Hello there, what a difference a few days make, we’re into September & doesn’t it it feel like there’s been a big shift in the seasons?
It’s probably because the school holidays are at an end & the shops are full of warm clothing, but although the days are shorter, the weather is being kind here so I’m not ready to leave summer behind just yet.
I’ve decided to start a ‘plant of the month’ post & share a really good plant with you at the beginning of every month. It may be an unusual one, or one that’s around so much that it’s easy to take it for granted.
Cosmos is definitely one of those plants that I forget about, then I see it everywhere & I wish I’d gown more. This year I haven’t grown any at all, mainly because I haven’t had a greenhouse for 18 months, but that’s all changing very soon.
Me & the husband were at Wisley a few days ago & had a look at all the wonderful Cosmos being grown there on The Trials Field. A big range have been grown & will be compared over time by the experts there to see how they perform, the best are given an A.G.M. (Award of Garden Merit) when the trial is over. It was lovely to see so many different types of Cosmos with their pretty colours & soft, ferny foliage.
Apart from looking lovely, Cosmos is easy to grow from seed, they flower for weeks on end, pollinators love the flowers & it’s a great cut flower.
How to grow Cosmos from seed:
They’re originally from Mexico, so they’re a bit tender & not exactly designed for a British climate, but don’t let that put you off, because with a bit of care to get them going, ideally in a green-house or light-filled window-sill, they’re easy to grow.
- I sow the seed into a seed-tray that’s been filled with damp multi-purpose compost, it needs light to germinate so only the lightest covering of fine compost is necessary.
- Cover the tray with damp newspaper & check daily, whip the paper off when the seeds start to come through because they’ll need the light to grow.
- They need transplanting to their own 4 in/ 10cm pot of compost when they have about 3 or 4 pairs of leaves.
- I plant them out in the garden at the end of May, when all risk of frost has gone.
It’s best to sow the seed in mid-April, any earlier & they’ll be hanging around waiting to be planted outside & getting all lanky in the process. As well as being a very cheap way of getting lots of plants, growing from seed also gives you a much bigger choice of type & colour.
If this seems like a bit of a bother or you don’t have a greenhouse they can be bought as seedling or plug-plants, these are little plants that have been started for you. If none of this appeals, they can also be bought as plants from garden-centres.
all photos: Jill Anderson