Family Amaranthaceae, genus Celosia
Grow as a warm weather annual in all growing zones
Depending on the variety, celosias can have a mature height from six inches to three feet in the garden. The plants stay more compact when you grow them in containers versus the ground.
Summer to fall
You can prevent problems like stem rot and leaf spot by providing celosias with plenty of unfiltered sunshine and moderate irrigation. Although celosias can tolerate clay soil, if this is combined with heavy rainfall the plants will likely fail.
Celosias produce their vivid flowers without asking for much fertilization in return. If the plants begin to look tired, add some seaweed or fish emulsion to the watering can for a boost of trace nutrients.
Some celosias may require staking. If you plant a tall variety with large flower heads in an open area, winds or storms can cause stem breakage. Planting these large flowering types in a sheltered part of the garden makes staking optional, as long as the plants receive the full sun they need to stay vigorous.
The differing heights and forms of celosia flowers gives them great versatility in the garden. Because of their drought tolerance, any of the small to medium size celosias make good container garden plants. In the border, combine celosias with other low maintenance annuals, like zinnias or marigolds. Celosias combine naturally with other members of the amaranth family, like gomphrena or love-lies-bleeding.
You can design an entire flowerbed with different varieties of celosia, staggering heights and creating a spectacular rainbow effect with different textures and forms.
All of the tall varieties of celosias should have a place in the cutting garden. The flowers are long lasting in the vase, and they also make excellent specimens for drying.
When the gardening season is winding down, dig a few plants for temporary indoor containers. The wine, red, and gold colors will provide the perfect fall accents for your Labor Day gathering or football party. Although the plants will start to look shabby after a few weeks indoors, they stay fresher longer than a cut flower bouquet would.
- Bombay series: A conversation piece in the garden, produces those unique brain-like blooms in purple, red, and yellow
- Castle Scarlet: For red lovers only, this variety features electrifying crimson plumes
- Flamingo Feather: Four feet tall with spiky pink blooms
- Fresh Look series: Feathery plumes on compact plants tolerate wet or dry conditions, as long as it’s hot
- Golden Yellow: Buttery yellow plumes contrast with deep green foliage