Celosia is a genus of flowering plants that belong to the Amaranth family. There are two main types of Celosia plants: plumed and crested. Plumed Celosia plants have feathery, upright blooms resembling flames or plumes, while crested Celosia plants (Cockscomb) have dense, compact buds resembling twisted, velvety crests. Both types of Celosia plants are popular for use in cut flower arrangements, as well as in gardens and landscapes.
Growing and Caring for Celosia
These heat-loving annuals thrive in full sun, so provide them with at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Plant celosia in well-draining soil enriched with compost or organic matter to ensure optimal growth. While celosia prefers evenly moist soil, it’s important to avoid over-watering. Water at the base of the plant to prevent wetting the leaves. Applying a layer of mulch around the plants helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Deadheading spent flowers is essential for prolonging blooming and maintaining the plant’s overall appearance. Apply a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season to support healthy growth and vibrant blooms. Pruning or pinching back celosia can encourage bushier growth and prevent legginess. Celosia can reach different heights depending on the variety, so consider its mature size when planning its placement in your garden or containers.
Leaves and Flowers
Celosia leaves are typically lance-shaped or ovate and can vary in size depending on the variety. They often have a glossy or slightly textured surface, adding a touch of shine to the overall foliage. In some celosia varieties, the foliage may have a bronze or burgundy hue, further enhancing the plant’s visual appeal and creating an intriguing contrast with the flowers.
The flowers are the true showstopper, boasting unique and ornamental forms that range from feathery plumes to crested combs. The plume-type celosia, often called “feather celosia,” displays elongated, brightly colored flower spikes that resemble flames or vibrant feathers. These flower spikes can be erected or slightly drooping, adding vertical interest to garden beds and borders. The crested celosia, known as cockscomb, is characterized by its fascinating rooster-comb-like flowers, which form intricate, dense crests reminiscent of velvet or coral. The flowers come in a wide array of bold and captivating colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink, and even purple.
Celosia Cristata “Cockscomb”
Celosia cristata (Cockscomb) is a type of Celosia plant that is known for its unique, velvety crested blooms. The name “Cockscomb” is derived from the plant’s resemblance to a rooster’s comb, characterized by its vibrant and crested bloom clusters that exhibit a velvety texture. Cockscomb produces a profusion of blooms that endure through the growing season, attracting pollinators and adding a vivid splash of color to the garden landscape. The flowers of Cockscomb plants come in various bright colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, and white, and can grow up to 30 centimeters in diameter.
Our Selection of Celosia
At Martin Garden Center, we grow only Celosia Kelos Fire Red and Celosia Intenz (plum colored) in 4 inch containers. We also rely on our vendors to provide additional varieties with different plumes of color also in 4″. We also receive flats of plume types of celosia but these always seem to be of limited availability. In recent years, we’ve seen less and less of the crested celosia and consequently are growing it for the 2024 Spring season due to its limited availability. Wish us luck!
Annual Vs. Perennial
While Celosia is primarily grown as an annual, there are perennial species within the Celosia genus, such as Celosia argentea. Perennial celosias may return each year under favorable growing conditions, often reseeding themselves or regrowing from the base. These perennial varieties are more common in tropical or subtropical climates.
Do Deer Eat Celosia?
Deer generally avoid eating Celosia plants, including the popular Cockscomb variety. Celosia is known for its distinctive crested flower heads, combined with the texture and taste of Celosia foliage, which makes it less appealing to deer.
How Tall Do Celosia Plants Grow?
Celosia plants are relatively compact and come in different forms, including crested, plumed, and spiked varieties. The actual height of Celosia plants can be influenced by factors such as growing conditions, soil fertility, and climate. Here are approximate height ranges for the different types:
- Crested Celosia (Celosia argentea var. cristata) Crested varieties tend to be shorter, typically ranging from 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) in height.
- Plumed Celosia (Celosia argentea var. plumosa): Plumed varieties have feathery, upright flower heads and can reach heights of 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm).
- Spiked Celosia (Celosia argentea var. spicata): Spiked varieties have tall, spiky flower heads and can grow from 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm) or more.