Tried and tested: Cosmos ‘Xanthos’

September 8th, 2017 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Cosmos 'Xanthos'

All over the world, seed companies and plant breeders are developing new varieties of cosmos and perhaps the most interesting new introduction has been the new yellow flowered Cosmos ‘Xanthos’, which I grew this year in my new trial garden and also saw on the Mr F trials.

I really liked it and will be growing it again next year.

Of course its most distinctive feature is its pale yellow flowers. Previously, the only yellow flowered cosmos was ‘Yellow Garden’, a monstrous thing that, when I grew it, reached about 2m in height before it opened a single flower and waited until about now to start! Useless.

‘Xanthos’ reached about 75-90cm in height, bushed out well from the start and began to flower in June. The flowers are not large, about 4-7cm across, but they’re a lovely soft primrose-lemon shade, opening from darker buds, with a white zone around the golden eye.

I grew it alongside a similar variety called ‘Lemonade’, new this year, whose flowers were almost identical. But it was striking that ‘Lemonade’ has more foliage and fewer flowers.

As I write this on 8 September, ‘Xanthos’ is still flowering well and has masses of buds still to open. The stem length is getting shorter, however, probably the result of the dry spell that’s just ended. Now it’s had a good soak I’m going to give it a liquid feed to see if that coaxes into flowering well into the autumn and with longer stems.

And next year when I grow it, I’ll space it out at about 30cm, instead of the 23cm I tried this year and will add humus before planting to help it through dry spells.

Next year? Definitely.

You can order seed of Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ or you can order young plants of Cosmos ‘Xanthos’.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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