Strike it rich with Klondike cosmos

September 6, 2023

American prospector George Carmack and his partner Skookum Jim (Keish), discovered gold Aug. 16, 1896, in the Klondike region. It set off the Klondike Gold Rush that brought more than 100,000 prospectors heading into the wilderness to find gold.

The Canadian authorities feared massive starvation, so they required that every prospector bring a year's supply of food. This food and mining equipment required weighed close to a ton, so it was moved by hand in stages.

You can discover your own gold rush in the garden with Klondike cosmos, a super fast-growing annual with gold and orange flowers. A member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), these colorful beauties will grow up to 6-feet tall and provide long-lasting color from summer until the first frost. There is a dwarf variety, the Cosmic series, which stays a more manageable 12- to 18-inches tall.

Plant Klondike cosmos where it will get at least a half-day of direct sunlight. It does well in everything from moist to dry, porous soils. Sow the seeds directly outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees.

Gently rake the seeds into the loosened soil. Plant them shallow, because seeds planted too deep might not germinate.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy for five to 10 days after planting. Your Klondike cosmos seeds will germinate in seven to 21 days. Cosmos needs almost no care to give you an abundance of colorful blossoms all summer. The taller plants may need staking if situated where they are exposed to high winds and storms.

Also known as Sulfur cosmos, Klondike cosmos brings brilliant shades of yellow and orange to your gardens and flowerbeds. Because they can grow up to 6-feet tall, plant them at the back of a garden.
Even though Klondike cosmos will tolerate partial shade, as a plant that’s native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America, they grow best in full sun.

Ideally, choose soil that drains well and is a bit alkaline, 6.0-8.5 pH. Once established, they tolerate heat and even drought.

The cheerful flowers will attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Because songbirds like the seeds, you can leave some plants to go to seed in the fall to provide a winter food source.

Plant Klondike cosmos, and you will strike it rich in your own backyard.


  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.

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