Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Klondike Cosmos, Sulphur Cosmos, Orange Cosmos
Cosmos sulphureus 'Bright Lights'

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cosmos (KOS-mus) (Info)
Species: sulphureus (sul-FER-ee-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Bright Lights

One vendor has this plant for sale.

29 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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8 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive cloud91977 On Feb 14, 2011, cloud91977 from Spring Valley, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

The golds and oranges of 'Bright Lights' really do seem to glow in the sun. They don't mind the reflected heat from the south stone wall in our garden, they seldom need watered (though will last much longer if watered deeply once every 2-4 weeks), and never need fertilizing or staking. They're wonderful cut flowers, lasting just about a week in a vase.

Yes, they do reseed, but not to the point of being invasive. Seedlings are very easy to pull or relocate. IMO, the drying seedheads are so lovely and add so much interest that I never deadhead these plants. After allowing the seeds to ripen on the plant, I take up the whole plant and shake the seeds loose over gaps in the garden where perrenials or shrubs have yet to mature. The seeds will sprout here as late as November, and if plants are established before the cold set in, they'll bloom throughout the winter (frost-free).

A wonderful and super easy annual for the watewise gardener!

Negative sketchkat06 On Aug 30, 2010, sketchkat06 from Lawndale, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

The blossoms on mine rather small.. It did not bloom profusely, lots of scattered blooms, but they just didn't cover the plant like other varieties of cosmos do. And the plants didn't reach a very good size or grow bushy at all. They did drop lots of seeds and I'm continually removing the volunteers.

Positive Raisa On Jun 5, 2009, Raisa from Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets 5 - 6ft of height from this plant. I'd had Cosmos for two years before I switched locations from a part-shade spot to a full sun spot. It grew very sparsely in partial shade and only to a height of about 1 -1 1/2 feet. ..I was 'shocked' at the difference it showed in full sun. ..It grew taller than me and had very thick stalks. Also, there was continuous blooming from early summer into fall. I'm growing it again this year in a different full sun location. attracts Hummingbirds. ..Who knew!

Neutral Cordeledawg On Oct 27, 2006, Cordeledawg from Cordele, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

In my south Ga. climate, the cosmos I started from seed grew to 6 ft tall! Hardly had any blooms at all. Bloomed sparsely to say the least. Reading about drought tolerant plants lead me to believe that I watered it too much since in was planted in my butterfly garden border. I planted the seedlings in the middle of my border which, after it grew so tall and didn't bloom, ruined the whole visual effect of my border. Should I try this plant again, I'll surely plant it in it's own spot and just ignore it and only water it during extreme drought conditions. I give this report a neutral instead of a negative due to my own novice experience with this plant.

Positive dwarfconifer On Jul 29, 2006, dwarfconifer from Boyds, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

Yellow finches like to eat the seed. Added bonus.

Positive Suze_ On May 2, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

24-36 inches?? Try more like 4-6 ft in my climate. I like all sorts of cosmos, and 'bright lights' is no exception.

Positive kjetiljp On Apr 17, 2005, kjetiljp from Forest Hills, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I run a community garden in New York City (Queens). The soil is very poor - rocky, construction leftovers near a railroad bridge. Cosmos Bright Lights is the toughest annual I have found. Consistently provides lots of bright color with little care - although deadheading is a good idea to maintain good appearance and lengthen blooming season. I find that by staggering planting, I can have color throughout the summer. They bloom within a month of germinating.

Positive malfam On Mar 19, 2005, malfam from Milwaukee, WI wrote:

Planted on May 30,2004 and was flowering from mid August until first hard frost in October.
Easier to start compared to Marigold seeds planted at the same time.

Positive LilyLover_UT On Jan 17, 2005, LilyLover_UT from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

This selection blooms in shades of bright yellow, bright orange, and reddish-orange. Easy to grow -- direct sow in the garden in mid to late spring. Self-sows.

Positive Sheila965 On Sep 27, 2004, Sheila965 from Rincon, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Easy, easy to grow! Very vibrant orange colors that attract bees and butterflies.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Little Rock, Arkansas
Lawndale, California
Sacramento, California
Spring Valley, California
Athens, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Rincon, Georgia
Itasca, Illinois
Rock Falls, Illinois
Lansing, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Bossier City, Louisiana
Blair, Nebraska
Forest Hills, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Warrensville, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Madison, Ohio
Monessen, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Winnsboro, South Carolina
Germantown, Tennessee
Dripping Springs, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas
Odessa, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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