Belonging to the Amaranthaceae family under the Celosia genus, Celosia or Cockscomb looks more like the comb on a rooster.
Native to South and Central America, Asia, Africa, this plant is treasured by gardeners for its colorful blooms and easy-to-grow properties. Another highlight of this plant is that it can retain its color even after drying out, which makes it an exceptional option for ornamental plants and dried flower arrangements.
Growing Cockcom flowers indoors and outdoors is pretty straightforward, and you would not need to invest all your time caring for them. And although in warm areas, Cockscombs can be utilized as a perennial, you can also grow them as an annual flowering plant.
This beautiful flower can be grown in garden beds, borders, or pots, and it can brighten up any place.
As we stated, growing Celosia is pretty straightforward. However, you should know about their basic information to grow them successfully. In addition, it can help you decide the best time and conditions to grow these plants.
|General name||Cockscomb; Quail Grass|
|Hardiness zones||Zones 9- 12|
|Sunlight||Partial to full|
|Soil requirement||Soil requirement Loamy, moist, and well-drained|
|Soil pH level||Acidic; neutral|
|Maximum height||6 to 24 inches|
|Width||8 to 12 inches|
|Blooming time||Summer to fall|
|Flower color||Pink, red, yellow, white, and orange|
|Native to||South and Central America, Asia, Africa|
Types of Cockscomb Flowers
There are over 50 varieties of Celosia you can choose from. All of them can be grown ideally in gardens and in-house flowering pots. Below, however, are some of the most common types of this plant that you can find in gardens and nurseries.
#1. Celosia Cristata
Celosia Cristata flowers resemble the head of a rooster, which gave it the name of Cockscomb. You can find this flower in various colors, including yellow, carmine red, and white.
#2. Celosia Plumosa
Celosia Plumosas are widely used as dried flowers. They retain their beautiful color long after being dried out.
#3. Celosia Argentea
One of the most commonly used species of Celosia, Celosia Argentea flowers can survive up to six weeks and add dramatic color to your garden beds.
#4. Celosia Caracas
This species of Celosia produces flowers between late summer and autumn. But if you reside in warmer climatic zones, you can get the flower show between fall and spring. The most common colors of Celosia Carars are purple and pink.
#5. Celosia Spicata
You can recognize Celosia Spicata by its long and spikey flowers that grow on the end of long stems. This species looks best when grown as border plants in gardens.
Growing Condition for Cockscomb Flower
Celosia can add dramatic color to your garden as well as inhouse decoration. All you need to know is its planting conditions to grow it successfully.
The Right Place
To start with, we can focus on choosing the right location to plant your Celosia. This is important, as an ideal location would help this plant get the optimal growing condition.
Keeping this in mind, you can choose a location that receives good sun exposure and is clean from any unwanted debris. Also, check if the soil of your chosen area is moist and well-drained, along with having an acidic to neutral pH level.
This plant flourishes better in rich soil. So, if the soil lacks organic matter, you can amend it by mixing a layer of compost before planting. If you want a vibrant color show in your garden, you can combine your plant with annual plants like zinnia, amaranth, etc.
And if you want to give a color wash to your indoor decoration, grow Cockscomb flowers in pots or containers. However, do not forget to place your flower pot in a well-lit location.
Celosia grows best when it gets the optimum sun exposure. This plant, however, can grow even in partial shade. If you are growing Cockscomb indoors, make sure to keep the container near a south-facing window or balcony.
This velvety flowering plant grows best when it gets loamy, moist, well-drained soil. Although watering at a regular interval is essential, be cautious not to make the soil soggy to avoid the issues of fungal infestation.
The ideal pH level of the ground should be between acidic and neutral.
Since Cockscomb plants can grow 8 to 12 inches wide, it is better to keep 6 to 12 inches spacing between two plants. This would prevent any overcrowding.
Temperature & Humidity
Temperature is another crucial thing you should take into consideration before growing your plant.
Cockscomb grows better in warmer climates. However, you can grow this plant like any other annual flowering plant if you reside in colder zones and as a perennial plant in USDA zones 9-11. 65°F to 80°F is the ideal temperature range for Celosia plants.
You don’t need to worry about the humidity level if you grow your plant in zones 9- 11. But if you are planning for indoor Celosia plants, make sure to maintain a relative humidity level of 40%.
Growing Cockscomb Flower
Celosias find it challenging to cope when their habitat is changed. So, it is essential to harden them before planting them in the garden.
However, before commencing to harden off your plants, wait until the soil temperature has reached at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, do not rush into the process if your plant is not growing as per the usual rate and failing to acclimatize with the new surroundings.
But if everything else remains preferable, you can follow the below steps to grow your Cockscomb plant.
- Loosen up the soil of your chosen location and dig a hole big enough to hold the plant’s entire root.
- Carefully transplant the baby plant into the soil. If you transplant a bio-degradable pot, place the whole pot inside the freshly dug hole.
- Place the root inside the hole and cover it with soil. Make sure to level the ground on top of the root ball or slightly below it.
- Remember not to disturb the root system of the newly planted plant.
- Water well to around the root area to keep the soil moist.
If you plan to grow your plant indoors in a pot, the method will remain the same as stated above. Just fill the pot with fresh potting soil and make sure to create drainage holes in the bottom.
Caring for Cockscomb Flower
Apart from routine watering, these plants require very little attention, although they do thrive by some mild grooming and feeding when they bloom to keep them looking beautiful.
