the soil is not damp.
  2. Ensure full sunlight but provide partial shade in very hot weather.
  3. Use stakes if required to keep the plants upright.

When To Plant Cosmos Flower for the Best Yield

You can plant your Cosmos Flower after frost has passed in early spring.20 When planning when to plant Cosmos Flower for the best yield, consider starting indoors by sowing the seeds in pots roughly a month prior to the last expected frost.

Graphic of Cosmos Plant growth rate showing a Cosmos seedling at 2-4 inches in 1-2 weeks and reaching a height of 2-4 feet within 2 months.

After frost passes, you can plant these seedlings into the ground.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Cosmos Flower?

You can ensure the best growing conditions for Cosmos Flower by following these tips:

  • You should keep the soil moist but well-drained.
  • You should not use rich soil to prevent floppy plants.
  • You should ensure full sunlight and only provide partial shade if the weather is too hot.
  • You should do deep watering only once a week after seeds emerge.
  • You should use a stake to keep the plants upright if required.
  • You should follow garden center or package instructions to maintain ample space between plants.

You should also remember that these general tips usually apply to all types of Cosmos Flower plants.9 But if you are growing a particular cultivar, you can ask for specific instructions from the garden center or online store from where you purchase your Cosmos Flower seeds or seedlings.

What Are the Watering Needs for Cosmos Flower Plants?

You will be delighted to know that the watering needs for Cosmos Flower plants is very little.21 After planting your Cosmos seeds into the ground, you may need to water them daily until they germinate and turn into seedlings to reward your efforts.

But afterwards, you should quickly switch to deep watering only once a week.

How Long It Takes To Grow Cosmos Flower?

After you sow your Cosmos seeds, you can expect them to germinate within 1-3 weeks.9 Typically, you can expect your Cosmos plant to start showing off its stunning flowers in about two months after germination.

Not only is the Cosmos Flower among the most straightforward plants to cultivate, but in terms of how long it takes to grow Cosmos Flower, it’s also one of the quickest blooming additions to your garden.

How Much Sunlight Does Cosmos Flower Need Each Day?

The Cosmos Flower typically needs full sunlight,9 which means that you need to plant it in a location where it gets an unobstructed view of the sun at its peak. In regions with particularly hot climates, it’s essential to understand how much sunlight does Cosmos Flower need each day.

To protect your Cosmos plant from excessive heat, you might consider giving it partial shade to prevent potential scorching.

When Do Cosmos Bloom?

Your Cosmos may typically bloom in the summer. If you are starting with Cosmos seeds, you can expect them to bloom in about 3 months from the planting date.

In case you get a Cosmos seedling, you can be ready for it to bloom in just under 2 months from the day it germinated.9

So, when do Cosmos bloom? Timing primarily depends on how you start cultivating them.

What Are Some Companion Plants for Growing Cosmos Flower?

When you think about companion plants for growing Cosmos Flower, your first intention might be to pair the stunning colors of Cosmos Flowers with other flowers that boast of bright and vivid shades.

While this can lead you to choices such as sunflowers and petunias, growing your Cosmos Flowers with plants such as marigolds can also keep away aphids that are common pests of Cosmos Flowers.26

A grass field blanketed with red, white, and pink Cosmos blossoms.

(Image: Ray_Shrewsberry39)

With that in mind, other than the flowers you read about above, some of the most common companion plants for growing Cosmos Flower include zinnias, dahlias, foxgloves, and bee balms.27

How To Stop Cosmos Flower Disease

To know how to stop Cosmos Flower disease you should take care of the following practices:22

  1. Ensure proper sanitation by removing dead flowers and leaves.
  2. Prevent overwatering and do not make the soil too damp.
  3. Make sure that the soil is well-drained.
  4. Sow your Cosmos Flower plants with ample space between them as suggested for the species or cultivar.

When you follow these suggestions to take care of your Cosmos plants, you can help them steer clear of diseases ranging from powdery mildew to yellows. You can also use solutions such as fungicide sprays that specifically target the issue at hand.

What Are Some Common Pests of the Cosmos Flower?

Some of the most common pests of the Cosmos Flower include:22

  • Fourlined Plant Bug
  • Stalk Borer
  • Aphids
  • Twospotted Spider Mite

When you follow common planting tips for Cosmos Flower such as keeping ideal space between plants, you can minimize the risk of pest infestations. But if your Cosmos plant falls prey to a common pest, you can use specific solutions such as insecticides to get rid of these unwanted guests.

