Cosmos is an annual that you can plant directly in your garden anytime in June and still get blossoms before the growing season ends. They produce abundant daisy-shaped flowers on stalks that range – depending on variety – from 1 to 5 feet tall.

In Maine cosmos require full sun, and the taller varieties will need protection from wind or they may blow over. Although the recommendation is to put seedlings two feet apart, it’s better to plant seeds much more densely and then thin them out once the seeds have sprouted. Also, when the taller varieties are planted closer together, they help support each other against the wind.

While cosmos seeds sprout and grow quickly, they don’t bloom profusely until late summer, when daylight starts to decrease. They come in white, yellow, orange, pink and rosy purple, with single or double blossoms, and are often sold as a mix.

Cosmos do well both in the garden and in pots. They prefer neutral or slightly alkaline soil; don’t fertilize them because if the soil is too rich, the flowers will have taller, weaker stems.

While you should water them shortly after you plant them, once they are established, the plants will withstand drought.

Deadheading will extend the blossoms, which means that when you cut flowers to bring them inside for a bouquet that actually helps bring more blossoms in the garden.