Plant of the Week

Let me introduce you to a favorite plant in my Northwest Indiana garden, zone 5. The map at right will help you understand your area's zone number. See the links below the maps for moon phases, sunrise, and sunset information.

Cosmos 'Sensation' Mixed Colors

Photo courtesy of

Cosmos 'Sensation Mix' has large, single flowers in lavender, pink, magenta and white, 3-4" across, with a yellow center that bloom from midsummer on. Easily grown, it adds a soft, airy touch to backgrounds, borders and bouquets, with seed heads that attract birds. Cosmos tolerates poor soil, drought (once established) and hot, humid conditions. In full sun, the height is 36-48 inches, with a spread 12-14 inches. This annual is best used in borders, containers, or as a cut flower. Direct sow the seeds in average soil in full sun to part shade after danger of heavy frost. Select a location with good rich, well-drained organic soil protected from wind. Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, which can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost and help retain soil moisture and even soil temperatures. Remember to keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot. Keep soil evenly moist but not wet. Tall cultivars may need staking to prevent their thick, hollow stems from breaking due to heavy rain or wind. Pinch off spent flowers to encourage continuous bloom. Pinching stem tips can reduce height and encourage branching but really isn’t necessary. Deadheading is recommended since it lengthens the bloom season. Cosmos plants that aren’t deadheaded will self-sow in warm regions. Remove plants after they are killed by heavy frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year. Because cosmos is easy to grow and the seeds are large and easy to handle, it is a good choice for a children’s garden.

Check out this 2018 schedule for flower and garden shows around the country:

March 19 - May 28
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Epcot Center
Orlando, FL

March 23 - 25
Boise Flower & Garden Show
Boise Centre
Boise, ID

March 23 - 25
Capital District Garden & Flower Show
Hudson Valley Community College
Troy, NY

April 4 - 8
San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
Cow Palace
Daly City, CA

April 5 - 8
Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show
Rhode Island Convention Center
Providence, RI

April 6 - 8
Central Kentucky Home, Garden & Flower Show
Lexington Center
Lexington, KY

June 22 - 24
Newport Flower Show
Newport, RI

This page is updated weekly.

Revised:  March 19, 2018