Year of the Cosmos 2016
03 March 2016 | Posted in Gardening by
Fleuroselect, the international organisation for the ornamental plants industry, has chosen 2016 as the Year of the Cosmos, and rightly so!
This amazing half-hardy annual produces flowers in abundance atop the most attractive and intricate feathery foliage.
What's more Cosmos Sonata (below) won a Which! Best Buy in January.
Thanks to recent breeding, cosmos comes in a wide range of colours and grow to different heights making them so versatile. Choose them for great bedding displays, plant them in drifts, near to your vegetable plot to encourage pollinating insects or even cut some for vase-displays indoors.
Vibrant displays in containers or flowerbeds
Beautiful leaves and flowers
RHS-approved Perfect for Pollinator flowers
Available as easy-sow seeds or easy-plant plugs
So easy to sow or add to your garden as young plants, they grow well in any soils, given lots of sun.
Here are some of our favourites;
Cosmos ‘Cosmonaut’ – Pure white semi-double flowers blooming from July to well into autumn.
Height: 120cm (48in)
Cosmos Sonata Mixed – pink, pastel and pure white blooms add cheer to any sunny summer border.
Height: 70cm (28in)
Cosmos 'Millenium' – a tall mix of flowers of the most intense and refreshing citrus shades.
Height: 75cm (30in)
Sowing Cosmos seed indoors to plant later outdoors
Fill a 6-9cm pot with seed compost – which is light and contains a small but balance level of nutrients in the soil. Overfill and strike excess soil off with a board so that the seed tray is filled to the top with un-compressed soil.
Submerge the seed tray into a waterbath beneath so that the soil slowly absorbs the moisture from the bottom without disturbing the soil on top.
Press the seed/s into the soil to a depth of about 1/2cm (1/4in) using a dibber or pencil.
Water above with a fine hose and add fungicide to the first watering to guard against damping off.
Cover the seeds with more of the seed-compost.
Label and date the seeds and place in a cool light place
Sowing Cosmos seed directly outdoors later
Use a rake to level the surface and create a crumble-like tilth. At this point remove any weeds or large stones etc.
Water the surface prior to sowing. This is better than watering over the top of seeds once they are sown as the force of the water can displace the seeds unevenly.
Thinly scatter the seed over the soil. Pour the seed into the palm then tap lightly with the other hand to distribute the seed evenly over the area of soil.
Use a rake to gently cover the seeds with soil.
Before you forget where the row is and what you’ve sown, place a label in the soil at one end.
Remember to water in dry spells
If you want your plants to germinate quickly you can put down a horticultural fleece over the soil – this helps retain the heat in the soil, and doubles up as protection from hungry seed-eating birds.
Planting Cosmos plug plants
*Just before planting thoroughly moisten the plugs. Water adding a weak solution of feed to put the plugs in good stead.
If planting straight outside without potting-on first, make sure they are in a sheltered or protected position. Sometimes plugs are vulnerable in exposed sites or where there are pests or pets.
Before planting your plug plants, thoroughly dig and add some granular fertiliser to the soil first. Doing this provides an easier environment for the young plants to establish their roots.
Dig an individual hole for each plug, deep and wide enough for the 'soil-part' of the plug (rootball). Water each planting hole and allow the water to soak away.
Use a dibber or pencil to push the plants out through the base of the plant tray to avoid damaging the plant.
Place the rootball in the hole, backfill the soil and gently firm down the area around the plant.