Cosmos Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Cosmos are treasured for being one of the easiest flowers you can grow in your garden. 

Sprinkle some seeds in a bed – nearly anywhere you like – and you can expect to see beautiful, airy stems springing forth from the ground in very little time at all. Shortly after, perfectly symmetrical flowers will open.

The flowers themselves come in a range of colors, even bi-colors, but all are considered beautiful. 

They also contrast well against the foliage, which have thin, wispy leaves that lend their own beauty against the large flowers. 

They also attract a lot of pollinators to your garden, and you can grow them in containers as well as in the ground. 

For such a delicate-looking, unassuming but captivating plant, it has quite a lot of symbolism!

Read on to discover the meaning behind cosmos flowers.

What does Cosmos Mean?

You’d be forgiven for mixing up the name of this flower with the name for the harmonious state of the universe. Well, it’s sort of the same thing.

It’s said that Spanish priests in Mexico named these flowers after the Greek word for an ordered universe, the binary opposite to chaos. 

They chose this name as the petals of the flower are evenly-spaced around the flower head, and perhaps look a little too perfect, a little too ordered.

Cosmos are a fairly small genus (see also Cosmos Genus Guide) within the Asteraceae family, the group which encompasses the daisies, and the sunflowers.    

What do Cosmos Flowers Represent?

This probably won’t come as a shock, but cosmos flowers symbolize harmony, and order, thanks to the meaning behind the name, as well as their symmetrical appearance. 

That’s not the only thing this flower represents. It also embodies innocence, love, affection, and tranquility. 

Most of the time, when a flower symbolizes peace, it refers to the effect the plant’s beauty can have on you. 

For a minute, you stop. You drop some of your worries to look at the living thing in front of you, and how perfect it is. You’re brought back to the present, not the past, or the future. 

Other symbolism associated with the cosmos flower is balance, joy, and beauty. 

Of course, the meaning of any flower can develop and even change completely depending on the color of the flower itself. 

There is also a belief that cosmos flowers represent people who have a difficult time expressing their thoughts to others, or struggle with public speaking.

What does a Red Cosmos Signify?

Red cosmos flowers stand for desire, and romantic love.

What does a Yellow Cosmos Mean?

Yellow cosmos flowers embody friendship, a deep connection or affection you hold for someone without romantic feelings, or even love that’s been slighted.

What does a White Cosmos Signify?

White cosmos symbolize faithfulness in a relationship, and innocence.

What is the Cultural Significance behind the Cosmos Flower?

Most cosmos varieties are from Mexico, though some are native to the United States, and others can be found in South Africa, where they were accidentally introduced during the Anglo-Boer War. 

Cosmos flowers were also introduced to Spain from Mexico by Spanish explorers, roughly in the 1500s. 

In this way, cosmos flowers represent endurance, as the seeds survived the trip very well in order to be able to germinate in Spain. 

Cosmos flowers also have been used for medicinal purposes since antiquity. Traditionally, it’s been used to treat Malaria in Mexico and Brazil. Some varieties contain antioxidant properties, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. 

Cosmos have been used as a source for natural yellow and orange dye, made from the flowers. 

What does a Cosmos Tattoo Mean?

Cosmos flowers in tattoos have some interesting symbolism. Because of the belief of the name’s origin, they symbolize being at peace in life, living in a state of contentment. 

They also carry the symbolism of believing that life is in perfect balance – everything happens for a reason, and therefore, the bad things are less terrible than they might first seem. 

When Should You Give Someone Cosmos?

Cosmos are great choices for any occasion, as they’re not always given as a gift, and in that way, they are more memorable for their rarity. 

They’re perfect to give to a romantic partner, and symbolize that your life with them in it makes everything complete. Everything makes sense when they are around, and as long as they’re with you, you feel as though you can overcome any obstacle.

Cosmos are also traditional favorites in a cottage garden. They’re also the flower for the birth month of October, which makes them fitting birthday gifts. 

Cosmos flowers are also given as the second wedding anniversary flower. 

No matter the reason you choose to give someone cosmos flowers, they’re sure to uplift your loved one’s mood, and represent affection, friendship, love, and faithfulness, depending on the color of blooms you choose.  

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