Keep up to date with

Special Gift Offer
URL:
http://www.gardengatemagazine.com/newsletter/2020/07/02/how-to-grow-celosia/
Share:

How to Grow Celosia

By: Sherri Ribbey
Celosia’s unique flowers will make you look twice! Learn about the 3 different types of celosia flowers and how to use them to add flair to your garden.

3 different types of celosia flowers: There are three different types of celosia flowers including Plume (left), Cockscomb (middle) and Wheat (right).

Get to know celosia

Want flowers that last for up to a month in stunning colors and striking shapes? Learn how to grow celosia (Celosia argentea cristata). This tender perennial remains undaunted in the summer sun and produces a bounty of blooms to enjoy in the garden and in a vase. You can even dry a few as a reminder of warm summer days once winter sets in.

3 common names for celosia’s different flower types:

  • Plume celosia has soft feathery flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink and magenta.
  • Cockscomb celosia has crests of wrinkled-looking blooms that you’ll find in red, orange, yellow, pink, magenta and bicolors.
  • Wheat celosia, as you might guess, looks a bit like wheat. It flowers in shades of pink or red-purple and often self-sows with the right growing conditions.

Many celosias are part of a series and you can easily find them at the garden center. Mail-order sources are a great place to look for heirlooms and taller varieties, which are often grown as cut flowers.

You Might Also Like:
Easy Flowers to Grow
Long Lasting Anuals for Your Garden
How to Use Fertilizer in Your Garden

Celosia seedlings

How to grow beautiful celosia

You’ll find lots of celosia varieties at the garden center but most are bedding types. Starting them from seed provides you with even more colors, shapes and sizes. Once you get plants in the ground celosia isn't fussy. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll have beautiful blooms from early summer until first frost kills the plants.

Growing tips

  • Grow celosia in full sun - at least 6 to 8 hours a day.
  • Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil keeps plants growing strong.
  • Use a liquid plant food every couple of weeks, especially if it’s been rainy or really hot: Lots of rain can wash away nutrients and temperatures above 95 degrees F slow growth.
  • You may need to stake taller varieties, especially the cockscomb types with their heavy blooms. Push a bamboo stake in the ground within a few inches of the stem at planting time and attach it with a piece of twine in a figure-eight pattern as it grows.

Celosia flower know-how

Though celosia flowers can last up to a month, they still need deadheading to speed new ones along. Blooms start to fade from the bottom up so when the bottom third to half is done, remove it at the leaf joint. This encourages side stems to take off more quickly, and plants won’t waste energy producing seed.

Harvest cut flowers when the blooms are fully mature and they’ll last for weeks in a vase. Just be sure to use a floral preservative or change the water frequently to avoid rotting stems. If you just can’t let your celosia go in fall, you can bring some plants inside and enjoy the blooms for a few more weeks. But once they fade, toss the plants — celosia doesn’t overwinter well.

You Might Also Like:
Seed-Starting Tips from Our Readers
Coneflower Growing Guide
Growing Peonies

Drying celosia flowers: Position the flowers at different levels in the bunch so air circulates and the blooms aren't damaged.

How to dry celosia flowers

Dried celosia blooms make a beautiful addition to late-season flower arrangements, imagine them on your thanskgiving tablescape! Follow these simple tips and you should have dried blooms in about a month.

  • Harvest mature blooms that haven’t set seed yet in the morning after the dew has dried.
  • Cut the longest stem you can and place it in a bucket of water until you get back inside.
  • Bundle six to eight stems together with a rubber band and hang them upside down to keep the stems straight in a warm, dry location such as an attic or shed.
  • Position the flowers at different levels in the bunch so air circulates and the blooms aren't damaged.
  • Keep the flowers out of direct light to help preserve the color.
  • Space bundles to allow good air circulation and avoid mold.

Troubleshooting celosia

There are few pests or diseases that bother celosia. The most common problem is rot and that’s usually because plants are growing in poorly drained soil or watered too much. Also, wait until early summer to buy your plants at the garden center. Get them too early and cool temperatures and plentiful rain could stunt their growth or rot. Here's what to look for:

  • Wilted foliage even though plants have been watered
  • Moist looking brown spots and a decayed crown

How to use celosia in your garden

Celosia’s neon colors and unusual flower shapes might give you pause when it comes to working them into beds and borders. Let’s take a look at a few of the different types and how you might use them.