Can You Use Natural Pest Control for Cosmos Flower?

Since most pests that affect the Cosmos Flower are only repelled by controlled or targeted insecticides, the most effective natural pest control for Cosmos Flower comes in the form of planting practices. These include removing bigger pests by hand, ensuring proper space between plants to minimize infestations, and planting specific plants such as marigolds to get rid of pests like aphids.23

After learning about these suggestions, you may become curious about more specific questions about the Cosmos Flower: planting and care tips for growing bright Cosmos blooms. The following list of frequently asked questions can answer many of these inquiries for you.

Since Cosmos Flowers also attract plenty of butterflies and bees, they can help you build your very own fairy tale garden.

Indeed, the Cosmos Flower does not ask much from you in terms of care, but it still provides you with beautiful flowers that last throughout the blooming season.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cosmos Flower

Is the Cosmos Plant the Same as Daisies?

While you may find the Cosmos plant and daisy to have a striking resemblance, they are two different genus of the Asteraceae family of plants. This makes them different from one another despite having similar features in their appearance.

Are Cosmos Perennials?

Most Cosmos are annual plants, which means that you can grow them once a year before the plant completes its life cycle.30 While you can plant new Cosmos annually, some species and cultivars are perennials, allowing the same plant to bloom year after year with appropriate care.

What Are Some Plants That Attract Hummingbirds?

If you want to grow plants that attract hummingbirds, you have plenty of options at hand. These include but are not limited to Desert Willow,31 Snapdragon Vine, and the aptly named Hummingbird Trumpet.

What Is the Benefit of Low Maintenance Plants?

Low maintenance plants, such as Cosmos Flower, Hydrangeas, Coneflowers, and Peonies, require minimal time and resources for care. This allows you to diversify your garden without overwhelming yourself.32

What Are Some of the Most Popular Types of White Flowers?

Whether you want to grow different types of white flowers or just want to impress your friends with your knowledge, you can remember daisies, hydrangeas, and lilies to stand out in this category of plants. Similar to the Cosmos Flower, you can find these plants easy to grow with very little care.

Where Can I Find a Picture of Cosmos Flowers?

You can find a picture of Cosmos Flowers by simply searching for the plant over the web. This provides you with various images that are taken by professional gardeners, botany experts, and hobbyists alike.

When To Plant Cosmos?

You should plant Cosmos after frost has passed.9 This allows your Cosmos plants to grow without any struggle with the hard ground, regardless if they are to grow pink or purple flowers.


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11N.C. Cooperative Extension. (2023). Cosmos sulphureus. Cosmos sulphureus (Klondike Cosmos, Orange Cosmos, Sulphur Cosmos, Yellow Cosmos). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

12Kate Hill Flowers. (2022, September 1). 5 OF THE WORLD’S RAREST FLOWERS. 5 of the World’s Rarest Flowers — Kate Hill Flowers. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

13Longfield Gardens. (2023). Your Guide to Planning, Planting, and Growing Chocolate Cosmos. All About Chocolate Cosmos. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

14Downing, D. (2023). Some Plants for the Chocolate Theme Garden. Plants that Smell or Taste Like Chocolate. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

15Cheng, S., Barakatun-Nisak, M. Y., Anthony, J., Ismail, A. (2015, October). Potential medicinal benefits of Cosmos caudatus (Ulam Raja): A scoping review. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

16Josh. (2023). Blue Cosmos Flower Meaning, Symbolism & Spiritual Significance. Blue Cosmos Flower Meaning, Symbolism & Spiritual Significance – Foliage Friend – Learn About Different Types of Plants. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

17United States Department of Agriculture. (2012). Plant Hardiness Zones. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

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29Smith, T. (2022, August 3). If you want to attract monarch butterflies, plant a butterfly garden filled with zinnia, Cosmos and goldenrod. If you want to attract monarch butterflies, plant a butterfly garden filled with zinnia, Cosmos and goldenrod | Home-garden | Retrieved September 18, 2023, from   <>

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33Photo by tzuwensu. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

34Photo by beasternchen. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

35Photo by JA2020. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

36Photo by kie-ker. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

37Photo by matthiasboeckel. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

38Photo by qurrant. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

39Photo by Ray_Shrewsberry. Pixabay. Retrieved from   <>

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