Xanthos really is a one-off. Until recently cosmos just came in shades of white and pink. Lovely as these traditional colours are (and there are plenty to choose from), it's fabulous to welcome this pale yellow variety to the gang. Yes, there have been yellow cosmos before, but, until now, none that performed as well as the pinks and whites. In fact, some say that Xanthos actually flowers a little earlier than the others, kicking off in May rather than June. Given its virtues, Xanthos has caused quite a stir among horticulturists and gardeners and has won some awards since its introduction in 2015. It's a compact variety, too, growing to about 60 cm so it won't flop and need staking. The petals are a delicious shade of soft butter yellow around a golden eye, fading softly towards the tips. Like all cosmos, the large, open flowers are hugely popular with bees and other pollinators. And again, like all cosmos, the more you deadhead, the greater its rewards, flowering on and on until the first frosts.
Because Xanthos is a little shorter and more compact than a lot of the other cosmos varieties, it's best in the middle of a border, always in a sunny spot. Combine its creamy yellow flowers in drifts with a contrasting rich claret variety of cosmos such as Dazzler and/or spikes of purple/red penstemons ('Garnet' or 'Raven' would look amazing) for a heavenly planting combination. It's great in a container, too, perhaps in combination with spikes of midnight blue Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' (the pale yellow/deep blue combination is always a winner).
The word Xanthos means golden, fair or yellow. It's used as a boys' name in Greek-speaking countries, the female form being Xanthe.