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Celosia Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

Article by Dean Ravenscroft, Ph.D. - Updated 22nd Nov 2023

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Celosia plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

At a Glance: Celosia
  • Plant Characteristics: Celosia offers vibrant, feathery plumes and unique foliage, adding a burst of color to any garden. Its long-lasting blooms and variety of colors make it a popular choice among gardeners.
  • Ideal Growing Conditions: Thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. It is heat-tolerant, making it perfect for warm climates or sunny garden spots.
  • General Care: Requires minimal care, with regular watering and occasional fertilizing for best results. Deadheading encourages more blooms.
  • Tips for New Gardeners: Cockscomb is ideal for beginners, due to its ease of care and resilience. Focus on providing plenty of sunlight and avoiding waterlogged soil for optimal growth.

Cockscomb: Cultivation & Garden Use

The Celosia flower is a half hardy annual that reaches from one to four feet (30 cm to 1.2 m) in height.

Celosia plants are also known as Cockscomb and flower from summer and on into the early autumn.

They have flowers of yellow or pink. It is best to grow cockscomb plants in large groups.

Celosia argentea
Celosia argentea | Keitou by Kunta Tokyo.

Celosia cristata
Celosia cristata by Muffet.

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Celosia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Cockscomb, Yellow Toreador, Woolflower, Mfungu.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual.
Height: 12 to 48 inches (30 to 120 cm).
Native: Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 10.
Flowers: Summer and early autumn.
Flower Details: Pink, yellow, red, orange. Amaranth-like.
Foliage: Green, Maroon. Veined.
Sow Outdoors: Cover seeds. Following last frost. Spacing 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm).
Sow Indoors: Use Peat pots. Germination time: five days to two weeks. Temperature 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C). Six to eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 6 to 7. Moist soil. Ordinary soil. Regular watering to maintain a moist soil. Light feed during whilst growing.
Family: Amaranthaceae.
Miscellaneous: Used as a food plant in India, West Africa, South America and parts of Southeast Asia. This genus has many medicinal uses including the treatment of tapeworm and mouth sores.

How to Grow Celosia

If planning to grow Cockscomb outdoors from seed then it is best to sow them in a partially shaded or sunny area of the garden before the last frost of spring.

Once sown then celosia seeds should be covered.

They prefer soils that are moist with a pH of 6 to 7. If you plan to grow Celosia seedlings indoors first then they should be prepared about 7 or 8 weeks before planting then out after the last frost of spring.

They take around one to two weeks to germinate at a temperature of about 22 to 24°C.

The plants should be spaced from 30 to 45 cm apart depending upon the size of celosia species.

Caring for Celosia species such as Cockscomb

To ensure good growth of cockscomb the soil should be kept moist and a light feed given throughout the period of growth.

Common Questions

How many members does the Celosia genus have?

The Celosia genus comprises about 60 species, known for their vibrant and uniquely shaped flowers.

Do members of Celosia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Celosia species are wonderful for adding color and texture to borders, containers, and bedding schemes.

Which Celosia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Species like Celosia argentea (Cockscomb) are popular for their vibrant, feather-like or brain-like flowers.

Are members of the Celosia plant genus fragrant?

Celosia plants are not typically known for their fragrance but are prized for their showy, brightly colored flowers.

What is the perfect location to grow Celosia?

Celosia loves heat and full sun with well-drained soil. They are excellent plants for hot, sunny spots in the garden.

Is Celosia invasive in the USA?

At present, Celosia is not considered invasive in the USA. However, some species can self-seed prolifically under the right conditions.

How do I remove Celosia plants from my garden?

To remove Celosia, pull up the plants and make sure to remove any seeds, which can spread the plant.

Summary

The Celosia genus, part of the Amaranthaceae family, is native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and South America. These annual plants are known for their vibrant, flame-like flowers in various colors that bloom from summer to frost, and their brightly colored foliage.

To grow Celosia, plant them in a sunny location with well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds sown in spring. Regular watering is necessary. They are often used in borders, containers, or as bedding plants for their continuous summer color and unique flower shapes.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Celosia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Globe Amaranth and Atriplex plants.

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