Fresh Look Yellow celosia mass planting: Fresh Look Yellow celosia is known for its long bloom time and large central flowers that can grow up to 9 in. long and 6 in. wide.

Turn heads with a mass planting

Growing a big group of brightly colored plume celosia is a sure way to create drama. These softly sculpted spikes are often sold as bedding plants in multipacks. Plant a flat or two of fiery Fresh Look Yellow in the photo above, near the front door to grab visitors’ attention and point the way. That sunny sweep of color lasts from late spring until frost kills the plants and makes great curb appeal, too.

Try more plume celosia

Add size to the “wow!” factor with a grouping of taller celosia, such as the 2- to 4-foot Sunday® Mix or the Bombay® series midborder.

Intenz wheat celosia: The spikey flower shape of Intenz wheat celosia provides a strong shape contrast with the globe amaranth making it a more dynamic combination.

Add spikes for excitement

Clusters of flower spikes from wheat celosia, such Intenz above, give this planting of globe amaranth plenty of pizzazz. Adding a softer color along with the vibrant celosia hue helps tone down the intensity a bit.

Try more wheat celosia

‘Flamingo Feather’ is an old favorite with a similar flower shape but the blooms aren’t as densely packed. Flowers start out pale pink opening from the bottom up and age to white. Though ‘Flamingo Feather’ is known for producing an abundance of blooms, its habit can get a bit wild looking. Grow it with a denser plant, such as zinnias, to mask the irregular shape.

You Might Also Like:
Statement Plants for Your Garden
Go Bold with Mass Plantings
Garden Plans

Twisted orange cockscomb celosia: The bright color and out-of-the-ordinary shape of Twisted Orange cockscomb celosia makes it a great focal point plant.

Grow a fascinating focal point

You can’t miss Twisted Orange cockscomb celosia among its foliage companions in this container. Those bright orange blooms in that convoluted shape are some of the most unusual you’ll find. Have a smaller pot? Fill it with the dwarf varieties, such as ‘Amigo’ or ‘Kimono’, these two series grow just 6- to 12-inches tall.

Try more cockscomb celosia

When you want eye-catching blooms in the border look for ‘Red Velvet’ cockscomb celosia. Its strong 3 to 4 feet tall stems hold deep red blooms that last for weeks. Or try the slightly smaller ‘Cramer’s Lemon Lime’ that gets just 2 to 3 feet tall.

Meet the family

Check out this gallery of top celosia varieties that you can use to bring some vibrant color or head-turning shapes to your borders and containers.

‘Fresh Look Gold’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

‘Fresh Look Gold’ is loaded with 4 to 5 in. plumes in summer and they last so long you probably won't need to deadhead it.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms color and shape from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 12 to 14 in. tall, 6 to 9 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Ice Cream Salmon (Celosia argentea cristata)

The pint-sized Ice Cream series makes a great bedding plant that will provide color all season and they're a great size for containers. You'll usually find the Ice Cream series sold as a mix of colors; Yellow, Orange, Cherry, Pink and Salmon, above.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Salmon, Yellow, Orange, Cherry and Pink plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 10 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Twisted Orange (Celosia argentea cristata)

The vivid orange blooms of Twisted Orange cockscomb celosia look great all summer and are still going strong just when you want the perfect touch for fall containers - just add a pumpkin.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Bright orange cockscomb blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 16 to 20 in. tall, 12 to 14 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Kurume™ Corona (Celosia argentea cristata)

Part of the Karume seris, Corona has big 2 to 4 in. cockscomb blooms that look great cut or dried. Plants are super heat- and drought-tolerant.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Yellow and red bicolor cockscomb flowers from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 30 to 48 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Intenz Classic (Celosia argentea cristata)

This versatile wheat celosia can grow indoors or out so you'll sometimes see it sold as a gift plant.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Pink-purple blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 15 to 18 in. tall, 9 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Asian Garden’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This vigorous wheat celosia branches well which means you’ll have lots of those pretty deep pink blooms that hold their color all season.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep pink blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 30 to 42 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Arrabona Red’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This award-winning variety has done well in various trial gardens, showing exceptional heat- and humidity tolerance. It branches well which means plenty of those bright flowers that are held just above the foliage.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 10 to 14 in. tall, 10 to 15 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Dragon's Breath’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

