Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Picotee'
I grow Cosmos from seed every year. I spread it in some of the borders, as well as in front of the bed where I grow Dahlias. I usually lean toward the shorter types for this spot. This year I got a ‘Growers’ packet of 'Pictoee' and spread it in front of the Dahlias. I find the Cosmos help hide the sometimes ratty looking bottoms of the Dahlias. The foliage is almost a complete opposite of the coarse Dahlia foliage, but it seems to work. I couldn’t resist mixing in a few ‘Ladybird’ Cosmos sulphureus and that looks okay, as they are a little shorter. To finish the front of the bed, I used Striped Marigold and Sweet Alyssum. All of them direct seeded.
‘Pictoee’ is very nice. There is some variation among the flowers. For the most part, they are white with a red edge. This particular flower is much more red than the others. Luckily I had pinched the plants a couple of times early on so they have not gotten too tall.
Cosmos originates in Mexico. There are about 20 species in the genus, but I am only familiar with the two popular ones. They are a wonderful plant for tough conditions. They bloom well in lean soil and don’t ask for too much water. I usually cut them back pretty hard in late summer and enjoy another wave of blooms. The flowers are good for cutting and drying.