Is this a wildflower plant or a weed?
August 2, 2020 1:38 PM   Subscribe

What is this tall spiky plant with super thin leaves? Images here.

In a fit of optimism this spring, I, a novice gardener, bought a couple of variety packs of wildflowers at the grocery store and planted them in a raised planter in my backyard. One weird type of plant seems to be dominating and I'm not sure if it's a weed or if it's one of the plants I planted on purpose. I'm located in Minnesota.

I did some searching in a couple of wildflower books, a Weeds of Minnesota book, and on the UMN Extension plant ID page, and haven't had any success identifying it. I pulled one up and the stem is kind of wet and crunchy like celery, not woody like a tree, if that makes sense. Most of these plants have one tall stalk but one or two of them have multiple branches. Height is currently around 3 feet tall. Haven't seen any significant flowers or anything on it.

The image link above also has a couple of pictures of the seed packets, in case that helps at all.
posted by beandip to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think it’s Cosmos! At least that’s what my Cosmos looked like last year until it finally put out lovely pink flowers.
posted by mskyle at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

I planted a 20 flower variety mix this year and I have a plant that looks exactly like that. Mine hasn't flowered yet either.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:46 PM on August 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Whoa, after image searching I think it's Cosmos too! Thanks for the quick answer, this place is amazing.
posted by beandip at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2020

I think I have a volunteer cosmos in one of my pots. Cool!
posted by JawnBigboote at 5:45 PM on August 2, 2020

Came to say Cosmos.
posted by ChristineSings at 5:59 PM on August 2, 2020

Definitely cosmos daisy. So pretty!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:02 PM on August 2, 2020

Cosmos. They grow so tall when they are happy!
posted by slateyness at 10:33 PM on August 2, 2020

The magenta one in the back is cosmos. Those are...really big/full for cosmos. The seed packs list 2 varieties though so maybe the back is the dwarf variety?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:17 AM on August 3, 2020

In the past I’ve grown cosmos that looked more like the one in the back but last year the ones I planted grew 5+ feet tall and didn’t put out flowers until fall... not sure if it’s to do with conditions in that part of my yard or the variety I planted. But it may stay green for a while yet!
posted by mskyle at 7:11 AM on August 3, 2020

Had them in my yard as a child. Bumblebees love them. And then praying mantises love the bumblebees.
posted by Splunge at 11:54 AM on August 3, 2020

Response by poster: Update: they were crazy 6ft tall cosmos plants that dominated the flower patch and bloomed lovely magenta flowers all through the fall, right up until they got snowed on yesterday. It was lovely knowing what they were!
posted by beandip at 9:18 AM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

It's the spectacular colors of cosmos that make them so pretty... if that's what you like, try planting Gerbera Daisies along with them next year. They have the same, rich, almost fluorescent colors in bigger, daisy-like (of course lol), flowers and they look great with cosmos. Were they all magenta? Because cosmos comes in red, pink, orange, yellow, and I think purple, as well.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:38 PM on October 25, 2020

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