Celosia look like feathers in Crayola colors!
They are bright-colored, attractive, easy to grow plants we use as annuals in most of the US. (They are perennial in zones 10-11.) The Celosia comes in 60 species from a wide part of the world. So the question is how do I know which will work in my ornamental garden?
The Celosia should bloom for about 10 weeks and will live in the garden until frost. At this point in time you can cut and dry the plants.
Which Of The 60 Species Do I Want?
Fortunately, the answer is easy. For our purposes, there are three types in two of the 60 Genera that we want. Here they are:
- Celosia argenta-celosa plumosa-the kind that looks like Prince of Wales Plumes in an old movie
- Celosia argenta-celosa cristata-with the crested inflorescence, some look like a cockscomb, others like coral
- Celosia spicata- with small spikes
Here Is A Little Chart Showing You Some Of Varieties You Might Like
|Good For Pots
|Some have Bronze Foliage
|Dense Foliage, Uniform Flowers
|Big Chief Series
|Gold, Rose, Persimmon, Red
|Cut Flower, Dried Flower
|Jewel Box Series
|red, pink, orange. yellow,
|good for borders, heat & humidity tolerant
|Smart Look Series
|Romantica, varigated pink, Red, with plum foliage, Nana, red with silver foliage
|Orange, Purple, Red, Yellow
|Purple/Pink fades to pink
|Deep pink, silver edge
|Rose/Purple fades to Silver
|Hybrid of Spicata & Plumera
|Dark Purple Flowers
How We Got Them
Celosia is native to Asia, Africa, as well as North and South America. We know that a dark red version of the plant, of the crested variety, entered Europe in 1570. The 18th century British saw them as a house plant and in Colonial America, we saw them as an addition to the garden. Thomas Jefferson, who could not resist a garden oddity was charmed by them. He said that they looked like the feathers a Prince would use as a symbol.
How Can I Use Them
The smaller varieties are useful in containers and window boxes; They make useful edging along sunny walkways. The taller varieties are popular as cut flowers. You can hang them upside down and dry them. The flowers are pollinator attractors, bringing, bees, butterflies, and sometimes hummingbirds.
How To Grow Them
Celosia are sun-loving plants that tend to tolerate heat and humidity well. The flowers are each long-lasting; they can last as long as eight years. They are easy for us to grow as long as we meet their two essential requirements. They need six to eight hours of sunlight and soil, which has superior drainage. They perform best in fertile soil amended with organic matter.
Plant Celosia in full sun or part shade in well-drained fertile soil. In spring, put the new plants in after the date of your historic last frost. Here is how to find the date for your location.
Fertilizer And Water
Fertilize when you plant with a balanced fertilizer and then again in midseason. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer once per month. Water three to four times a week, often enough to keep the soil from drying out.
Care Of Plants
The flowers are long-lasting. They are tropical plants and prefer summer’s humidity. They will fade at the end of their life and the appearance of the plant is improved by cutting them off.
Pests And Diseases
The most common pests of Celosia are Mites. They are related to spiders and produce web-like strings. They are extremely small and are often not noticed. Mites hide on the underside of foliage and in crevices of plants. They are rapidly reproducing, sucking insects. Look for the plant leaves to turn brown and become brittle.
Two corrective options are an application of Neem Oil or insecticidal soap. Alternatively, consider beneficial insects which attack the mites. Ladybugs are an effective choice.
Two fungal diseases will affect the Celosia and they are not curable.
Leaf Spot-is identified by tan-colored spots on the foliage. Eventually, the leaf spots can become holes. If fungal leaf spot is allowed to spread, enough tissue can be damaged so that the plant cannot perform photosynthesis. If caught before this happens, a copper fungicide can be applied. To prevent the problem, ensure good air circulation between plants and apply water at the ground level and not over the foliage.
Stem Rot-is a soil-borne fungus that can live for a long time in the soil. The damage is often triggered when cool, wet conditions prevail, followed by hot and humid environments. Symptoms of the problem are blackish, gray water spots that appear on the lower foliage and stems of the plant. Eventually, the disease will destroy the stem, and the plant will die. Prevention is the only solution.
Practice good tool hygiene and avoid overhead watering. Follow the spacing instructions for the plant when you buy them. Proper spacing will permit sufficient airflow for the plants to remain healthy.
Celosia provides unusual shapes and colors and adds an exotic touch to your garden but is a simple, long proven plant to deal with. The very long-blooming flowers have a wide variety of uses.
Any plant which tolerates the same sun, humidity and water treatment will make a suitable companion. Some suggestions include Petunia, Ageratum, Marigold and Nasturtium. This will take you to more annual bedding plants.