How to Plant and Grow Celosia

This showy annual adds striking colors to gardens and cut flower arrangements.

There are few flowers as showy as celosias. 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. They bloom in the striking colors of a glowing sunset.

Red Celosia

BHG / Kerri Jo

Celosia Overview

Genus Name Celosia
Common Name Celosia
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 6 to 18 inches
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Chartreuse/Gold, Purple/Burgundy
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11
Propagation Leaf Cuttings, Seed

Blooms and Leaves

A cut bouquet favorite, celosia flowers come in several different styles:

  • The spicata, or candle-type blooms, cover the plant in narrow upright blooms reminiscent of wheatgrass 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 type, 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).

Celosia blooms are rather stiff and waxy, making 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. Some newer varieties have 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.

Where to Plant Celosia

Celosias are native to East Africa and the Mediterranean, and they enjoy warmth. These plants are low-maintenance annuals in most areas and tender perennials in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. They do better in garden beds than in pots. Plant established seedlings outside in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

How and When to Plant Celosia

Choose a full-sun location for the best flower production. Don't be in a hurry to plant celosias in the spring. This plant loves warmth and dislikes cold soil. After the last frost, amend the soil with compost and space the plants 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety.

Celosia Care Tips


Celosia plants need full sun for at least eight hours a day,

Soil and Water

Celosia flourishes in rich, well-drained soil with moderate watering. Soil with a pH of 6–6.5 and high organic content is ideal.

Temperature and Humidity

Celosia plants love the heat and die when the temperature drops into the 40s. They prefer high humidity—up to 90 percent during summer months.


Apply a general-purpose fertilizer at planting time. After planting, apply a fertilizer that contains more phosphorus than nitrogen monthly.


The plant holds onto the blooms until they have dried. They must be manually removed to keep the plants looking attractive and fresh.

Pests and Problems

Overall, celosias 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).

A word of caution: Don't be too rough with these plants, as the stems are succulent and prone to breakage.

How to Propagate Celosia

Celosia is easily grown from seed or cuttings, and growing a variety of celosia adds a splash of color to your 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 new varieties are only available from cuttings, so you won't find seeds to grow them.

Types of Celosia

'Amigo Red' Celosia

'Amigo Red' Celosia
Graham Jimerson

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

'Flamingo Feather' Celosia
Peter Krumhardt

Celosia 'Flamingo Feather' grows 4 feet tall and bears candle-type pink flowers that dry well.

'Fresh Look Yellow' Celosia

'Fresh Look Yellow' Celosia

BHG / Kelli Jo Emanuel

Celosia 'Fresh Look Yellow' grows about 20 inches tall and bears abundant plume-type yellow flowers.

'Intenz' Celosia

'Intenz' Celosia

BHG / Kelli Jo Emanuel

Bright fuchsia candles cover Celosia 'Intenz' all season, and the plants usually reach 12–16 inches tall.

'Fresh Look Red' Celosia

'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

Red Celosia
Peter Krumhardt

Celosia 'New Look' bears red plumes and beautiful purple-tinged foliage. It grows 14 inches tall.

'New Look Red' Celosia

'New Look Red' Celosia

BHG / Kelli Jo Emanuel

Celosia 'New Look Red' grows 20 inches tall and bears red flowers over burgundy-red foliage.

Celosia Companion Plants


white angelonia
David Speer

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 and are 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. If you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can keep it flowering all winter.

African Marigold

african marigold

BHG / Kelli Jo Emanuel

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.


moss rose nasturtiums
Peter Krumhardt

Nasturtiums are so versatile. They grow easily from seeds 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do celosia plants bloom in the garden?

    They bloom from early summer until the first frost. Deadheading the plant during this time encourages it to make new blooms.

  • How long do celosia plants live as houseplants?

    Unfortunately, 12 months is about it. After blooming, the plant declines and eventually dies.

  • What are other names for celosia?

    The plant is also known as cockscomb, quail grass, feather cockscomb, fairy fountain, and feathered amaranth.

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