Celosia - Amaranthaceae - How to care for and grow Celosia plants

Celosia - Amaranthaceae - How to care for and grow Celosia plants

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The Celosia, the plants known as cockscomb is plumage amaranth, are widely cultivated in Europe for their spectacular and very colorful inflorescences.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Celosia belongs to family of Amaranthaceaeand includes plants highly valued for theirs very showy inflorescences, colorful and eye-catching that rise above the leaves.

They are plants native to the tropical areas of Asia, Africa and America, annuals.


There are about sixty species in the genus Celosia among which we remember:


There Celosia argentea it is the species from which all the others are derived, native to tropical Asia. It is a plant that reaches a height of one meter with dark green leaves, rough, with evident veins. The flowers are silvery white. Interesting are the countless varieties that are derived from this species:


(considered by several botanists as a species in its own right), known as cockscomb. It is the best known and most widespread species with carmine red or yellow flowers, gathered in spike inflorescences, 10-12 cm wide, whose stem is often fleshy and with bright green leaves (photo below).

The plant takes different names depending on the different countries: in Mexico it is calledflor de terciopelo "Velvet flower"; in Nigeria (and throughout West Africa) it is known as soko yokoto "Make your husband fat and happy", in Spain and Guatemala as it is called in Italy cresta de gallo.

It is a plant used as a traditional food in the countries of West Africa and Southeast Asia. where both leaves and flowers are eaten.


(considered by many botanists as a separate species), known as feathery amaranth, native to tropical Asia, no more than 40 cm tall, very ramified, with fleshy stems, oval leaves and flowers gathered in spiked inflorescences of various colors depending on the variety. The flowers of this species are often dried and preserved as they keep their color for some time (photo below).


In Celosia caracas the inflorescences, typical of the species, are formed by numerous crimson colored flowers. Flowering occurs during the summer.


There Celosia it is a plant that loves light, sun and heat. Optimal growing temperatures are around 20-23 ° C for abundant flowering and full sun exposure when grown outdoors. Inside the house, the same rule applies but be careful that the plant does not receive the sun's rays filtered by the glass (during the hottest season) which, functioning as lenses, would risk burning the plant. Temperatures below 15 ° C begin to create problems for the plant.

In temperate climate regions it is a plant that can also be successfully grown outdoors to adorn flower beds and gardens.


The Celosia they must not be watered much: the soil must be barely moist. Excessive watering can easily cause the roots to rot.

Be careful not to leave water stagnant in the saucer as this would create an asphyxiated environment for the roots of the plant which is in no way tolerated.

In consideration of the fact that it is a plant of tropical origin, it loves humid environments therefore it is advisable, during the hot season, to make frequent nebulizations to the foliage, taking care not to wet the flowers but only the leaves. It is preferable that the canopy irrigations be done early in the morning so that all parts of the plant are dry in the evening.


It is not necessary to repot the Celosia in consideration of the fact that they are plants that are bred as annuals so when transplanting the seedlings obtained from seed, use a mixture formed by a good fertile soil, peat and coarse sand. The optimal pH should be around 6-6.4.


The plants of Celosia, starting from the month of May, fertilization is started using a good liquid fertilizer diluted in the watering once a month. When the plant begins to bloom it is necessary to fertilize more frequently (every two weeks), but slightly reducing the doses compared to what is reported in the package.

Use a fertilizer that has a 3: 1: 2 ratio, i.e. three parts of nitrogen (N), 1 of phosphorus (P) and 2 of potassium (K) which favors a more abundant flowering of the plant.


In the Celosia, in most species, flowering begins towards the end of spring and can continue until late autumn.


In Celosia, to obtain a greater quantity of flowers it is necessary to carry out the topping of the vegetative apexes of the plant which will favor greater branching and therefore a greater number of flowers.


The plants of Celosia they multiply by seed. With this type of propagation it is likely that the plants you will get are not the same as the mother plant as genetic variability takes over. This, however, in this case may not be a handicap as there may be some pleasant surprises.


In early spring (March), place the seeds about 2 mm deep in a good seed soil. To help you do this, you can use a flat piece of wood to bury the seeds or pour a thin layer of earth over it.

The box thus prepared must be placed in an environment where the temperature is constantly around 20 ° C, in partial shade and the soil must be kept constantly moist.

Once the seeds have germinated, move the box to a brighter location but not in direct sun and wait for the seedlings to harden. When they have reached a height of about 3-4 cm they can be planted in single pots and continue to water so that the soil is always barely moist. Generally after a couple of months from sowing the seedlings of Celosiawill have reached a height of 15 cm. At that point they must be raised as if they were adult plants.

Already after six weeks the young plants will begin to bloom.


The plant begins to wither and grows stunted

This symptom indicates either excessive watering or that the fertilizations are not regular or that the plant has been subjected to cold drafts.
Remedies: if the soil is soaked, check the roots of the plant, remove any rotten ones and repot. For the future, better regulate irrigation.
If the cause is not irrigation, then move the plant to a warmer place, without drafts and better adjust the fertilizations according to the indications given in this sheet.

Small mobile insects on all green parts of the plant

Typically these are aphids, better known as lice.

Remedies: it is necessary to intervene with specific pesticides that you can easily find in specialized gardening centers.


The particularity of some species of the genus (in particular the Celosia plumosa), is that the flowers can be dried and retain their color for some time. If you want to dry them, they must be collected when fully ripe and placed in a dark, well-ventilated room upside down. In this way, within a week they will be dry and can be used as a decoration. From personal experience I recommend, once dry, to spray a little hairspray (or spray glue) which keeps the flowers longer.

The name Celosia comes from the Greek keleos «Burning, flaming» for the color of the inflorescences.

Video: How to Sow Seeds of Celosia. Summer Flower. Fun Gardening


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