You know that time of year when the daylight gets shorter and summer starts to become a memory? You long for those beautiful summery sunshiny days. When the temperature is warm, the sky is the purest blue, and the breeze is just right. It is a time of year when everything feels so alive. Nature has a way of painting our world with colors that conjure up those sunshiny days. Colors such as yellows, oranges, and reds ignite our soul with their vivid warmth. This warmth is harnessed by our eyes and the experience it provides wraps us up in that dreamy, velvety, comforting feeling of summer. On a recent walk, I came across a vision like this. Its intensity was such a welcome surprise. Radiating like a sunset off the southern California coast, let yourself bask in the voluptuous vision of Cosmos sulphureus. The ray-like petals of its flowers radiate an electrifying energy that sends me into a state of euphoria!
Cosmos sulphureus comes to us from Mexico. It is an outstanding annual plant that produces fashionable fern-like foliage and an explosion of dynamic daisy-like flowers from summer through autumn. Cosmos sulphureus can grow up to 6 feet tall and spread 2 to 3 feet wide. Its form is somewhat upright, wild, and bushy. When it finishes flowering it produces nifty starburst-like clusters of slender seeds. Both flowers and seeds make strikingly sublime elements as cut flowers.
Cosmos sulphureus likes full sun, well-draining, average soil, and regular to low water. In the right conditions, it can self seed. Otherwise, seed collected from spent flower heads can be started indoors in spring or planted loosely in soil a few weeks before the last frost. Flower color can range from vibrant yellow, intense orange, rich red, or a combination of the three. No matter the color, to see this plant full of its effervescently engaging flowers is simply beautiful. It will remind you of all the warmth and comfort of a summer sun.