Celosia belongs to the amaranth family of plants. They’re typically used for ornamental purposes, but they are also edible.
Celosia is a genus of flowering plants in the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) and consists of about 30 species native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.
There are three types of Celosia flowers: Plumbed Celosia, Spike Celosia, and Crested Celosia.
As you might expect from their names, each of these types are easily distinguishable from each other. Whilst there are three main forms of the Celosia plant, they are categorized into only two parent species:
- Celosia argentea var. Cristata
- Celosia spicata
Subspecies of the Celosia plant are known as woolflowers, or cockscomb (if the flower heads are crested).
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all things Celosia. We’ll take a run down of the most popular and widely available types of Celosia flowers.
We’ll also talk about how to care for celosia plants in your garden, and what you can do with them once you’ve grown them. See our FAQ section for more details.
So if you’ve got green fingers and are interested in this beautiful and versatile plant, read on!
1. Celosia Cristata (Crested Cockscomb)
This is one of the most commonly grown varieties of celosia. It’s an annual that grows up to 30 cm tall with long spikes of bright yellow flowers.
The spikes are usually about 10-15 cm long. This variety has been around since the early 19th century, so it’s certainly not a new addition to the gardening world.
The flowers have a strong scent which is reminiscent of vanilla.
It’s easy to grow and will thrive in any well drained soil. However, if your soil is heavy clay, then you may need to amend it before planting.
2. Celosia Argentea (Plume Celosia)
This is another common type of celosia. Like the previous variety, it’s an annual that grows to a height of 20 cm. But unlike the first variety, its flowers are more rounded than pointed.
These flowers come in shades of white, cream, yellow and orange. They can also be found in red, pink and purple.
They have a sweet fragrance similar to that of honey and vanilla.
Like the previous variety, it thrives in well drained soils. If you live in a hot climate, then you should water them regularly during dry spells.
3. Celosia Spicata (Wheat Celosia)
This is the third most common form of celosia. Unlike the first two varieties, this one comes back year after year. It’s a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height between 60 cm – 90 cm.
Its leaves are dark green and wavy.
Its stems are covered in small spikes of bright yellow flowers that bloom throughout summer. These flowers have a very distinct smell, which is reminiscent of hay and citrus.
4. Celosia Nitida (West Indian Cockscomb)
This is a rarer variety of celosia. In fact, it’s the only one that I know of growing wild in the UK.
It’s native to tropical climates such as Jamaica. It’s also called West Indian Cockscomb because of the shape of its flowers.
You can find this variety of celosia growing wild along riversides and streams. It’s often confused with the other varieties of celosia, but it’s actually quite different.
5. Celosia Acanthocladus (Dwarf Cockscomb)
This is a dwarf variety of celosia that’s perfect for smaller gardens. It’s a hardy perennial that grows to a maximum height of 45 cm. Its flowering season is from spring through autumn.
Its flowers are much shorter than those of the other varieties. They’re usually no longer than 5 mm wide. Their color ranges from pale yellow to deep orange.
6. Celosia Australis (Australian Cockscomb)
This is a rare and unusual variety of celosia flower. It’s native to Australia and New Zealand. It’s also known by many names, including Australian Cockscomb, Yellow Cockscomb and Golden Cockscomb.
It’s a perennial plant that grows to a maximum of 50 cm high. Its flowers are slightly larger than those of the other types. They range in size from 6 to 10 mm wide.
7. Celosia Japonica (Japanese Cockscomb)
Another rare and unusual variety of cockscombs. It’s native to Japan and China. It’s also known as Japanese Cockscomb or Chinese Cockscomb.
It’s a perennial that grows to a maximum height of 40 cm. Its flowers are about 7-10 mm wide. They come in shades of brown, maroon and burgundy.
8. Celosia Trigyna (Silver Spinach)
In many parts of the world, Celosia Trigyna is considered a weed and killed off. Its flowers can grow up to 3 feet (or 1 meter) tall.
But in some places, like the UK, it’s still regarded as a desirable garden plant. It has become popular again thanks to the work of the Wildflower Trust.
9. Celosia Aplodactyla (Celosia Aplodacantha)
This is another rare variety of celosia found mainly in Europe. It’s also known under the name of Celosia Aplodicantha.
It’s an annual herbaceous plant that grows to a height of 30 cm. Its flowers are about 4 mm wide. The flowers have a distinctive smell similar to lemongrass.
10. Celosia Aculeata (Moss Celosia)
The moss celosia is a beautiful variety of celosia native to North America. It’s also known simply as Moss Celosia.
It’s not really a true celosia at all, but rather a member of the buttercup family. It’s grown primarily as an ornamental plant. Its flowers are tiny and greenish white.
11. Celosia Abutilon (Abutilon Cockscomb)
Aubutilon is another uncommon variety of celosia, although it’s not nearly as rare as the others. It’s native to North America.
It’s also known under several other names: American Cockscomb, Wild Cockscomb, Common Cockscomb and English Cockscomb.
It’s a perennial herb that grows to a maximum length of 30 cm. Its flowers are typically 2-3 mm wide. The colors vary from white to pinkish purple.
12. Celosia Ligustria (Ligustrum Cockscomb)
The last and least common type of cockscomb is the ligustrum variety. This one is native to Europe. It’s also known simply as Ligustrum Cockscombs.
It’s a short-lived perennial that grows to a maximum height of 15 cm. Its flowers are tiny, measuring just 1 mm across. They’re usually light blue, but they can be any shade of lavender or lilac.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Eat Celosia Flowers?
Yes! You can eat them if you want. But don’t expect them to taste good. They’re bitter and sour.
What Are Some Uses For Celosia Plants?
They make great cut flowers. If you live somewhere with hot weather, you might even enjoy growing your own.
They make wonderful salad greens. Just wash them thoroughly before using.
You can use the leaves for tea. Simply steep them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Then strain out the leaves and drink the liquid.
How Do You Grow Celosia?
If you’d like to try growing your own, here are some tips on how to do so:
1. Choose the right location. Make sure you pick a spot where there isn’t too much wind blowing. Also, avoid areas that get direct sunlight.
2. Prepare the soil properly. Dig a hole twice as deep as the root ball. Add compost and fertilizer. Mix well.
3. Plant the seeds. Put the seedlings into the ground after the danger of frost has passed. Space plants 8 inches apart.
4. Water regularly. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
5. Fertilize every two weeks. Use a balanced fertilizer.
Are Celosia Flowers Suitable For Drying?
Celosia is very easy to dry. All you need to do is remove the petals and then hang the flower upside down in a warm place. Dry completely. Store in airtight containers.
Do Celosias Have Seeds?
Yes, they do. In fact, many people collect them. But don’t worry. As long as you keep them away from children, pets and animals, you won’t have any problems.
Their seed production is usually very high, on account of the fact that most species grow annually.
Celosias are very low maintenance plants, and yet they are absolutely stunning in all their varieties.
So, whether you’re looking for something to brighten up your home, or you’d like to create a beautiful bouquet for someone special, these unique types will certainly fit the bill.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our run down of the Celosia plant, happy growing!
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