Cosmos Plant Varieties: Learn About Types Of Cosmos Plants

Cosmos flowers blooming in the garden
Image by nipastock

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

When it comes to considering the many types of cosmos plants on the market, gardeners are faced with a wealth of riches. The cosmos family includes at least 25 known species and many cultivars. Read on to learn about just a few of the hundreds of cosmos plant varieties and cosmos flower types.

Common Cosmos Flower Types

For home gardeners, the most common cosmos flower types are Cosmos bippanatus and Cosmos sulphureus. These varieties of cosmos flowers can be further broken down into specific types, or cultivars.

Cosmos bippanatus

Cosmos bippanatus cultivars display cheerful, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. The plants, native to Mexico, usually top out at 2 to 5 feet, but may attain heights of up to 8 feet. Blooms measuring 3 to 4 inches across may be single, semi-double or double. Cosmos flower colors include white and various shades of pink, crimson, rose, lavender and purple, all with yellow centers.


The most common types of C. bippanatus include:

  • Sonata– Sonata, which reaches heights of 18 to 20 inches, displays ferny foliage and frilly blooms in pure white and shades of cherry, rose and pink.
  • Double Take – This cheery cosmos variety provides showy, bi-color pink blooms with yellow centers all summer long. Mature height is 3 to 4 feet.
  • Seashell – The 3-inch blooms of Seashell cosmos display rolled petals, which give the flowers a seashell-like appearance. This tall variety, which can reach heights of 3 to 4 feet, comes in shades of creamy white, carmine, pink and rose.
  • Cosimo – Cosimo blooms early and continues to provide bright color all summer. This 18- to 24-inch plant comes in a variety of appealing semi-double, bi-color blooms, including pink/white and raspberry red.

Cosmos sulphureus

Cosmos sulphureus, also native to Mexico, thrives in poor soil and hot, dry climates and may become floppy and weak in rich soil. Height of the upright plants is usually limited to 1 to 3 feet, although some may reach 6 feet. The plants, which sport either semi-double or double, daisy-like blooms, are available in bright cosmos flower colors ranging from yellow to orange and intense red.

Here are common types of C. sulphureus:

  • Ladybird – This early-blooming, dwarf variety produces masses of small, semi-double blooms in rich, sunny shades of tangerine, lemon yellow and orange-scarlet. Plant height is generally limited to 12 to 16 inches.
  • Cosmic – Vigorous Cosmic cosmos produces an abundance of small, heat- and pest-resistant blooms in shades ranging from cosmic orange and yellow to scarlet. This compact plant tops out at 12 to 20 inches.
  • Sulphur – This eye-catching variety lights up the garden with blooms of stunning yellow and orange. Sulphur is a tall plant reaching heights of 36 to 48 inches.

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