Celosia argentea var. cristata (Plumosa Group)

'China Town'
Common Name: feather celosia 
Type: Annual
Family: Amaranthaceae
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
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Celosia argentea cultivars are typically divided into three general groups: (1) Cristata Group, (2) Plumosa Group, and (3) Spicata Group.

Plumosa Group plants, commonly called feather celosia, plumed celosia or feathered amaranth, 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). Can be found listed under various names including C. argentea var. cristata (Plumosa Group), C. argentea var. plumosa, and C. plumosa

Genus name comes from the Greek word keleos meaning burning for the colorful flowers.

The specific epithet argentea means "silvery", in reference to the shiny, white bracts and tepals of the species. The group name Plumosa means "feathery" in reference to the shape of the inflorescence.

Problems

Susceptible to root rot, particularly in poorly-drained soils. Fungal leaf spot diseases may also occur.

Taller cultivars require staking.

Garden Uses

Mass or group in beds, borders or cutting gardens. Edging. Good fresh cut or dried flower. Containers.