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Cosmos bipinnatus cvs.

Cosmos bipinnatus cvs. Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

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Botanical Name: Cosmos bipinnatus cvs. KOZ-mose by-pin-AY-tus Genus: Cosmos
Cosmos are branching annuals with ferny foliage and pink, crimson, or white flowers that work well in the back of a border. Although introduced in 1799, cosmos did not beome popular for the garden or as the subject of breeding efforts until the early 1900s. The rest is now history. The variety 'Sensation' won the All-American Selection Award of Merit in 1936 for its clear colors of pink and white, on early-blooming, 3- to 4-foot-tall plants. 'Purity' is the glistening white form of cosmos in the 'Sensation' series. 'Sea Shells' has quilled florets. The Sonata Series cultivars are dwarf plants only growing to about a foot or two tall.
Noteworthy characteristics: Old-fashioned, reliable annual with pretty flowers and ferny foliage. Easy from seed.
Care: Full sun and moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Deadhead, but leave a few flowerheads to self-seed if desired. May need staking.
Propagation: Sow seed at 61°F in mid-spring, or sow in situ in late spring.
Problems: Stem canker, powdery mildew, Rhizoctonia stem rot, and sometimes gray mold, can cause problems. Aphids also occur.
Height 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Full Sun Only
Moisture Dry to Medium
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Attracts Butterflies; Self Seeds; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage
Bloom Time Early Fall; Early Summer; Fall; Late Summer; Summer
Flower Color Pink Flower; White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Cut Flower, Screening
Style Cottage Garden
Seasonal Interest Summer Interest
Type Annuals

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This unique annual produces quilled blossoms of hollow, tube-shaped petals that radiate from the center in shades of white, pink, or carmine red. The flowers, which bloom all summer long, sometimes have bicolored interior and exterior tubes. 

Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sensation Series' Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sensation Series'
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This series of annuals produces extra large, cup-shaped blossoms to 3-1/2 inches across in shades of white or pink all summer long. 

Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sonata Dwarf Mix' Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sonata Dwarf Mix'
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This upright, 30-inch-tall, bushy annual cloaks itself all summer in purple blossoms up to 2 inches across. But more important, it is the forebear of scores of varieties that can be found in almost any place you can buy seeds. There's the Whirligig Series, the California Giants, the Profusion Series, the State Fair Series—the list goes on and on.