Cosmos is my favorite garden flower. It is low maintenance and easy to grow. The color varieties include orange, yellow, lemon yellow, pink, purple and white. Cosmos flower have various forms such as single layer, double layer, with stripes and cone shape. There is also a variety with smell of chocolate.
I started with the orange variety by sowing the seeds in a mixture of soil and coco peat in a small medium sized container. The container received the sun light most of the day. Within a span 3-4 days the seedling emerged. Since this was my first experiment with cosmos I did not transplant the seedling and instead left it in container. Few of them emerged stronger and in about 8 weeks they flowered and continued for a month or so. The first step in Cosmos propagation was successful. But I was not very impressed by the number of flowers or the size of it.
It was time for some serious reading about Cosmos. Internet has so much information about cosmos and researching through them I realized that the Cosmos needs full sun, not much fertile soil and minimum watering. I specifically liked reading through the following two websites.
I decided to wait till the winter pass. By first week of February I started my third cycle of Cosmos experimentation. This time, I selected seeds of Orange, Yellow and Lemon Yellow colored varieties. Also I planned to directly sow it in my corner garden instead of the containers. Prepared the soil by tilling lightly, mixed red soil and then thinly layered coco peat. I had read somewhere that when seeds are directly sown in the soil, it is better to mark the location of the seed using small rolls of paper or cardboard around them. This way you easily water the proper location and also identify the seedling from other weeds and plants around.
Very excited, I now longed for some new varieties of the Cosmos. I contacted one of my friends who was in US and was about to return to India in June. Though I order several varieties, only the following two were in stock - Cosmos Candy Stripe and Cosmos Sea Shells Blend. Not only these seeds were costly (compare to prices in India) but also very few in quantity. I was not very sure if they would grow at all in Bangalore. I sowed them in container with coco peat and soil mix. I was pleasantly amused when the seedling emerged after few days and started growing fine.
Meanwhile the worthy Orange variety has self-seeded and is competing with its US counterparts. I had also strewn some seeds in a small patch, under a tree, in front of my house. And they too are now flowering.
Before I finish this post, I would like to share something I discovered while researching about cosmos. In some parks of Japan they grow Cosmos on enormous fields every autumn and it is called Cosmos Festival. The sight is breathtaking and for a fan of Cosmos like me, it is a dream to visit the place.