Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Cosmos Flower

It is now almost close a year since I acquired garden space. With Bangalore losing its green cover and turning increasingly into a concrete nightmare, I realize that I'm among a privileged few to have a few square feet of earth at my disposal - esp in an apartment building.

Cosmos skyscraper
My Cosmos Skyscraper - photoshopped, see original below

I believe that Mother Nature is the best gardener and usually does fine on her own with a little occasional help from me. ( Ok, so I admit, I am a lazy gardener )

Given my non-intensive gardening intentions, I carefully selected hardy plants that flower, look good, propagate themselves and need little or no care (No care is preferred). I have in due course obtained from various sources around 20+ different plants (flowering and non-flowering)

Yellow Cosmos
Yellow Cosmos, one early morning

I am starting what I like to call the Lazy gardener series. Every post will feature a plant I have in the garden, and info I have on it collated from various sources with citations. In this feature, the Cosmos flower.

No doubt among the most cheerful flowers in our garden. I have 2 colors (yellow and orange) I began with 4 seeds from my Mom. I now have a small cosmos jungle ( self propagation - o joy! )

Cosmos Orange
Orange variety
Original cosmos skyscraper
Original Photo

Some things you may not know about the Cosmos :

Scientific name: Cosmos sulphureus
Cosmos are native to Central America and Mexico.
They have brightly colored single or double flowers. Colours include white, pink, orange, yellow and scarlet.

So, they look good, but can you eat them? Yes! In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

Growing Cosmos:

Cosmos plants prefer full sun to partial shade. They will do well in both average and poor soils. They are tolerant to dry soil conditions.
They grow quickly to a height of 4-5 feet - the tallest among mine are just about a foot high.Taller plants may require staking. (this means they need support) Insects and disease problems are very rare for Cosmos - I can vouch for that!


They have long slender seeds about 1.5 cm long. They spring up rather rapidly and while they are small seedlings, look very similar to marigold plants.

Flower Power: Cosmos Army
Uncontrolled growth can lead to this :)

For various varieties:


Flower Photography:

While I had tried several times to photograph my plants, I usually was met with little (read no) success. I often gave up with a "No camera can capture the true beauty of my garden".
Until recently, I did a little reading up on flower photography and decided to try some simple steps. These yielded the photos seen here.

In particular I liked Marion Owen's tips :


anoop said...


yeah, sunny day bad for flower photography, i can vouch for that.

Shobha Kamath said...

Oh! I am so glad that you have added gardening (flowers) to your blog. It will make my search for the flower names etc a lot easier !!

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Unknown said...

Please do not post ads here, they will be removed at once. I don't want to have to resort to moderated comments.

Unknown said...

they certainly are beautiful...i live in a house surrounded by orange cosmos...n when i get up in the morning n look out of the window the view is awesome...

Unknown said...

Hello Rohini, I subscribed to your blogs awhile ago especially after seeing wonderful travelogues. Today I chanced upon this post about Cosmos. They are my favorite flowers.
I experimented with them for over an year. You can see the results here.

I have seeds of some other varieties too - I can send it across to you if you like.

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