Description of the kosmeya plant, planting and growing in the open field, how to propagate it with your own hands, methods for solving problems arising during cultivation, curious notes, species and varieties.
Cosmos can often be found under a name similar to transliteration in Latin - Cosmos. The plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. The native area where it grows in nature falls on the territory of South and North America with a tropical and subtropical climate. There are almost 40 different species in the genus of botanists, with most of them found in Mexican lands. If we talk about the regions of Russia, then Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos bipinnatus) can grow as an invasive plant, along roadsides or even in garbage cans.
Among all the diversity in our latitudes, among gardeners, mainly only two species and their varietal variations are grown - the already mentioned Cosmos bipinnatus and Cosmos sulphureus.
|Family name||Compositae or Astral|
|Growth time||Perennial or annual|
|Growth form||Herbaceous curly|
|Reproduction methods||Seed and growing seedlings, tubers or cuttings|
|Period of transplanting to a flower bed||The end of May|
|Disembarkation rules||The distance between seedlings should be at least 0.3-0.4 m|
|Soil acidity values, pH||Neutral (6, 5-7) or slightly acidic (5-6)|
|Lighting degree||Solar flower bed with protection from draft and wind|
|Recommended humidity||Watering 1-2 times a week|
|Special Requirements||Easy to care for|
|Approximate plant height||0.5-1.5 m|
|Color of flowers||Snow white, yellow, pink, red and crimson|
|Inflorescence shape||Shield-shaped or paniculate, loose|
|Flowering period||From June to the first frost|
|Application in landscape design||Landscaping of borders and fences, the formation of flower beds, planting among vegetable beds, shelter with tall types of garden structures|
|USDA zone||5 and more|
This representative of the flora bears its scientific name thanks to the Greek word "kosmeo", which translates as "decoration". All due to the fact that the outlines of flowers served as an ornament to any flower garden. But besides this, there are the following synonyms - space and cosmos, Mexican aster and beauty, bloom.
All cosmos are characterized by a herbaceous form of growth, with shoots strongly branching along the entire length. Although in nature these plants have a long life cycle, in our latitudes they are cultivated as annual decorative flowering species. Stems are thin, measuring from 50 cm to one and a half meters in height. The entire surface of the stems is covered with a light green skin smooth to the touch, which is decorated with reddish stains. On the shoots, leaf plates unfold in opposite order, which provide openwork outlines. Together with the branches, the foliage forms a spreading semi-shrub, which is similar in appearance to green foam. The leaves are attached to the shoots with elongated petioles, while the segment of the leaf that adjoins the petiole can take on an elliptical or thin contour, with a pointed tip at the top. Therefore, the leaves of the cosmos resemble needles fluffy to the touch.
When the buds of the Mexican aster bloom, they really decorate the entire bush. Flowers appear from the beginning of summer days until the first frost. Usually, the top of the flowering stems is crowned with inflorescences in the form of scutes or panicles. Occasionally, such flowers are located singly. Flowers of the "beauty" are represented by inflorescences-baskets, like all representatives of the Astrov family. When opened, the flower reaches 6–12 cm in diameter. The inflorescences have a fluffy central part, made up of tubular flowers, of chocolate brown or almost black color. This heart-shaped part can take both flat outlines and in the form of a ball. Anthers towering above the core are characterized by a yellow or golden tint.
The entire central part can be surrounded by one or more rows of marginal (or as they are also called) reed flowers. Their color is very diverse, this includes golden yellow, snow-white, red, pink or purple tones. The petals in the rim can have splicing, forming a flat sail or form a solid funnel, which is more decorative.
Insects pollinate the flowers of the cosmos, after which the fruits, represented by dry achenes, with a lush crest, ripen. This will allow the wind to carry them long distances from the mother bush, thereby facilitating reproduction in natural conditions. Cosme seeds have a dark brown tint, and their germination capacity lasts for three years.
The plant is unpretentious and even a novice florist can cope with its cultivation, so you can decorate your garden with brightly colored inflorescences until autumn.
Planting cosmos and caring for it in the open field
- Choosing a landing site. Most of all, this "Mexican beauty" will suit a well-lit location with protection from draft and wind. This is due to the fact that strong gusts of wind can easily break off thin shoots. It is better that the place be free from stagnant moisture after precipitation.
