Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus)


Plant family

Sunflower Family (Asteraceae)

Common Names



Cosmos are a drought tolerant annual flower native to Mexico. Plants can reseed under the right conditions. Several species of cosmos are available for purchase.Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus are two commonly available species.

Light and dark pink flowers
Blooms and delicate foliage of Cosmos bipinnatus Photo credit:Bruno Parmentier Flickr CC BY-NC_ND 2.0

Many cultivars are available. Flowers come in a wide variety of colors that bloom from early summer through fall.  Leaves are feathery and plants can grow to 6 feet tall.

Cosmos needs little water or fertilizer but do need to be watered deeply during dry spells.


syrphid (hover) flies

Bee visiting orange flower
Bee visiting Cosmos flower Photo credit: CatDancing FLickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Cosmos also attract lacewings and parasitic wasps that help control pest insects.

Additional Resources:


Illinois – Annual Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus


Texas (Image of Cosmos)
Cosmos Produces Classic Beauty