Like Coreopsis, Cosmos is a very showy daisy flower that is popular in gardens but tends to escape as a weed. Although there are 20 known species of Cosmos, two annual species, Cosmos bipinnatus, and to a lesser extent, C. sulphureus are used as cut flowers. C. bipinnatus flowers are large, up to 8 cm in diameter, and come as solitary (one per stem) red, white, pink or purple flowers, all with prominent yellow centres. Leaves are very fine and fern-like. New garden varieties, which can also be used as cut flowers, are striped, bicoloured or have dark petal tips, such as the ‘Seashell Cosmos’. There is also a ‘chocolate’ C. bipinnatus, which is brown and is said to smell like chocolate. The flower colours of C. sulphureus are always shades of yellow, orange or red.
Cosmos are picked from plantations or bush-picked. Most are grown in NSW or Victoria
What to look for
- Buy when one or two flowers in a bunch are fully open;
- Flower centres should be open, but not producing pollen;
- Avoid bunches with yellow leaves, or with dried, curled leaf tips.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem and wash thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Always use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every 2 to 3 days.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
Spanish priests grew Cosmos in their mission gardens in Mexico. The evenly placed petals led them to christen the flower “Cosmos,” the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe.
In the Language of Flowers, Cosmos means ‘peaceful’.
Botanical Name: Cosmos bipinnatus
Common Names: Cosmos, Mexican Aster
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: Tropical USA, Mexico
Available Colours: Brown, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow