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    Celosia Plant: Ultimate Care Guide & Best Varieties

    NOTE: Looking for the perfect plant like Celosia? Shop our selection of Celosia plants.
    blog post authorShrish Tariq
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    Colorful celosia plant flower blooms in a row

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    Celosia is a small genus of annual and perennial plants that produce distinct and showy flowers. The beautiful blooms of these herbaceous plants make them ideal for your garden, balconies, indoors, and even in various floral arrangements. In landscapes like pansies, petunias, and marigolds, celosias, especially the cockscomb cultivars, add a dazzling array of colors when grown as a bedding plant. 
    These ornamental flowering plants are called feathery amaranth, cockscomb, king coral, or fire red for their flower texture and color. Because of their beautiful and unique flowers, indoor plant collectors and gardeners are fond of the Celosia species.
    Moreover, these annual herbs are easy to grow and maintain, making them a perfect choice for beginners as the Celosia plant needs full sun,  fertile, and well-draining soils to produce eye-pleasing flowers.
    Let’s learn about the Celosia plant, their care guide, and how to grow them indoors and outdoors.

    What is Celosia Plant?

    Celosia plant or wool flowers, feathered amaranth, and cockscomb are summer annuals or short-lived perennials of tropical regions of the world. They are the happiest and most full bloom plants in warm, sunny, and humid conditions.
    The different flowers of these short-lived annuals are the center of attention in landscapes, butterfly gardens, and other floral arrangements.
    Therefore, the Celosia spp. is grown worldwide by beginners and experts with great enthusiasm.
    With little care and attention, Celosia plants bloom greatly and are worth the effort.
    Are Celosia annual or perennial?
    Celosia are perennial in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. In zones below 9, they can be grown as annuals.
    Do Celosias prefer sun or shade?
    Celosias grow best in full sun (6-8 hours) a day. However, if you live in a highly arid area such as the desert, we do recommend planting your Celosia in partial shade so it can get respite from the scorching sun.
    How big to Celosia plants get?
    At maturity, Celosias can reach a height up to 3 feet tall. The blooms they produce are typically 3 inches in height.

    Celosia Plant Care Guide

    Celosia spp.
    Plumed cockscomb, wool flowers, king coral, red fox, feathery amaranth
    Celosia cristata (cockscomb), Celosia plumosa, Celosia spictata, Celosia argentea (silver cockscomb),
    Amaranthaceae
    East Africa Mediterranean, North and South America, India
    Full sun (6-8hrs)
    Well draining soils with 6 to 6.5 pH levels and high organic matter
    Moderately drought tolerant and medium water requirements
    General purpose fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
    Mature plant height varies between 6 to 36 inches
    Summer, fall, June to first frost
    Vibrant colors like purple, orange, red, white, pink, yellow, maroon
    Blue-green, purple-burgundy, yellow-gold
    Container flower, cut flower displays as fresh and dried, outdoors gardens with raised beds, landscapes
    Non-toxic to humans, pets, and beneficial birds
    Botanical Name
    Common Names
    Popular Ornamental Varieties
    Family
    Native region
    Light
    Soil
    Water
    Fertilizer
    Plant height
    Bloom time
    Flower color
    Foliage color
    Propagation methods
    Uses
    Toxicity
    Where to buy
    Image of flowers
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    Types of Celosia Plants

    Most importantly, when referring to the amaranth family's ornamental flowering plants, all cultivars and varieties are variations of cockscomb Celosia argentea. These Celosia varieties produce distinct flowers of vibrant colors which please the eyes and mood. 
    Based on their flower structure there are three specific types of Celosia: Celosia argentea var. spicata, Celosia argentea var. cristata, and Celosia argentae var. plumosa.

    Celosia 'Spicata' | Silver Cockscomb

    Celosia argentea var. spicata, also known as Wheat Celosia, ‘Flamingo Feather’ is a beautiful summer annual and perennial in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. These plants are famous for their prominent, erect flower spikes resembling the head of grain crops. A mature plant grows up to 12 to 36 inches tall with dark green leaves and a burgundy tint. Unlike other cultivars, the Celosia spictata produce flowers in limited colors.

    Celosia Super Crest Flower

    Celosia argentea var. cristata, or “Mawal,” cockscomb has red, orange, pink, gold, and yellow flowers. They grow between 12 to 36 inches tall with a cristate inflorescence. Their flowers have a coral or brain-like appearance.

    Celosia 'Plumosa'

    Celosia argentea var. plumosa, or feather Celosia, silver cockscomb, and plumed cockscomb are famous for their brightly colored flowers. They have multiple inflorescence stalks with blooms of feathery appearance. A mature plant grows between 8 to 24 inches tall.

