Growing And Caring For The Celosia Flower or "Cockscomb"
The celosia flower is extremely attractive, besides being in some respects quite unusual. The name celosia comes from the Greek word meaning burning, and when one is confronted with a bouquet of red, orange, and yellow blossoms, resembling fire, the name is certainly apt.
The celosia species, of which there are about 60, belong to the Amaranthaceae, or amaranth, family. Several of the species and varieties within those species have blossoms, usually crimson or yellow, whose shape is very similar to that of a rooster's or cock's comb, hence the name Cockscomb. The blossoms are quite large, made up of numerous tiny flowers, and are a sight to behold.
The celosia flower is classified as a tropical herbaceous plant, but is grown in most places in North America as an annual. It is only in USDA Zones 10 and 11 that it is possible to grow species of celosia as perennials.
Not all celosia species have the cockscomb appearance. Some blooms are more feathery looking and still others more globular in shape, but all are attractive, and planting several different species in one location can make for a fine display.
Insofar as the cockscomb species and varieties are concerned, plants are available featuring a number of different colored blooms.
One of the more popular mixes is called the "Bombay" mix, a mixture containing seeds of plants featuring 5 different colors:
• Deep red
• Wine red
• Yellow gold
Besides these colors, some of the more common species have cream, magenta, and apricot colored blooms, while several varieties feature bicolored blooms. When one considers the fact that some blooms can be more than a foot across, it's not hard to imagine how dazzling a display they can make.
Can Stand Anything But Cold - While a tropical plant, and a beautiful one to boot, it is anything but fragile.
The celosia plant can grow in nearly any kind of soil and is very drought tolerant. About its only requirement is that it be planted in a location having full sun. The blossoms not only make excellent and long lasting cut flowers, but are perfect for a dried flower bouquet as well.
The celosia is an ideal bedding plant, outstanding when planted in masses, either as a single color or a mix of colors. Many gardeners will tell you that it is nearly a crime to plant celosia in rows, as the plants have so much more to offer when planted in bunches or in mass plantings.
Easy To Start From Seeds - The celosia flower is both a great house plant and a great container plant, especially when mixed or placed with other flower types.
While the plant is usually available at local nurseries, it is easily grown from seeds. The seeds are very tiny and one will usually put more seeds in the ground or in a pot than are needed in any one spot, but the seedlings can easily be thinned out. While one could grow a single plant in a small pot, allowing several seedlings to mature often will result in a more pleasing appearance.
In some areas of the country, seeds can be placed in the ground in late April, but for areas in which there is a definite possibility for a late frost, it is better to start the plants inside, setting them out for brief intervals to harden, starting a about a week before planting them outdoors for good.
While the seeds do not require light to germinate, the seedlings do need light, and the best light indoors is florescent lighting.
Examine Plants Purchased In Packs - If the plants are to be purchased as seedlings, they are usually available in the small 4-packs or 6-packs. It's important to examine the plants before purchasing them to see if any roots are extending from the drainage holes. If this is seen to be the case, it means the plant has become root bound and it should not be purchased, as it will never do well in the garden.
If you want flowers that are:
• Relatively disease and pest free
• Easy to grow
• Drought tolerant
• Looks great in mass plantings, containers, or in the house
• An excellent choice for cut or dried flowers
Give the celosia flower a try. You will not be disappointed.