Growing Chocolate Cosmos in 7 Steps

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Chocolate cosmos is one of the rarest but most tantalizing varieties of the cosmos flower. The good news is tha it is a perennials, so once you find one you don't have to replace it every year. The bad news is that it doesn't throw fertile seeds, so this plant propagates by its roots. The flower is rare but the sweet, chocolaty scent this flower exudes, combined with it's soft, chocolaty, maroon petals makes it well worth the effort finding it.

Once you have found the chocolate cosmos of your dreams, what is next?

Step 1 - Container or Ground?

Chocolate cosmos will grow well in either the ground or in a container. The choice is mostly a personal one depending on where you want this flower to be located. Just keep in mind that your cosmos will want lots of sun (at least 6 hours a day), a minimum of water and nutrients (or you get lots of leaves and few flowers), and protection from frost.

Step 2 - Prepare the Soil

Cosmos plants like well-drained soil with some good organics. Raised flower beds are good if the flowers are planted in the ground. If you prefer to plant your chocolate cosmos in a pot, make sure the pot drains well.

Step 3 - Plant Your Cosmos

Dig a hole large enough to bury the root by several inches and place the plant in the hole. This depth will help protect your plant after the weather turns cold if you prefer to leave it in the ground all year.

Step 4 - Water

Too much water will cause the roots to rot. However, chocolate cosmos like moist soil, especially when establishing themselves. Keep the soil moist until you can see that your cosmos is growing well. If you don't get rain in your area, water the plant weekly. A single deep watering every week tends to work better than smaller regular waterings. This is a plant that originally grew in a dry area, so it's used to breaks between drinks.

Step 5 - Enjoy

Your cosmos should leaf out and start blooming within about 2 months after planting a root, sooner if you found a plant with leaves. An established chocolate cosmos will bloom from late spring until autumn. Before winter, the plant will die back to the root.

Step 6 - Winterizing a Chocolate Cosmos

If it's planted deep enough, a layer of mulch over your cosmos may be enough to protect it through the winter. If you aren't willing to trust to that, there are other options.

  • You can dig up the root each year, storing it in a pot or peat moss inside. Keep the root lightly moist to keep the plant healthy. Replant in the early spring.
  • If your cosmos is in a container, move the container inside your home or garage during the winter. Move the container back outside in the spring.

Step 7 - Propagation

Chocolate cosmoses propagate by branching off the main tuberous root. When the whole mass gets large enough, every few years, consider dividing up the root and replanting as several different plants.

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