    Pick and Choose the Celosia for You!

    Of all the plants in the world, the Celosias have the prettiest appearance and striking flame-like flowers. In summer, the showy flowers of these annuals outshine the sun in gardens and floral arrangements. The following are the popular Celosia varieties to bring vibrancy and a fresh look to your garden:
    • Celosia cristata or ‘Amigo Mahogany Red’ produces crested blooms that are perfect for floral displays as cut flowers
    • Celosia argentea var. globosa or globe amaranth, ‘Sparkler Orange’
    • Celosia spicata or ‘Flamingo Feather’ produces ivory-white plumes with a hint of pink 
    • Celosia plumosa or ‘Fresh Look Gold’
    • Celosia argentea or Intenz Lipstick produces intense purple color plumes that are long-lasting.
    Celosia argentea var. cristata or ‘Arrabona Red’ produces stunning red-orange plumes with a feathery appearance

    What to Plant with Celosia Plants

    Since Celosia plants love full, direct sunlight, it's best to plant them alongside other sun-loving plants like Zinnias, Pentas, Marigolds, Salvia, and Roses. Zinnias are drought tolerant and bloom in yellow, pink, and orange colors very prolifically! They would make a great addition to the colorful blooms of all Celosia varieties.
    They also attract pollinators into your garden. Pentas are low-growing plants which makes them a great filler plant especially if you're planting in containers. Similar to Zinnias, they also attract pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. Celosias can also grow well with Zucchini and Begonias.

    Celosia Uses and Benefits

    Many admire Celosias for their gorgeous flowers while in tropical parts of Africa (Nigeria, Benin, and Congo, these plants consumed as vegetables. Celosia plants have all benefits when used as ornamental plants and vegetables:
    • Young leaves and stems of Celosia argentea are edible and prepared in a dish of green vegetables, including onion, eggplants, fish, palm oil, and hot peppers.
    • Use as medicinal plants to cure worm infections, blood diseases, eye problems, diarrhea, and mouth sores.
    • Unique texture and colors of Celosia blooms make favorite cut bouquets, patio decorations, and floral headpieces.
    Note Icon
    Fun fact: Celosia plants contain a lot of nutrients which is why they are eaten or used as medicine.
    Celosia leaves contain Beta carotene, iron, calcium, ascorbic acid, oxalic acid, vitamin E, and amaranthine.
    Celosia plants in a garden landscape. Bright red flowers.
    Image Source:Photo by Sergey-AND-Marina on Shutterstock.Celosia plants grow well amongst a landscape of other sun-loving annuals and perennials! Pair with low growing, greener filler plants like Pentas to create a more lush landscape.

    How to Grow Celosia Plants

    Cockscomb Celosia grows best from seed in the right growing conditions. Their brightly colored and uniquely shaped Celosia flowers give your garden a neat and stunning look. Moreover, blooms of this annual plant are used as cut flowers for indoor decorations.

    Growing Celosia Plants From Seed

    The best and easy way to reproduce the Celosia plant is by seeds.  Sow the Celosia seeds indoors in trays filled with the high-quality potting mix before the last frost date.
    These plants will have more plumes and grow taller. Cover the trays with plastic wrap to maintain high humidity. At this stage, light exposure does not play any vital role; only warm soil is helpful to start germination. Maintain a daytime temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Follow these in-depth steps to germinate your Celosia seeds:

    01

    Sow the seeds indoors before the last frost is expected. This way, Celosias will produce early blooms with more colors, shapes, and sizes. Use a seed tray or eggshells with a good quality potting soil mix for seed sowing. After spreading seeds, cover them with soil about one-inch layer.

    02

    Maintain the daytime temperatures at around 80°F to stimulate germination. It is because the Celosia seeds need warm soil to germinate. Keep the soil moist with regular misting. Also, cover the seed trays with plastic wraps to maintain high humidity levels.

    03

    Once the seedlings develop, perform thinning out—remove the weakest seedlings and only keep the healthy ones.

    04

    Transplant these seedlings directly into the garden soil or raised beds and temperatures are around 55°F (only when the danger of frost has passed), or repot them in containers. At this stage, containers are unsuitable because they may stunt their growth and kill the young plants.

    05

    Plant the seedlings at a distance of 8 to 12 inches to provide healthy growing space.

    06

    When transplanting these seedlings outdoors, choose a warm garden site with full sun exposure of at least 8 hours, followed by the afternoon shade.

