What is a Cosmos Flower?
Cosmos is a bright and beautiful flower that is native to Mexico and Central America. It’s part of the Asteraceae family and is classified under the genus Cosmos. A number of its members are cultivated for ornamental use, including Cosmos bipinnatus and Cosmos sulphureus, both of which are popular garden plants. The Cosmos flower has several bright shades, from white to dark red, making them an eye-catching addition to any garden.
What Does a Cosmos Flower Look Like?
A Cosmos flower is quite large, with a blossom that features a long row of pointed petals which radiate outwards. The petals are usually one to two inches wide and are arranged symmetrically around a cone, or center disc. The color can range from white all the way to deep reds and purples, with some variegated types having striped petals or two-tone petals. The flowers are also quite fragrant, with some varieties having a faint, sweet scent.
Where Can You Find a Cosmos Flower?
The Cosmos flower is native to Mexico, though it has naturalized in parts of the United States, including the southwest, the lower Midwest, and the Southeast. It can also be found in Central America and parts of South America. It’s a somewhat hardy plant, thriving in nearly any dry, sunny location, and can even survive in desert and beach areas.
What Are the Uses of Cosmos Flowers?
In addition to its ornamental value in the garden, the Cosmos flower also has many other uses, both in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes. The petals can be steeped in hot water to make a fragrant tea, and the flowers can also be candied and used as a colorful, edible garnish on desserts. The cooked seeds are also edible, and can be served like grains or included in salads and other dishes.
Medicinally, the Cosmos is often used in Mexican traditional healing. The flowers are believed to have slight sedative effects, and they’re also thought to enhance mental clarity. The petals can also be crushed and added to a topical salve to treat dermatitis, boils, and other skin irritations.
How to Plant and Maintain a Cosmos Flower?
Cosmos is a very low maintenance flower, and it’s easy to grow from seed. The seeds should be sown directly into the soil in a sunny spot, once the last spring frost has passed. The flowers should be spaced about 8 inches apart and should be watered lightly but regularly.
The flower should be deadheaded to encourage more blooms, and will benefit from an occasional feeding of liquid fertilizer. Regular weeding is also important, as Cosmos flowers don’t compete well with weeds. If the flower is grown in a container, it should be fertilized more often, and any dead leaves should be trimmed off.
How to Attract Wildlife with Cosmos Flowers?
As well as brightening up a garden, Cosmos flowers can attract a variety of wildlife, such as butterflies and hummingbirds. This is a good thing, not only because it will beautify the garden, but it can help pollinate the Cosmos flowers, too. To attract even more wildlife, be sure to plant a variety of colorful flowers, as well as providing a shallow bird bath and various types of seed feeders.
The bright and beautiful Cosmos flower is a popular garden plant, and it’s easy to see why. It has a wide range of colors, from white all the way to dark red, and its petals are often fragrant. Not only does it make a wonderful ornamental addition to any garden, but it’s also useful in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes. It’s a surprisingly low maintenance flower, and it will attract a variety of wildlife, too.
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