Richly colored tropical plants, some with flower clusters in bizarre shapes. In cut arrangements, celosias are attractive with other flowers, but in gardens they are most effective by themselves. Dry cut blooms for winter bouquets. Sow seed in place in late spring or early -summer, or set out started plants. Plants will bloom by summer.
- Two kinds of cockscombs are derived from this species, which has silvery white flowers and narrow leaves to 2 inches or longer.
- One group, the plume cockscombs (often sold as Celosia 'Plumosa'), has plumy flower clusters.
- Some of these (sometimes sold as Chinese woolflower or Celosia 'Childsii') have flower clusters that look like tangled masses of yarn.
- Flowers come in brilliant shades of pink, orange red, gold, crimson.
- You can get forms that grow 2123 feet high and 112 feet wide.
- Dwarf, more compact selections grow about 1 feet high and half as wide; they bear heavily branched plumes.
- In the humid South, plume cockscombs are prone to rot and usually short-lived.
The other celosia group is the crested cockscombs (often sold as Celosia 'Cristata'). These have velvety, fan-shaped flower clusters, often much contorted and fluted. Flowers are yellow, orange, crimson, purple, or red. Tall kinds grow to 3 feet tall and 112 feet wide, dwarf selections to 10 inches high and 6 inches wide. Crested cockscombs perform much better in the South than plume cockscombs.
- Plant is covered in small silvery pink and purple spikes; it looks like a tall wild grass with elegant flowers.
- Ideal for a natural planting or rock garden and good for drying.
- Reseeds readily.
- Reaches 312 feet high, just 6 inches wide.
- Selections include 'Flamingo Feather' (soft pink to white), 'Flamingo Purple' (purple spikes and dark reddish green leaves), and 'Pink Candle' (rose-pink spikes).