    07

    Garden soil should be fertile, well-drained, and have pH levels of 6 to 6.5.

    08

    Fertilize the garden soil with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer when transplanting to boost nutrient levels.

    09

    Regularly water your Celosia garden seedlings and ensure not to overwater them because water stress can kill the plant (these annual herbs have tender roots).
    Pro Tip Icon
    Pro Tip: Apply organic mulch to prevent growth of weeds.
    Apply organic mulch around the top of garden soil to prevent the growth of unwanted plants or weeds. Otherwise, these plants compete with your Celosia plant for nutrients and growth.

    Growing Celosia in a Container or Pot

    Similar to outdoors, Celosia plants can be produced by seeds indoor containers or pots. To develop and successfully maintain the Celosia plant in containers.

    01

    Plant the seeds in a container filled with fresh potting mix and cover it with ¼ inch of vermiculite.

    02

    Keep the growing medium moist and maintain high humidity by wrapping the pot with a plastic cover.

    03

    Maintaining the temperatures at 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit help in the seed germination within 7 to 10 days.

    04

    After germination, regularly water your Celosia plant and ensure the soil is dry between each watering. Fertilize it monthly to encourage growth. 

    05

    Once the Celosia plant matures, each cockscomb stalk consists of hundreds of tiny flowers and makes a full bloom.
    Pro Tip: Be cautious with over watering celosia plants!
    Water the Celosia plant wisely because they are susceptible to damping-off and root rot.

    How to Care for Celosia Plants

    Whether Celosia plants are indoors or outdoors, they are easy to care for. These low-maintenance plants are drought tolerant (intolerant to frost) and decorate the garden center during summer. They need well-drained and fertile soils with eight hours of full sun exposure.
    Cockscomb Celosia is summer annuals or perennials in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. When these beautiful plants are in outdoor containers, bring them indoors before the first frost of the season and only relocate when the risk of the last frost has passed.
    The following growing factors are critical for the various types of Celosia (wheat, plumed, and cockscomb).

    💧 Water

    Cockscomb Celosias are drought-tolerant plants and can survive drier soil conditions. On the other hand, these summer annuals are sensitive to overwatering because overly moist conditions attract the root rot fungus. They need consistently moist and well-drained soils to bloom happily and healthily.
    Pro Tip Icon
    Pro Tip: Let topsoil dry in between waterings.
    Note: Water only when the top two inches of the soil is dry, and use a garden hose to thoroughly moist the soil during the growing season.

    ☀️ Sunlight

    Celosias are full sun plants and need a sun exposure of 8 hours for maximum growth. Always select the garden sites with maximum daylight for wool flowers. They do tolerate partial shade but produce more excellent blooms in full sunlight.

    🌱 Soil

    The best soils for Celosia plants are well-draining, loamy, and rich in organic matter. Such soils are warm and support seed germination. When preparing the soil for cockscomb Celosia, mix equal parts of perlite (improves drainage), peat moss (retains the moisture), and cow manure or organic mulch  (increases nutrient levels). These organic soil amendments help the plant to produce more colorful plumes.

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    Celosias are plants from warm, humid climates and can tolerate fewer water conditions. These are popular summer plants grown as flower annuals; however, they tolerate the winters of hardiness zones 10 and 11. The ideal temperature for these flowering plants is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Celosia plants prefer high humidity (up to 90%) during warm months. While indoors, the relative humidity levels of 40% are perfect for showy blooms.

    🌻 Fertilizer

    When planting, fertilize the soil with general-purpose fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 (NPK) once a week or add organic matter as soil amendments. Nitrogen-heavy fertilizer provides the nutrients to help Celosia's foliage grow, whereas high Phosphorus encourages bigger and fuller blooms.
    Once the plant is established and healthy, apply the fertilizer with a high ration of phosphorus for bushier and more colorful blooms.

    😎 Pruning and Maintenance

    During the growing season, Celosia blooms and stems need regular pinching out and deadhead to encourage bushier plant growth and new healthy plumes. The deadheading of spent flowers prevents self-seeding (Celosias can grow for multiple years with this process) and assists the emergence of new ad vibrant flowers.
    Take these cut flowers for indoor decorations, flower headpieces, and bouquets. To keep the flower fresh, change the vase's water and stay for up to two weeks.
    Also, tether the large and heavy plumes of taller Celosia varieties (a process known as stalking) to prevent falling on the ground or prune them off for new stems.

    How to Propagate Celosia Plant from Cuttings

    Celosia plants can be propagated through cuttings within 3 to 4 weeks. To multiply through cuttings:

    01

    Using sterilized shears, cut 4 to 6 inches off the top of the stem.

