Celosia is such a fun flower to grow in your garden. I grow celosia each year for its texture but also because it is a great dried flower that holds its color well. There are many beautiful types of celosia to grow and dry.
My first year growing only flowers on the farm, I bought some beautiful TX Plume Summer Sherbert celosia seeds from Floret. They were a great first crop of celosia to grow and hooked me from the beginning. I have tried out new varieties of celosia every year since.
I quickly found out how invaluable celosia are for working with dried flowers. They hold their color and form and work well in wreaths, jewelry, and bouquets.
Care & Maintenance
Celosia is a heat-loving annual. It does really well in hot and sunny environments. I start celosia seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost using a heat mat and plant seedlings out when the soil and air temperatures are truly warm, 65-70 degrees. I plant seedlings in a sunny location spaced 6-8" apart if planting for cut flowers and 8-12" for a garden bed. You can sow celosia seeds directly into the soil, but it is recommended that you transplant seedlings.
You can plant successions of celosia in order to have flowers all summer.
Make sure to pinch varieties that are branching, crested and plume types (see below). Do not pinch flamingo feather or varieties that do not branch, which are wheat types.
Harvest celosia using clean snips into a clean bucket with clean water. Harvest early in the morning or in the evening. Snip deeply into the plant to force the plant to branch and create longer stems. If harvesting a single stemmed variety such as Flamingo Feather, cut at the base of the stem.
Harvest the flowers when about half of the flower has opened. If you wait too long, the flower head will have begun to develop seeds, which will break off from the flowers when it dries. The Flamingo Feathers below have begun to go to seed.
According to this article, celosia should be harvested with two or three leaves left on the stem, which help pull water up the stem.
Other things to consider
Celosia can be grouped into three groups with plumes, wheat, and crested. I have grown all three and love each kind. The crested and wheat varieties can develop seed that will stay true to the parent plant. The plume varieties will easily cross, if you are growing multiple varieties.
Celosia does not have many pests and diseases. If something is damaging the celosia, keep an eye out for aphids. Lacewing larvae can be released before an aphid problem gets out of control.
There are so many beautiful flowers you can grow. I hope that you add celosia to your list of flowers to try for next summer.
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.