Are Cosmos Perennials?

People often ask us, “Are cosmos perennials?” The answer is yes and no. Here’s what you need to know about these beautiful flowers.

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What are Cosmos?

Cosmos are a genus of annual and perennial plants in the sunflower family. They are native to Mexico and Central America, and widely grown as ornamental plants in other regions. The genus comprises about 26 species, though some maintain that there are as many as 20 species and about 130 varieties.

What is the difference between annuals and perennials?

Annuals live for one season and then die, while perennials come back year after year. Many people think of annuals as flowering plants, such as impatiens and petunias, and of perennials as plants that mainly have foliage, such as hostas and daylilies. But there are many exceptions: Some annuals have foliage that is attractive throughout the growing season, such as coleus; some perennials have flowers that last only a few weeks, such as Oriental poppies.

Most cosmos (Cosmos spp.) are annuals, although there are a few perennial varieties, such as ‘Sonata Series,’ ‘Sensation Series’ and the chocolate-scented ‘Xanthos’. If you want to grow cosmos as annuals, plant them from seed in spring after all danger of frost has passed. You also can purchase seedlings at nurseries and transplant them to your garden. Perennial varieties usually are started from seedlings.

Are Cosmos annuals or perennials?

Most people think of Cosmos as annuals, but they can actually be either annuals or perennials, depending on the variety. The popular Cosmos sulphureus, or sulfur cosmos, is an annual, while the Cosmos bipinnatus, or garden cosmos, is a perennial.

How to care for Cosmos

A cosmos is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for flowering plant that blooms all summer long. Although they are often thought of as annuals, cosmos can actually be either annuals or perennials, depending on the species. Here are a few tips on how to care for your cosmos plants:

Cosmos plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. If you live in an area with hot summers, Cosmos plants will appreciate a little afternoon shade.

Water your cosmos plants regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Cosmos plants are drought tolerant, so you don’t need to worry about them if you forget to water them occasionally.

Deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage new blooms. You can also cut back the plants by about half in mid-summer to encourage fresh growth.

Cosmos plants are generally pest and disease free. If you notice any problems with your plants, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth, consult a gardening expert to diagnose the problem and find a solution.

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