The splendor of flowers and the variety of colors of this plant species, which comes from the south of America, is legendary. Decorative baskets have been an integral part of many ornamental gardens for years, and are decorative and easy to care for at the same time. One of the most prominent, positive traits of these composites is that they thrive without problems in dry and nutrient-poor soils.

Substrate and location

The distinctive floral splendor of the decorative basket only unfolds in full sun. Even in light partial shade, the plants do not develop enough flower buds and their growth is visibly reduced. Cosmos species need a rather poor, well-drained substrate. The herbaceous ornamental plants can also cope with neutral or slightly alkaline soils.

Watering and fertilizing

The jewelry basket is very frugal when it comes to its supply of water and nutrients. A short dry phase does hardly any harm to the plant, but you should still water the daisy family with enough water on particularly hot summer days. Like many other garden plants, the Cosmea is also sensitive to waterlogging. With a deep, permeable substrate, excess water can drain away unhindered. Small stones also loosen the soil.

Cosmos bipinnatus is a survivor and often sprouts in the most unusual places in the garden when it is sown independently. The plant can only be found on poor to nutrient-poor soils. There is no need to add compost or add nutrients during the flowering period.

Tip: A high proportion of lime in the water does not damage the jewelry basket.


The warmth-loving Cosmea often blooms well into autumn, but is extremely sensitive to frosty temperatures. Decorative baskets are only cultivated once a year, so special protection in the cold season or winter quarters is not necessary. Only collect the seed pods in good time before you dispose of the ornamental plant on the compost.


Ornamental baskets belong to the variety of ornamental plants that like to sow themselves uncontrollably through seeds. It is therefore not uncommon for you to discover young plants at the old Cosmea planting site in the following year. But of course you can also use the collected or purchased seeds to propagate the daisy family yourself.
You should prefer the decorative plants on the sunny windowsill as early as the beginning of April. Have the following materials ready:

  • Cultivation vessel
  • nutrient-poor substrate
  • Transparent film
  • Seed of the jewelry basket

Even during germination, the sprouts react sensitively to soil rich in humus. If you do not want to use a special substrate for cultivation, you can also use soil containing sand. Sowing is relatively easy: evenly sprinkle the fine seeds into the prepared container and lightly cover them with substrate. In order to enrich the soil with the necessary moisture, you should use a water atomizer. A watering can would only lead to unwanted washing away of the soil and the seeds in it.
Increase the humidity by perforating the transparent film and covering the vessel opening with it. However, to avoid mold growth, remove the cover for two to three hours a day. The substrate must always be kept moderately moist during the entire period. After about 10-14 days the first seedlings will appear and the film will be removed. Separate the young plants from a size of about 10 centimeters.


If decorative baskets are preferred in the house, the young plants must slowly be accustomed to the direct sunlight outdoors. Failure to do this can result in permanent damage to the tender leaves. You can either place the daisy family in a pot in partial shade or temporarily shield the planting area from the sun in the first few days.

As soon as there is no longer any threat of frost and the outside temperature no longer drops below 15 ° C, the Cosmea can move to the open air or onto the balcony. Select the suitable location and keep a minimum distance of 20 to 40 centimeters between the individual plants. Because depending on the variety selected, the herbaceous plants can reach a height of between 40 and 200 centimeters and could easily hinder themselves in growth. A compacted soil can be loosened with fine pebbles. Pottery shards, on the other hand, which are often used in potted plants, are unsuitable for the garden itself. After planting, water the young plants carefully but vigorously.

Tip: Protect the jewelry baskets from voracious snails.

The popular ornamental plants are also ideal balcony and terrace plants. Use stable planters and nutrient-poor substrate for this. Here, too, a sunny location is necessary, Cosmea planted in pots require significantly more moisture than their relatives outdoors. There must be drainage made of lava chippings at the bottom of the pot so that the plant does not get wet feet. Waterlogging promotes the infestation with root rot, which in the worst case can lead to the death of the entire daisy family.

Tip: Higher growing varieties need an additional plant support and must be protected from windthrow.

To cut

Ornamental plants cultivated as annuals are also grateful if they are freed from withered inflorescences and shoots every now and then. As a result of this measure, the jewelry basket increasingly forms new buds. If you want to plant the herbaceous plant in your garden or balcony in the following year, you should carefully cut the seed pods and store them in a cool, dry place. If you prefer a bushy shoot of the plant, you can regularly cut back the height of the decorative basket.

