Cosmos bipinnatus loves a Colorado summer.
This summer my front yard’s main flower bed took on the appearance of an untended cottage garden, mainly due to the cosmos I let take over all along the driveway.
Cosmos (cosmos bipinnatus), a native to Mexico and the southern states, are a happy annual that readily reseed here in Colorado. From just a few plants I purchased in 2009 to fill in the empty bed, I now have a mini-meadow. The plants from seed take longer to bloom, appearing in late July or early August.
If you like pollinators, the bees and butterflies love this plant.
This fall I plan to gather the seeds and plant them in a more structured fashion next year. I love my cosmos, but not the meadow affect on only one side of the bed. If I had a meadow they would be sure to be a large part of the landscape!
The seed should be collected after the petals fall and the seed heads are a dark brown or black. You want to make sure to collect the seeds when the heads are dry to keep the stored seeds from molding.
I plan to seperate out each color of cosmos so I can create my own mosaic but many gardeners collect them in a bunch and leave the combinations to random. Since I am going for a more manicured look, I want to be sure the lower growing cosmos in a darker pink stay in front and the pretty lighter pinks and whites can mix in behind.
STORING THE SEEDS
To ensure the seeds are properly dried, store the seeds in a card board box in a dark cool place. You can shake the box now and then to ensure all sides have exposure to air. Check your seeds in about 6 weeks, and transfer to a plastic bag.
I have read you can store cosmos seeds up to 6 months. I will be sowing mine in early May.
Cosmos are not too fussy when it comes to sowing. You can spread them over the ground and apply 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. Then lightly water. The cosmos should begin germinating in about 10 days.
More about Cosmos here