Caring For Chocolate Cosmos Plants: Growing Chocolate Cosmos Flowers
Chocolate cosmos are one of the most popular flowers in the garden. They’re pretty, they bloom abundantly, and they make beautiful houseplants!
You might think that growing them would be easy; however, it’s not quite so simple. If you want your plants to grow big and strong like their namesake then you’ll need to give them plenty of water and fertilizer every now and again. But if you just want to have some cute little plants to decorate your home with, then you don’t really need all that much help.
Chocolate cosmos are actually part of the nightshade family (along with peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes). These vegetables contain substances called capsaicinoids which cause pain when exposed to heat or touch.
The chemical compounds are what gives these veggies their distinctive “heat” factor.
The chemicals work best when grown indoors in cool temperatures. However, they do well outdoors too, especially in warm climates where there isn’t a lot of direct sunlight.
So how do you get them outside?
Well, you could try growing them in containers. Or maybe you’d prefer to grow them out from seed. Either way, you can expect to have some pretty flowers.
If you want to start from seeds then it’s best to start them indoors around 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost in your area (or whenever you think it might be). You should put the seeds about 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep into the soil and keep the soil moist.
If the seeds get too dry they won’t germinate! You can start them either inside or outside. If you prefer to start them outside, then plant the seeds in a well drained soil and place them under a tree or some place that has shade.
Once your plants start to bloom, you can either let them self-seed or you might want to collect the seeds so that you can plant them again next year. The ripe pods should be dried out and ready to burst open when they’re ready to harvest.
Some people eat the seeds themselves while others just collect them to grow more plants. The flowers are edible too.
In fact, the entire plant is edible! The whole plant tastes like a cross between a green bean and a cucumber.
Chocolate cosmos are easy to thrive given the right care, so be sure to make some room for this tasty plant in your garden. Happy gardening!
(Article by Kelsey Freeman)
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Chocolate Cosmos Plant
Chocolate cosmos is a popular flower that’s native to South America. It’s also known as annual cosmos, Indian shot, and many other names.
For this article, we’ll just refer to it as the chocolate cosmos plant. It’s a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a colorful addition to their landscaping.
The name “chocolate cosmos plant” is probably a bit of a misnomer. While the entire plant isn’t that color, the coloring tends to be more on the purple/brown side of the color spectrum.
It’s almost like the flowers are dipped in chocolate hence the name.
The flowers are relatively small (1 1/2 to 3 inches across). They usually have an eye popping effect since they bloom in such large groups, and they bloom frequently.
The flowers bloom in July through September. After the blooming period is over, the plant produces pods that are about 2 inches long.
The pods themselves aren’t very decorative, so the plant isn’t really grown for that reason.
Instead, gardeners grow this plant because of its spectacular blooms. It’s an annual plant so it dies after it finishes blooming.
However, it leaves behind several seeds so you can collect them and plant them the next year.
The chocolate cosmos grows to be about 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. It’s relatively low maintenance as long as you water it every once in a while.
It does best in full sun but it can take partial shade as well.
It’s a native plant to subtropical areas, so it doesn’t mind the hot weather. It does best in USDA Zones 8 – 11.
If you live in a colder area, you can grow it as an annual. In fact, you might want to since the plant will die when the first frost hits your area.
The plant itself is relatively easy to grow from seed. You’ll get the best results if you start the seeds indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the last expected frost in your area.
However, you can also plant the seeds directly in your garden. Just press them into the soil about 1/4 inch deep and keep the soil moist.
Germination should occur within 10 to 20 days. The young plants should be ready to transplant into their permanent location within 8 to 10 weeks.
Transplant them 12 inches apart if you’re growing them in rows, or leave them in their own individual holes if you’re growing them in clusters.
The chocolate cosmos plants are great for attracting butterflies, bees, and birds. The young leaves are edible, and they taste a little like cabbage.
The seeds are also edible, and you can use them in all sorts of recipes.
The flowers can be used to make tea, and the pods can be used to make a chocolate substitute or ground into a powder that can be added to baked goods such as brownies and cakes. You should be able to find Chocolate Cosmos plants for sale at your local nursery or garden center.
When you get them home, you can plant them immediately in your garden.
If you can’t find the plants for sale locally, you can always buy seeds online and grow them yourself. In fact, growing from seed is the best way to ensure that you’re going to get a good crop of chocolate cosmos flowers.
If you want to guarantee that you’ll have a good bloom every year, you can always start your own Chocolate Cosmos plant from seed. It’s not difficult to do.
Many people find it surprising that they can grow their Chocolate Cosmos from seed since it’s sold as a potted plant at the store. The reason for this is that most places only sell them as plants because they don’t survive very long in their container once taken home.
If you do a bit of research on growing Chocolate Cosmos, you’ll find that they can be grown from seed quite successfully. They prefer warmer temperatures, so you won’t see them for sale in the cooler parts of the country where it might take a long time for them to get planted in the ground.
However, if you live in an area with a longer growing season, such as the Southwestern states, you can easily start your own plants from seed. You can start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost in your area.
Alternatively, you can sow them directly into the ground.
Planting them indoors means that you need to keep them relatively close to a window so they get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Transplant them into individual holes once they are large enough to handle, about 4 to 6 weeks after you plant the seeds.
If you plant them directly into the ground, let the seeds rest for about a week before you thin them out since not all of them will germinate.
You don’t need to do anything special when it comes to planting them in your garden. Just be sure to acclimate them to the outside environment by placing them outside during the day for a few hours at first and increasing the time each day until they are able to stay outside all night.
The average Chocolate Cosmos plant grows to be about 3 to 5 feet in height. It grows slowly in the beginning, but it really takes off during the peak of summer and fall.
The flowers are a pale pink with red and purple tips. The leaves are a dark green and serrated.
They are sometimes confused with the common cosmos since they do have similar flowers, but if you look at the leaves you can easily tell them apart.
If you want to try to create a new hybridized plant, you can perform cross-pollination. The easiest way to do it is to collect the pollen from one plant and apply it to the “wheel” part of another plant.
This could take a few tries to get right since you won’t always be able to tell if the plants are pollinated until they begin to wilt.
Sources & references used in this article:
Cosmos Plant Care Guide by R Milhem, F Allafi – auntiedogmasgardenspot.wordpress …
Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus), AKA Cosmos “Hot by WA Brush Prairie – 2010 – research-libraries-www.gz-booming …
Cosmos in the Garden by S Hansen, D Drost – 2013 – digitalcommons.usu.edu
The selection of a seed-bearing variety of Cosmos atrosanguineus (Hook.) Voss by RTM Poulter, M Butler – … Symposium on Ornamental Horticulture and XI …, 2018 – actahort.org