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Cosmos bipinnatus (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Cosmos bipinnatus (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Zones 4-9, 14-24, 28-32
Full Sun
Regular Water

Cosmos atrosanguineus

Chocolate Cosmos
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials, Flowers


Native to tropical America (mostly Mexico). Showy summer- and fall-blooming plants, open and branching in habit, with bright green divided leaves and daisylike flowers in many colors and forms (single, double, crested, and frilled). Heights vary from 2 1/2 to 8 ft. Use for mass color in borders or background, or as filler among shrubs. Useful in arrangements if flowers are cut just after they open and placed immediately in deep, cool water.

Sow seeds in open ground where plants are to grow or set out transplants from spring to summer. Plant in not-too-rich soil. Plants self-sow freely and are attractive to birds.

Cosmos atrosanguineus (photo courtesy of Skagit Gardens)
Cosmos atrosanguineus (photo courtesy of Skagit Gardens)

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Cosmos atrosanguineus

Perennial from tuberous roots. Grows as a perennial in Zones 4–9, 14–24. Where winters are cold, dig and store as for dahlias. Grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. tall and 1 1/2 ft. wide, with coarsely cut foliage.

Blooms in late summer and fall, with deep brownish red, nearly 2-in.-wide flowers with a strong perfume of chocolate (some people detect a hint of vanilla as well). An attractive companion for silvery-foliaged plants.

Provide well-drained soil. Winter mulch is prudent in all but the mildest regions (where plant tends to be rather short-lived).

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