- Priming for growing cosmeia it should be light, with good drainage properties. Its acidity indicators are selected in the pH range 5–7, that is, the soil is preferable to be neutral or slightly acidic. If the substrate is heavy, then a little river sand can be mixed into it. In the case of increased nutrient content of the soil, deciduous mass will build up, and flowering will be scarce.
- Landing cosme. Seedlings or tubers of plants are transplanted into open ground in the last week of May, when return frosts have passed and cannot harm young unadapted plants. Not a single species of space plant will be able to withstand negative temperatures, a sharp cold snap will destroy the seedlings. To carry out the planting of cosme seedlings, you need to prepare planting holes at a distance of 30–40 cm, depending on the height to which the shoots of the species or variety reach. After subsidence, the bushes of space are watered. If future plants with large stem parameters, then when planting in a hole, it is recommended to install supports, to which the shoots will then be tied. Sometimes the stakes are simply dug in, and rods or wire are pulled between them. After planting and when the plants have adapted, it is recommended to pinch the tops of the stems, which will stimulate their branching.
- Watering. Since the root system of the cosmos does not have the ability to retain moisture for a long time, it will be necessary to moisten the soil abundantly and often, especially on hot days. Then you will need to do 1-2 watering a week, while you need to use 4-5 buckets of water for each bush. After watering or rain, the soil will need to be loosened so that it is not taken by the crust, which will make it difficult for moisture and air to reach the roots. It is also necessary to periodically weed from weeds, as it will slow down the growth of not only young seedlings, but also adult specimens.
- Fertilizers for cosme. With the arrival of summer, it is necessary to feed the bushes with flowering stimulants. Such an operation is performed regularly 1-2 times every 30 days. You can use the drug "Bud" or "Master-Color". Foliar dressing can also be done by spraying the deciduous mass. Several times during the growing season, mineral fertilizers or organic matter are used, such preparations are, for example, superphosphate, rotted manure or "Agricola", but such funds will be needed in cases where the soil on the site is depleted.
- General advice on the care of cosme. To ensure long-term flowering, it is recommended to regularly cut the wilted flowers, which will be immediately replaced with new inflorescences.
- How to collect seeds. If you want to get plantings with bright flowers and a pleasant tart aroma in the spring, then several large buds are left for seed material to ripen. To prevent the seeds from spilling out onto the soil, gauze bags are put on the inflorescences. When the seeds are fully ripe, their color turns dark and they are ready to be harvested. Since kosmeya has the property of cross-pollination, plants grown from the collected seed material may be devoid of varietal characteristics, therefore it is recommended to purchase varietal seeds in specialized flower shops.
- Wintering cosmos possible only in the southern regions. Then the entire above-ground part of the plant to the very soil is cut off at the end of November, while only 10-15 cm from the root zone remain intact. A layer of dried foliage is poured on top, which is covered with spruce branches. As soon as spring comes and the snow completely melts, such a shelter will need to be removed so that the young sprouts of space are not exposed to damping. If the cultivation is carried out in areas with a colder climate, then in October the flower garden with plantings must be dug up, and all parts of the bush must be removed.
- The use of cosmos in landscape design. Usually, such plants are planted along fences and fences, as landscaping of borders, the formation of flower beds from different species and varieties with different colors of inflorescences. Space bushes can be used to frame trees, as well as plant between vegetable beds. Since the plant does not differ in aggressiveness, it is customary to combine it with garden chamomiles and mallows, gentle and majestic lilies and asters, geraniums and calendula will look good next to them, alissum, carnations and salvia or tender bells will become wonderful neighbors. Species and varieties with short shoots look great in garden containers, on balconies or in mixborders.
See also tips for growing Berlandier outdoors.
How to reproduce cosme with your own hands?
In our latitudes, the plant is used as an annual, therefore, only the seed propagation method is used. In this case, the seeds are sown both directly into the ground, and they are engaged in the cultivation of seedlings.
