By Penny Ossowski
Add a splash of colour to fill those little bare spots in your garden, plant some cosmos, do it once and you’ll always have a garden full of colour. Cosmos originated in Mexico when Spanish priests grew them in their mission gardens, the evenly placed petals led them to christen the flower “Cosmos”, the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe.
One of those plants you can remember from childhood they grew almost anywhere. Cosmos are adaptable to most soils, preferring a pH between 6.0 to 8.5, full sun and some moisture for germination otherwise they are drought tolerant, flowering best without too much fertiliser and water and relatively free from insect and disease problems. The best way to plant them is to just shake, scatter and sow the seed into garden beds. Seedlings don’t transplant well. The plants will flower continuously throughout the warmer months and respond well to pruning, even cutting back by up to one third to remove seeds and encourage more flowers. Cosmos will self seed to the extent of almost becoming a weed but seedlings can be easily removed if they become a nuisance.