    02

    Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.

    03

    Place the cutting in water to cover the bottom from which leaves are removed.

    04

    Once the root hairs develop from the water-covered part, transplant the cutting directly into the soil.
    Pro Tip Icon
    Pro Tip: Deadhead fading blooms!
    When the plant matures, prune off the weak branches to encourage new growth and deadhead the old and spent flowers to grow more vibrant and fresh plumes. Also, stake the taller flower stalks to prevent falling due to heavy rain and wind.

    Common Celosia Problems and Pests

    Celosia plants with fuschia blooms.
    Image Source:Photo by Alex Dmr on ShutterstockCelosia plants can also be easily propagated through cuttings when mature!

    Celosia plants get insect pest infestations and fungal diseases when water-stressed, under poor soil, and with insufficient light. These pests and infections are easy to manage when detected at early stages.
    The following are Celosia plants' most common and deadly problems:

    Leaf Spot

    Brown leaf spots appear when spores of fungus land on wet leaves during cool and humid conditions. These spots appear tan, dark brown, and black depending upon the infection stage. To prevent the spread of fungal and bacterial spores, remove the infected leaves and flower stalks. Maintain good air circulation and water regularly to keep the plant healthy and prevent diseases. 

    Stem Rot or Rhizoctonia Root

    Stem rot fungus lives in the soil as dormant spores until the right conditions start the infection cycle. Wet and cool weather and warm, humid conditions stimulate spore germination. They infect the Celosia plant stem near the soil, and dark brown lesions appear. The lesions merge to cover the entire stem as the infection proceeds. Thus, causing the wilting of plant parts above the infected part.
    Rhizoctonia also infects the Celosia leaves when there is high relative humidity and turns the foliage into yellow and dark brown (infection progression and death of leaf tissues).
    To avoid stem rot, maintain good air circulation and soil drainage,  and increase sunlight exposure. Do not overwater the established plants, and water them moderately.

    Root Rot

    Too much moisture also brings problems for the Celosia plant, which is root rot. The overly wet soils block nutrient absorption, leading to salt toxicity.
    Because of oxygen block, such conditions encourage leaf yellowing, wilting of roots, and aboveground plant parts. Therefore, water only the Celosia plant when the top inches of the soil surface is dry to discourage root rot.

    Pests

    The most destructive problems for Celosia plants are spider mites, aphids, and nematodes (sap-sucking creatures through stylet). Nematodes, such as Meloidogyne incognita, attack the tender roots of seedlings, inhibit their growth, and prevent Celosia plants from reaching maturity.
    Like nematodes, mites are also more troublesome because they thrive in warm, humid conditions similar to these tropical plants. Spider mites damage includes discolored, dry, and brittle leaves. Spray your plant with neem oil and insecticidal soap when tiny pale spots appear on leaves.

    📚 Celosia Care Cheat Sheet

    Cockscomb Celosias are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plants with stunning velvety flowers. Follow the five tips to keep them happy and healthy:
    • Plant Celosias in organically rich and well-drained soils to achieve healthy blooms.
    • Always grow Celosia in full sun—exposure of eight-plus hours per day is perfect.
    • Fertilize the plant with liquid or granular fertilizer on a rainy or hot day.
    • Keep the soil moderately moist, but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
    • When cockscomb is entirely mature with the heavy blooms, stalk the taller branches to prevent falling.

    Where to Buy Celosia?

    Celosia plants are immensely decorative for indoors and summer butterfly gardens. They have showy, plume-like, or crested flowers of vibrant colors, which makes them ideal for floral arrangements, cut flowers, and headpieces.
    To get these low-maintenance Celosia plants, visit Neverland.

    FAQs for Celosia Plants


    How long do Celosia plants last?
    Celosia blooms last for almost ten weeks until the first frost; then, they can be dried to use in various events.
    Is the Celosia plant edible?
    Yes, Celosia plants are edible (leaves) before flowering when leaves are tender and taste like spinach. In Africa, they are mainly grown as a vegetable than flowering plants.
    How tall do Celosia plants grow?
    Celosia plants grow between 8 to 36 inches tall.
    How long will Celosia live indoors?
    Celosia plants are annuals indoors and complete their life cycle within twelve months, from spring to blooming in three months, and then die back in winter.
    Do Celosia plants come back every year?
    Celosia plants are annuals, not perennials, and do not come every year until you sow seeds indoors before six weeks of spring. While outdoors, they may come every year in spring due to self-seeding.
    Image of flowers
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