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.