In addition to green-red foliage that looks good all season, ‘Dragon's Breath’ celosia has long-lasting bright red blooms that will bring some intensity to your pots and borders. The more sun, heat and humidity the plants get the redder the leaves become.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 20 to 24 in. tall, 14 to 16 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Tornado Red’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

The big 8- to 9-in. rich red blooms of 'Tornado Red' make a great focal point in borders. Its long stems are perfet for cutting and the flower color holds well if you want to dry a few to add to late-season wreaths or bouquets.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red cockscomb flowers from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 16 to 24 in. tall, 12 to 16 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Dracula’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

Can you say drama? 'Dracula' has one dynamic 6 to 7 in. long bloom per plant and the more sun the foliage gets, the deeper red the leaves become.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep red cockscomb blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 16 in. tall, 8 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Pink Candle’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This wheat celosia has clusters blooms on long stems that make it a good cut flower that can be dried, too.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Silvery white to pink wheat blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 24 to 36 in. tall, 6 to 8 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Fresh Look Gold’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

‘Fresh Look Gold’ is loaded with 4 to 5 in. plumes in summer and they last so long you probably won't need to deadhead it.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms color and shape from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 12 to 14 in. tall, 6 to 9 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Arrabona Red’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This award-winning variety has done well in various trial gardens, showing exceptional heat- and humidity tolerance. It branches well which means plenty of those bright flowers that are held just above the foliage.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 10 to 14 in. tall, 10 to 15 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Ice Cream Salmon (Celosia argentea cristata)

The pint-sized Ice Cream series makes a great bedding plant that will provide color all season and they're a great size for containers. You'll usually find the Ice Cream series sold as a mix of colors; Yellow, Orange, Cherry, Pink and Salmon, above.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Salmon, Yellow, Orange, Cherry and Pink plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 10 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Dragon's Breath’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

In addition to green-red foliage that looks good all season, ‘Dragon's Breath’ celosia has long-lasting bright red blooms that will bring some intensity to your pots and borders. The more sun, heat and humidity the plants get the redder the leaves become.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red plumes from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 20 to 24 in. tall, 14 to 16 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Twisted Orange (Celosia argentea cristata)

The vivid orange blooms of Twisted Orange cockscomb celosia look great all summer and are still going strong just when you want the perfect touch for fall containers - just add a pumpkin.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Bright orange cockscomb blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 16 to 20 in. tall, 12 to 14 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Tornado Red’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

The big 8- to 9-in. rich red blooms of 'Tornado Red' make a great focal point in borders. Its long stems are perfet for cutting and the flower color holds well if you want to dry a few to add to late-season wreaths or bouquets.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red cockscomb flowers from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 16 to 24 in. tall, 12 to 16 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Kurume™ Corona (Celosia argentea cristata)

Part of the Karume seris, Corona has big 2 to 4 in. cockscomb blooms that look great cut or dried. Plants are super heat- and drought-tolerant.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Yellow and red bicolor cockscomb flowers from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 30 to 48 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Dracula’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

Can you say drama? 'Dracula' has one dynamic 6 to 7 in. long bloom per plant and the more sun the foliage gets, the deeper red the leaves become.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep red cockscomb blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 16 in. tall, 8 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Intenz Classic (Celosia argentea cristata)

This versatile wheat celosia can grow indoors or out so you'll sometimes see it sold as a gift plant.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Pink-purple blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 15 to 18 in. tall, 9 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Pink Candle’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This wheat celosia has clusters blooms on long stems that make it a good cut flower that can be dried, too.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Silvery white to pink wheat blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 24 to 36 in. tall, 6 to 8 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

‘Asian Garden’ (Celosia argentea cristata)

This vigorous wheat celosia branches well which means you’ll have lots of those pretty deep pink blooms that hold their color all season.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep pink blooms from early summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 30 to 42 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Related Tags

annuals tender perennials container gardening cutting flower summer

Also in This Newsletter


Last Week’s Newsletter

June 25, 2020

10 Drought-Tolerant Plants

Looking for a water-wise garden? Hot, dry days don't stop the lush foliage and colorful flowers of these tough but gorgeous drought-tolerant plants.

How to Install a Paver Patio

Looking to refresh your patio space? Here’s everything you need to know to build a paver patio — it’s simpler than you might think!