There are few flowers as showy as celosia. Whether you plant the plumed type, with its striking upright spires, or the crested type with its fascinating twisted form, you'll love using celosia in bouquets. The flowers are beautiful fresh, but they can be dried easily if hung upside down. And they bloom in the striking colors of a glowing sunset.
A cut bouquet favorite, celosia or cockscomb flowers come in several different and unique styles:
- The spicata, or candle type blooms, cover the plant in upright narrow blooms reminiscent of wheat grass seed heads.
- Plumosa type blooms, from the most common group of celosias, have broader-based flowers than spicata types. These blooms look like little flames perched atop the plants.
- The cristata variety, with its coral-like appearance, is the most unique looking of the celosia group. Because it grows so much larger than its counterparts, this celosia variety tends to flower less (sometimes producing only one bloom at a time).
The blooms of celosia are rather stiff and waxy, which makes them a great option for bouquets. The plant's colorful flowers are produced in abundance all over the plant, and they last for a very long time. While aging naturally on the plant, celosia flowers fade to a whisper of their previous hue, taking on a straw-like appearance.
Celosia leaves are generally light green with a colored mid-rib that matches the bloom on the plant. There are some newer varieties with very attractive burgundy foliage, which deepens in color in full summer sun. The stems of the plant also reflect the color of the bloom, creating a striking effect.
Celosia Care Must-Knows
Celosia does need a little bit of maintenance throughout the growing season. Plant established seedlings in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Since the blooms are so rugged, the plant will hold onto them until they have dried on the plant. This means they will need to be manually removed to keep the plants looking nice and fresh. Celosia also likes rich, well-drained soil with moderate water. Overall, these are resilient plants with very few problems.
A few pests to watch out for are aphids and spider mites (the latter can be a problem in hot, dry weather).
Celosia is easily grown from seed or cuttings, and growing a variety of celosia adds a splash of color to your containers or garden beds. When selecting your varieties, make sure you choose plants that are size appropriate. Some varieties are primarily grown for cut flowers and can get quite large and require staking. Many of the new varieties are only available from cuttings so you won't find seeds to grow them.
A word of caution: Don't be too rough with these plants, as the stems are succulent and prone to breakage.
More Varieties of Celosia
'Amigo Red' Celosia
Celosia 'Amigo Red' offers crested red flowers on a compact plant with excellent heat and drought tolerance. It grows 6 inches tall and wide.
'Flamingo Feather' Celosia
Celosia 'Flamingo Feather' grows 4 feet tall and bears plume-type pink flowers that dry well.
'Fresh Look Yellow' Celosia
Celosia 'Fresh Look Yellow' grows about 20 inches tall and bears abundant plume-type yellow flowers.
'Intenz' Celosia Argentea
Bright fuchsia candles cover celosia argentea "Intenz" all season and the plants usually reach 12–16 inches tall.
'Fresh Look Red' Celosia
Celosia 'Fresh Look Red' is an award-winning selection with plumes of rosy-red flowers. It grows 18 inches tall.
'New Look' Celosia
Celosia 'New Look' bears red plumes and beautiful purple-tinged foliage. It grows 14 inches tall.
Celosia Companion Plants
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach 1-2 feet high studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can keep it flowering all winter.
There's nothing subtle about an African marigold, and thank goodness for that! It's a big, flamboyant, colorful punch of color for the sunny bed, border, or large container. Most are yellow, orange, or cream. Plants grow up to 3 feet tall and produce huge 3-inch puffball blooms while dwarf varieties get just 1 foot tall. The mounded dark green foliage is always clean, fresh, and tidy. Grow them in a warm, sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil all summer long.
Nasturtiums are so versatile. They grow easily from seed sown directly in your garden's poorest soil and bloom all season until frost. They are never greedy about food or fertilizer. Nasturtiums are available in either spreading or climbing types. Plant spreading types in large containers to spill over the sides. Plant them alongside wide paths to soften the sides for a romantic look. Use nasturtium to brighten a rock garden or between paving stones. Plant them at the edges of beds and borders to fill in between other plants and add soft, flowing color. Train climbing types up trellises or alongside fences. The leaves and flowers are edible; use them as a showy plate garnish or to jazz up salads.