Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I’m very taken with Cosmos ‘Apricotta’, what a beauty. Well I love Cosmos full stop but this one is a bit different. How to describe the colour…. well its peachy, its pinky and it seems to shimmer especially if back lit by the sun. Bit melodramatic, well maybe, but give it a try for yourself. We now have it in the Higgledy Garden shop!
It joins our other other beauties Cosmos ‘Sensation’ a zingy mix of reds, pinks and white with big daisy flowers and fabulous filigree foliage, Cosmos ‘Purity’, that classic cool tall white form that is truly hard to beat and the jaunty Cosmos ‘Fizzy Rose’ with semi-double pinky-white flowers edged in deep pink. A bunch of mixed Cosmos in a vase is pretty hard to beat in my opinion.
Cosmos are such easy annuals the only thing you really need to be aware of is that they are half hardy annuals which means they need some protection from frosts. They all need very similar growing conditions. You don’t need any fancy equipment just a sunny windowsill but the key is not to start too early, they are super quick to germinate often within days and they can get growing very quickly. So I don’t start till early to mid April, I have a greenhouse to give them a bit of protection. They will need pricking out and potting on and can’t be planted till after the risk of frosts has passed so do factor this in when you think about sowing. Or you can just have patience and sow them after the frosts have passed and again they will germinate quickly in the spring warmth and will flower a bit later than the others.
They have long thin black seeds which are nice and easy to sow. I just grow a few plants of each variety as I don’t have a big garden so I just sow a few seeds in a 9cm pot, cover lightly with compost and put on my windowsill. They will nearly all germinate and then once they have developed a second set of leaves I prick them out individually into 9cm pots. If you have room you can sow directly in 9cm pot. Just find the best way for you.
I grow mine on till they are a reasonable size so that they are good sturdy plants before I plant them out. This gives them a better chance against any slugs or snails that might be hanging about. Another good tip is to pinch them out when they get to about 30cm, removing the top couple of leaves. This encourages them to branch out and you get even more flowers for your money!
They can get quite tall plants especially ‘Purity’ so its a good idea to give them a bit of support either by growing through jute netting or with some canes. They really are prolific flowers and so just keep cutting them and they will keep flowering. Deadhead any that you might miss. I’ve heard tales that they self seed in some people’s gardens but I’ve never been so lucky. The foliage is gorgeous too adding real froth to your bouquets.
Do you still need convincing, well one more thing, bees and other pollinators love them. That big single flower is a classic form to encourage pollinators into your garden. The bright yellow centre is full of pollen. The only thing to be aware of is that they don’t last as long as a cutflower once pollinated so for the longest vase life bear that in mind and pick just as the flowers are opening. But to be honest that doesn’t bother me there is usually so many to cut and coming on that I don’t really think about it.
Here in a jam jar posy with the beautiful Canterbury Bells and Amberboa muricata.
It also went beautifully with more russet tones of sunflowers like ‘Red Sun’ and ‘Ruby Eclipse’, with Ammi visnaga, Rudbeckia ‘Sahara’, Nicotiana ‘Sensation’, Panicum ‘Sprinkles’ and more Cosmos ‘Purity’ and Phlox ‘Creme Brulee‘.
So how about giving Cosmos ‘Apricotta’ a try this year.