If the climate allows you to grow kosmeya as a perennial crop, then reproduction is carried out by cuttings or jigging nodules. Space tubers are dug out of the soil in the autumn, and they are separated. Then they are placed in boxes filled with wet sawdust and sent to storage throughout the winter months in the basement. With the arrival of spring, tubers are planted in a prepared place in the garden. When grafting, branches are cut from the tops of the shoots in the summer and planted in open ground. But mainly the seed propagation method is used.
- Sowing cosmos seeds in the ground. The best time for planting is the beginning of spring, as soon as the soil thaws, and you can work with it. For sowing, it is best to place the seed in the nests, which will contain 3-4 pieces of seeds. The distance between the holes is maintained at 30–40 cm. The seed placement should be no more than 1 cm, while they can simply be pressed with a board or slammed into the ground with the palm of your hand. The space bushes obtained in this way will delight with flowering already in the middle of summer or with the arrival of August. Sowing is also carried out before winter, when October-November comes (until the frost begins). The seeds will then undergo natural stratification and germinate with the arrival of spring heat. Then the seedlings will need to be thinned out so that future bushes are not thickened. Kosmeya can successfully reproduce by self-seeding.
- Growing seedlings of cosmos. Plants obtained in this way will be more robust, and the method is also famous for its reliability and flowering will begin a little earlier. The seeds are planted in planting boxes with a peat-sand mixture in March-April. The seeds are very sensitive, so they are carefully spread over the soil surface and slightly pressed. After the crops are sprayed from a spray bottle so that they do not move and are not washed away with a stream of water. The container with crops is placed in a warm place, where the heat indicators will be in the range of 18–20 degrees. A good level of lighting will also be required. Cosme seeds germinate quickly if all planting and care conditions have been met. So after a week or two you can see friendly seedlings. If the sprouts are located very close to each other, it is recommended to thin them out. They try to maintain the distance between the plants in the range of 10-15 cm. Often, instead of thinning the crops of space, the seedlings dive into separate small pots with a diameter of no more than 7-9 cm. The soil is used the same as when sowing seeds. It is recommended to take cups made of peat to facilitate subsequent transplantation. Young plants are planted in open ground only when their height reaches 6 cm and the weather is favorable.
Read also about the breeding of marigolds.
Methods for solving problems arising from the cultivation of cosmos
You can delight florists with the fact that for all the splendor of flowering, the cosmos plant has excellent immunity and is practically not attacked by harmful insects. However, when the bushes are too thickened or when they are still too young, the stems and leaves can gnaw snails or mucus. Such "uninvited guests" need to be collected by hand, some experts struggle with them, scattering crushed egg shells between the bushes. Chemicals, such as "Thunderstorm Meta", also help.
Read also how to protect dimorphoteka from diseases and pests
Curious notes about cosme
There is a story about how they learned about this ornamental plant in Europe and America. The ambassador of one of the European countries in Mexico became interested in the once bright and decorative flowers of the dwarf shrub and decided to please his wife with such an unusual representative of the flora. For this, researchers were sent to the Mexican expanses, who were instructed to bring the seeds and the plant itself. After that, the breeders started working on the possibility of growing cosmos on American and European lands.
But even decades after the successful cultivation of the Mexican aster as a garden flower, it remained a rarity among green space enthusiasts. After the wife of the ambassador divorced her husband, she took the "beauty" to America, where the plant was appreciated for its beauty and unpretentious care. After that, the demand for blooms increased not only among American gardeners, but also among their European colleagues, so the plant began to be actively delivered exclusively from Mexico.
Read also curious notes about calendula
Types of cosmos
Cosmos bipinnatusis a native of the southern regions of the North American continent. Quite a popular annual garden plant with thin leaf plates, which are somewhat like dill twigs. The color of the foliage is bright green, sometimes olive. The stems have strong branching, grow erect, reach 0.8–1.5 m in height. The upper parts of the shoots are dotted with inflorescences-baskets. Leaves with a double-pinnate dissection, resemble filamentous lobes, due to which an openwork look of foliage is created. Its color is rich bright green.