The good news for Cockscomb gardeners is that this plant is drought-tolerant. But this should not make you think that watering infrequently would be fine, as, without proper water, the plant won’t produce flowers.
Also, keep in mind that this plant needs well-drained moist soil, making it essential to water it regularly. Ideally, check the soil, and if it feels dry, water only until the top 2 inches to prevent any overwatering.
Amending the soil with natural compost before planting a Cockscomb plant could prove helpful in producing vibrant blooms. On the other hand, it is preferable to use liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing period.
To increase bloom production, you can also use a 15-30-15 combination fertilizer.
You can prune your Celosia to keep it in proper shape and control its height. Pruning involves pinching back the stems, which allows them to grow bushier. You can also remove the wasted blooms to encourage the plant to produce new and vibrant plumes.
Celosias cannot stand cold temperatures. So, if you are growing your plant in a container, it is better to keep it indoors, under bright light, during the winter months.
To preserve moisture in the soil bed, apply at least a 1” to 2″ layer of mulch to trap moisture in the soil, keep it warm and prevent weed growth. Remember to mulch at the beginning of the autumn months for better results.
Pests & Diseases
Your Cockscomb plant can get affected by pests and diseases. So, you must keep an open eye to check any pest infestation. The most common insect that might affect your plant includes Spider mites. Look for fine string-like webbing on leaves and flowers to check if there are any spider mites in your plant.
Provide adequate humidity level and watering to your plant to keep these sap-sucking bugs at bay.
Among the diseases, your plant can get bothered by:
- Powdery mildew
- Root rotting
- Leaf spotting, etc.
To prevent any of the diseases, ensure to :
- Plant your Cockscombs at a spacing of 6- 12 inches.
- Water the root, not the foliage
- Do not overwater
Propagating Cockscomb Flower
Cockscomb flowers can be propagated by steam cuttings as well as by seeds. Follow the below steps to breed these plants successfully.
By Stems Cuttings
- Cut about 2”- 4” of Cockscomb (healthy) stem using sharp garden shears.
- After cutting the stem, remove the bottom pairs of leaves- 2- 3 sets of leaves.
- Fill a container with clean water or sand and place the cutting.
(Note : You can also dip the stem into a rooting hormone solution.)
- Until the roots emerge, place the pot on a well-lit windowsill.
- Once you see the roots emerging, tug on the plant gently, and transplant it in the garden.
Since transplanting Cockscomb plants can be challenging, gardeners often choose to propagate these plants by seeds. Moreover, Celosias are self-seeders; propagating them from the seeds of the spent flowers is pretty straightforward.
- Collect the seeds from mature flowers by just brushing them away.
- Start germinating the seeds at least 8 to 10 weeks before the final frost date.
(Note : If you reside in colder regions, it is better to propagate your plant indoors before shifting them in the garden.)
- Fill a germinating or seedling tray with rich and purified soil.
- Make sure to sprinkle water in the soil to keep it moisturized.
- Now, press the seeds gently into the soil but ensure not to push them hard.
- Do not plant the seeds deep inside, as they need light to germinate.
- Keep the tray in a well-lit spot.
- You can cover the tray with a thin plastic wrap with holes to trap moisture and enable air permeation.
- Mist the soil to keep it moist but do not overwater.
- Once you see the seedlings, remove the plastic wrap and feed them with bright light for at least 12- 16 hours a day.
- Thin out the baby plants to one plant per container or pot when you see true leaves.
- If you plan to grow them in the garden, thin them at least 10 inches apart.
- In the case of indoor plants, make sure to harden them and keep them in warm condition by exposing them to sunlight for 6- 8 hours per day.
Cockscomb plants do not need repotting often, and it is better to avoid it if not utmost essential. We say so because these plants do not stand transplanting well, and they find it difficult to survive in sudden changes in the environment.
However, if you need to repot the plant, do so cautiously not to damage the root system. Before repotting, fill the new pot with rich, well-draining potting soil rather than garden soil, and bury the plant at the same level as it was in its older pot.
Ans. As long as you fulfill the essential requirement of sunlight, water, and temperature, you can quickly grow Cockscomb plants in your garden as well as inside your home.
Ans. You can grow these plants as perennials if you stay in USDA zones 9-11. However, Cockscomb plants are grown as annual flowering plans outside these zones.
Ans. Data regarding Cockckscomb’s toxicity is insufficient. However, this plant is considered to be safe for humans as well as animals like cats. Additionally, this plant is also edible.
Ans. Celosia or Cockscomb can re-grow warmer climates. Nonetheless, they will need to be replanted every year in most climes.
Ans. Your Cockscomb plant can keep on producing vibrant flowers when it gets enough sunlight, water, and nutrients. So, to keep your plant blooming for a long time, you must fertilization it at least every four weeks. Also, you can add natural compost and liquid fertilizer to the soil to boost flower production.
Ans. These plants can survive for up to 10 weeks and live until the first frost.
So, this article was dedicated to growing and caring for the beautiful Cockscomb or Celosia plant. This plant’s bright and eye-catchy, unusually looking flowers will surely add a pinch of drama to your summer landscape.
Grow them as border plants or as in-house ornamental plants. Cockcombs will never disappoint you with their vibrant color show throughout the summer months. And when you are left with mature flowers, dry them up and make flower bokeh to decorate your walls and front door for the winter months and festivity.