January-Plumes of Celosia
Celosia, a member of the Amaranthaceae family, has over 40 species so it would be very easy to get caught up in the varied details of each species. We will concentrate on the two most common species found in our garden centres: C. cristata & C. plumosa.
Celosia cristata, commonly known as the Cockscomb, is crested and patterned closely to that of the brain. Celosia plumosa has feathery flowers shaped like a flame or a cone.
If Bold, Bright and Striking is what you are after, then these are the annuals for you. The colours of red, orange, yellow, hot pink, rose, mahogany and magenta are vivid and remain so for about eight weeks. These flowers do not fade in our hot African sun. Be sure to remove dead flowers to encourage more flowering.
Celosias prefer to grow slightly drier rather than wetter. They are susceptible to root fungus so avoid over watering and ensure they are planted in well draining soil. Celosias require full sun. Plant in Spring to give you a full season of sensationally striking colour. Remove plants in late autumn and/or after the first frost. They do not like the cold!
Celosias used to be thought of as weeds, however due to modern hybridising techniques, they are now sterile and there is no risk of them escaping and become a pest to our local fauna. They are exceptionally hardy little plants and are very wind tolerant so this would be a particularly good choice for gardens exposed to strong winds as well as coastal gardens.
Did you know?
In the Victorian Language of Flowers Celosias, in general, symbolise humour, warmth and silliness. Specifically, C. plumosa – immortality and/or unfading love and C. cristata – foppery; affectation and singularity