Inflorescences can be arranged singly or gather in loose panicles of corymbose outlines. In diameter, the inflorescence varies in the range of 7-10 cm. Each flower is crowned with a flowering stem, which resembles a thread in diameter. The central part of the flower with a bulge formed by large yellow stamens. The edge is decorated with a number of edge flowers, painted in snow-white, pink, red or purple colors. The shape of the petal is narrow-linear, the edge is rounded or wavy. Flowering is lush. The variety has been introduced into culture since the end of the 18th century (1799). The most popular varieties are:
- Purity or Puriti stems in diameter resemble threads, crowned with flowers with snow-white petals, which have a wide or triangular shape.
- Radiance or Radiance the owner of petals with a corrugated surface, having an expansion at the top, which forms an almost continuous circle. Near the central part, there is a spot on the petals that contrasts in color with the main background.
- Dazzler, when its inflorescences are just opening, then the color of the petals in them is of a rich red hue, but gradually it becomes crimson.
Kosmeya undersizedor Kosmeya dwarfwith a series Sonata, where the highly decorative variety is included Sonata Pink Blush which is characterized by the petals surrounding its core with a pink rim.
Sulfur-yellow kosmeya (Cosmos sulphureus)characterized by a special thermophilicity, since it comes from the heart of Mexico. The shoots of the plant are dense, with good branching at the top. They are covered by foliage with pinnately dissected outlines, but some of the leaf lobes are slightly widened. The color of the leaves is dark green. The height of the bush can reach one and a half meters. In the upper part of the shoots are grouped inflorescences-baskets of bright orange color, when fully expanded, the diameter of which is 5-6 cm. The core in the bush is higher and its location is more heap than in the previous species. It is composed of golden tubular flowers with dark brown anthers protruding above them. Ligulate flowers with a corrugated surface and a bright orange tint, their edge is wavy.
The fruit is an elongated achene colored black, gray, dark yellow or brown. Its shape is needle-shaped, its length is not more than 1 cm, there is a slight bend. Germination is not lost for 2–4 years. The most popular varieties are:
- Bilbo with characteristic semi-double flowers crowning half-meter-high stems, the color of the inflorescences is golden-orange.
- Diablo with inflorescences of a simple form, the marginal flowers in which are bright red.
- Crest Lemon with a stem height not exceeding 0.5 m. Inflorescences are bright, yellow-lemon shade.
Blood-red cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)The variety with the most unusual outlines, since the size of the inflorescences is larger, and the petals of the reed flowers in the inflorescences are painted in a maroon shade. Tubular flowers make up an almost black heart. The surface of the petals looks velvety as it is glossy rather than matte. When flowering, a pleasant chocolate aroma hovers over the subsidence. The foliage is located under the inflorescences, on the shoots, painted dark green, the shape of the leaf plates is pinnate.
The territories of Mexico are also considered her native lands. The plant is sometimes found under the name Cosmos black or Cosmos chocolate, all because of the color of the flowers and the sweet aroma. Since it is thermophilic, some gardeners transplant plants for the winter months in pots and keep them at home. Otherwise, you will need to carefully cover the bushes for the cold period of the year. Today, varieties with a double inflorescence are popular. You can also highlight the following:
- Brightness or Brightenscharacterized by a large number of flowers with a double structure and rich shades.
- Antiquity or Antiquity … It has a compact size and special decorative features, since after opening the inflorescences are characterized by the color of Burgundy wine, over time taking on salmon tones with a bronze sheen.
- Double Click Rose Bon Bon. The shape of the inflorescences is terry, the color is pink, can remain fresh for a long time in the cut.
Among the types popular today, stands out Terry kosmeya, although officially the plant has not been singled out as a separate group. The varieties loved by flower growers are:
- Ladybug or Ladybug, not exceeding 0.3 m in height, flowers of yellow, red or orange color, the inflorescences have semi-double outlines, the disclosure is about 7 cm.
- Sunny Gold or Sunny Gold, has a small size and emerald foliage. In the upper part, the shoots are covered with inflorescences-baskets with a bright yellow tint, the shape of the inflorescences is terry.
- The Pink Valley characterized by inflorescences of a pale pinkish shade, the diameter of which reaches 10 cm. Inflorescences are formed by several rows of reed flowers, the petals of which become smaller and smaller, approaching the central part.
See also types of coreopsis.