Celosia: Cockscomb, Prince of Wales’ feathers

Height 10-60cm (4-24in)

Planting distance 23-30cm (9-12in)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Rich well-drained soil

Sheltered sunny site

Half-hardy annual

Celosia has large, bright, crested or plumed flowers in reds, oranges and yellows. The varieties with crested flowers are commonly called cockscomb, the plumed ones Prince of Wales’ feathers. Both types make excellent bedding or pot plants.

Popular varieties

All garden varieties have been developed from C. argentea var. cristata or C.a. Var. plumosa.

‘Apricot Brandy’ has deep orange plumed flowers on branching plants 50cm (20in) high.

‘Dwarf Fairy Fountains’ has plumed flowers in pastel shades. The plants are 30-38cm (12-15in) high.

‘Flamingo Feather’ grows to 60cm (2in) tall and bears bi-coloured rose and deep pink flower spikes. Ideal for drying.

‘Jewel Box Mixed’ has crested blooms in mixed colours: red, pink, salmon, gold and yellow. The plants grow 23cm (9in) high.

‘Kimono Mixed’ is only 10cm (4in) high and good for containers; the plumes are cream, golden-yellow, orange or scarlet.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds in trays of seed compost in late winter and maintain a temperature of 18°C (64°F). They must be hardened off before planting out in a border or pots in early summer, after all risk of frost has passed.

Set the plants 23-30cm (9-12in) apart in rich well-drained soil in a warm sheltered site.

Pests and diseases

Foot and root rot, caused by a fungus, can affect the roots and eventually make the plants wilt or collapse completely. Generally celosias are untroubled by pests.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles | Comments Off on Celosia: Cockscomb, Prince of Wales’ feathers

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