I never considered the cosmos a jewel in the garden, but they have drawn more compliments than any other flowering plant. I believe it is their height, easily seen along the front sidewalk and creating a small enclosure on one side, and their numerous red and yellow blossoms that neighbors find appealing. Flowers held above the foliage also help them get noticed.
They start out with lush fern-like leaves and small red flowers containing yellow centers. After a few weeks, the flowers become more numerous. A few more weeks, and the flowers start to become smaller. At this time, it becomes impossible to keep up with beheading the spent dead blossoms and seeds start to form. In the fall, the leaves begin to slowly turn duller green and eventually brown, and fewer and smaller flowers appear. Cutting them back at this time will produce a short burst of fresh new greenery and flowers, but this doesn't last long.
They seldom stray from their bright red color. Once in a while, a hint of yellow or light orange shows up, but the red is fairly consistent. Stems are sturdy and support each other, especially when they are crowded. They are mentioned as cut flowers, but be warned that petals begin falling off after three days. They are not house-broken and love to drop pollen, too.
For The Record:
Light granular organic fertilizer in spring
Color & number of flowers get ooo's & aah's
Blooming: calendula, purple & silver salvia, nicotiana, monarda, cosmos,
daylillies, hostas, liatris
Tomatoes - golf ball size