Sow in the field

The undemanding ornamental plants can also be sown directly in the garden. Follow these steps to get lusciously growing jewelry baskets within a few weeks:

  • Loosen the garden soil.
  • Press seeds into the soil about 30 centimeters apart.
  • Water carefully.
  • Keep the substrate moist until germination.

The best time to sow is between mid-April and mid-May. The seeds are frost-resistant, so even snowfall or freezing temperatures cannot harm them.

Popular varieties

A large selection of the popular ornamental plant is available from specialist shops. The best-known varieties include, for example:

  • Cosmea “Sweet Sixteen” : A variety that has a pink- red flower color and reaches a height of about 90 centimeters.
  • Cosmea “polidor” : The flowers of this composite plant are anything but inconspicuous, as they shine in orange, red and yellow. The annual herb is one of the early flowering Cosmea species. The stature height is about 75 centimeters.
  • Cosmea “Double Click Rose Bonbon” : Bulging, pink flowers are the trademark of this decorative basket . This composite plant can reach up to 90 centimeters.
  • Cosmea “Lemon Bird”: This decorative basket variety is one of the smaller representatives of its kind. With its 30 centimeters height, “Lemon Bird” is well suited for planting in pots. As the name suggests, the flowers are lemon yellow in color.

Planting tips

The herbaceous plant can be cultivated in many ways in your own garden or on the balcony. Larger varieties are suitable, for example, as a decorative privacy screen, while smaller varieties are used as a flowering border for borders and rock gardens. Combine different colored Cosmea varieties and create a fragrant flower oasis in your own garden.

However, decorative baskets can also be easily combined with other flowering plants. The following types are suitable, for example:

  • delphinium
  • Spider flower
  • Indianernessel
  • Marigold

Only plant plants that have the same requirements for the location and the substrate as the Cosmea. However, avoid larger shrubs and trees, which, with their shadows, reduce the growth of the decorative basket.

Avoid deficiency symptoms

Even undemanding plants are by no means safe from mistakes in care. In order to promote the health and growth of this distinctive ornamental plant, you should know its needs.

basket looks herbaceous and hardly grows  This damage can be attributed to a substrate that is too rich in nutrients or a location that is too shady. Cosmea is a plant that grows in poor soil. Enhance normal garden soil with larger amounts of sand in order to achieve the ideal soil conditions. Avoid the intake of nutrients, as these are more likely to cause damage to the crop. For the planting, choose a place with plenty of hours of sunshine. Moving flowers that have already been damaged is not always successful.

The Cosmea does not develop any flowers.
In order to develop its full bloom, the decorative basket  needs direct sunlight. In the shade, on the other hand, the plant often tends to grow quickly, but the daisy family does not flower.

Diseases and pests

Plants weakened by incorrect care are susceptible to fungal pathogens and harmful insects. Even if the Cosmea is only annual, you should still take effective countermeasures in the event of an infestation.

Powdery mildew
Warm and dry weather encourage infestation with this fungal infection. A flour-like, white coating spreads on the upper side of the leaf and slowly covers the entire plant. As the infected leaves wither and fall, the tips of the shoots curl up and often turn black. If left untreated, “powdery mildew” can often lead to the death of the entire plant within a few weeks. The use of chemical fungicides is not necessary, however, as the fungus can also be easily removed with simple home remedies:

  • Remove and dispose of affected parts of the plant.
  • Spray a fresh milk-water solution for several days.
  • Spread horsetail broth regularly.

The fungal pathogen needs living plant tissue in order to survive. Spreading beyond the compost is therefore impossible.

The voracious pests hardly stop at any useful or ornamental plant. The lice use their mouthparts to remove the important cell sap from the host plant. A strong overpopulation of the insects, which are only a few millimeters in size, not only leads to damage to the plant, but also attracts ants and sooty mildew. If you want to use aphids’ predators, you often have to bring effective ants into play at the same time. Because these small animals tend to defend the aphids against ladybirds and Co. The following measures have proven effective against aphids:

  • Natural predators
  • Squirt broth made from nettles
  • Spray the stock from field horsetail.

Baking powder or direct and regular spraying of the affected plant with a sharp water jet have proven effective against ants. The flowers often suffer from this treatment method, but the Cosmea often recovers from this procedure very quickly and forms new flowers.

Hardly any other plant blooms as profusely and colorfully on nutrient-poor soils as the decorative basket can. The herbaceous plant is annual, but the simple extraction of the seeds ensures that it will continue to exist in the following year. The fragrant flower should not be missing in any garden and is also well suited for sunny balconies and terraces.

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