When planting cosmos in the garden, you may be wondering if cosmos are perennials, especially if they return to the garden the following year.

Cosmos are low maintenance plants which make an excellent addition to the summer garden.

A magnet for beneficial insects, cosmos are popular cottage garden flowers, which often will bloom all summer long.

Many gardeners wonder if cosmos are perennials, due to their propensity to self seed.

Most are considered to be annual plants, however there is one popular species which is truly perennial.

The perennial variety of cosmos is called Cosmos artrosanguineus, commonly known as chocolate cosmos.

Chocolate cosmos will return to the garden in usda hardiness zones 7 to 10. In colder climates however, the plant will need to be dug up and protected for the winter.

Some annual varieties of cosmos will appear as if they are perennial, and seem to return to the garden year after year, as perennials often do.

This is actually the result of self seeding, in which the annual cosmos release their seed, and grow into new plants the following season.

Self seeding is a natural process by which plants will disperse their seeds into the environment around them, enabling the plant to propagate itself.

These seeds will then germinate the following season, allowing the plant to grow on through its progeny.

Most cosmos are annual plants with a 12 month life cycle. When they are finished blooming for the season and have produced seeds, their life cycle is complete.

The seeds will fall to the ground, and germinate the following season, forming new plants similar to the parent plant.

For more cosmos plants, you can also collect some seeds for planting next spring. Chocolate cosmos can be dug, to store inside for winter.

For more information, see the tutorial!