Common Name: feather celosia
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: Orange, red, purple, yellow and cream
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Annual
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil
Celosia is a tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. It is grown in the St. Louis area as a warm weather annual. It is easily grown in humusy, moderately fertile, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade and dry soils. Thrives in hot and humid St. Louis summers. Seed may be sown directly in the garden after last spring frost date. For earlier bloom, start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Set out seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date. Taller cultivars should be planted in locations sheltered from strong winds. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom.
Celosia argentea var. cristata is currently divided into four different groups: (1) Plumosa Group, (2) Cristata Group, (3) Childsii Group and (4) Spicata Group. Plumosa Group plants (commonly called feather celosia, plumed celosia or feathered amaranth) are old garden favorites that feature narrow-pyramidal, plume-like flower heads (4-10” long) composed of tiny, densely-packed, vividly-colored flowers. Flower colors include bright shades of orange, red, purple, yellow and cream. Flowers bloom throughout summer into fall (sometimes to frost) on erect stems clad with spear-shaped green to red-purple leaves. The flower heads sometimes project an artificial, almost plastic-like appearance that, to some gardeners, may border on the gaudy. Plumosa Group cultivars range in size from dwarf to tall (8-36”). Selections include Kimono Series (to 8”) and Century Series (to 2’) plus individual cultivars of merit such as ‘Apricot Brandy’ (pale orange flowers to 20” with green-purple leaves), ‘Forest Fire’ (scarlet flowers to 24” with maroon leaves), and ‘New Look‘ (red flowers to 14” with purple-bronze leaves). Genus name comes from a Greek word meaning “burning” in probable reference to flower head appearance.
No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to root rot, particularly in poorly-drained soils. Fungal leaf spot diseases may also occur. Taller cultivars require staking.
Mass or group in beds, borders or cutting gardens. Edging. Good fresh cut or dried flower. Containers.