Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Cosmos is a favorite for summer floral arrangements. Several new varieties are being introduced in 2010.
For 2010 Reneeís Garden is offering a luscious new cosmos that is perfect for cutting gardens. Double Cosmos Rose Bon Bon has beautifully double flowers with frilly petals. These are a lovely shade of rose-pink, and are three inches across. Rose Bon Bon blooms throughout the growing season. The stems are four feet in height.
Thompson and Morgan is offering seeds of a richly double white cosmos that lives up to its name. Double Click Snow Puff is fully double with frilly petals. One of the pom-pom types, these are white with a very slight blush of pink. The centers are rich yellow. The strong, sturdy stems reach two to three feet in height. It is free flowering from mid to late summer. This received a Fleuroselect Novelty Award due to its unique color.
Thompson and Morgan is also offering seeds of Sweet Sixteen cosmos, which makes a great cut flower. While the outer petals are single, the inner double ones form a ruffle around the yellow centers. The petals are pink with deep pink edges. The distinctive coloring is probably due to the parentage for one of the varietyís parents was Candy Stripe. These plants are medium height, around three feet tall. They have good sturdy stems.
Cosmos Rubenza has been named as Thompson and Morganís Flower of the Year for 2010. This also received a Fleuroselect Novelty Award due to the unique coloring. This is unique for the deep red petals surrounding the yellow centers. The stems reach three feet in height.
The stems of the cosmos should be harvested as soon as the first petals are open but before they have begun to flatten out. Cosmos are used as a small filler flower and to add mass to small floral designs. They have a vase life of about a week. Cosmos can also be used as an everlasting. When drying, wait until all the petals are fully open before harvesting.
It is best to direct sow cosmos seeds where they are to grow. If necessary to start them indoors, do this around five weeks before the last expected frost date. At 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes about one to two weeks for the seeds to sprout. In the cutting garden, cosmos needs full sun. They will thrive in almost any soil.