Looking for a textured pop of color that will add whimsy to your garden? Celosia plant might just be your new best friend! Wait until you see how easy it is to grow and enjoy with these simple tips.

If you’ve never grown celosia plant before, you are in for a treat today. It is such a unique flower that adds a lot of interest to the garden, as well as bouquets.

I’ve been growing it for quite some time and with each gardening season, I add more and more to the beds.

It’s a great flower for the landscape but looks equally beautiful in containers too. And while it blooms in summer, to me, it shines as a must-have fall garden flower.

Wait until you see how easy celosia is to grow and how you can enjoy the blooms.

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About Celosia Plant (Cockscomb)

The low-maintenance, high-impact celosia plant belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. Celosia is one of the most eye-catching flowering plants because of its 3 distinct shapes. There are three types of celosia: plumed, wheat, and cockscomb.

  • Plumed varieties (celosia plumosa) have multiple flower stalks and blooms with a feathery appearance. They are often between 8 and 24 inches tall.
  • Wheat varieties have a singular flower stalk and look similar to the head of a grain crop. These are often between 12 and 36 inches tall and are the most limited in colors compared to the plumed and cockscomb varieties.
  • Cockscomb or crested varieties (brain flowers) have coral or brain-looking blooms that are often large and heavy so they must often be staked. They grow between 12 and 36 inches tall.

Celosia Plant Care

Gorgeous Celosia has a USDA hardiness zone of 10-11 so it is generally treated as an annual. However, in zones 9 to 11 celosia might surprise you by acting like a short-lived perennial. From my experience, and I’m in gardening zone 6a, this easy-care annual drops seed, self-sows, and returns yearly.

Which is a lovely treat! When we first moved here, I had no idea it was planted in years prior. So imagine my surprise as it emerged that first summer and leveled up my garden with its gorgeous flowers.

In order to thrive, Celosia flower needs 6-8 hours of full sun per day and should be planted in well-draining soil. Flowers appear beginning in early to mid-summer and the blooms continue through to fall.

Pests and diseases are usually not a problem with this hardy plant, but occasionally issues with snails and slugs can occur.

Celosia plants can also be susceptible to root rot which can easily be prevented by growing the plant in well-drained soil. 

good directions birdhouse with celosia on a shepherds hook in the garden
Good Directions Birdhouse surrounded by celosia

6 Reasons You Should Grow Celosias

With its stunning looks and vibrant colors, celosias bring a plethora of benefits to your garden. Here’s why you should grow it this year.

Texture, Color, and Charm

At the heart of celosia’s appeal is its vibrant and diverse range of colors, texture, and shapes. Whether you’re a fan of fiery reds, sunny yellows, or soothing purples, celosia has a hue that’s for you.

Its unique forms, from plume-like to crested blooms, add a touch of whimsy, charm, and visual interest to the garden.

Easy-Care, Low-Maintenance

If you want to grow an easy-care, low-maintenance garden, the celosia plant is a great choice. It’s not fussy about soil conditions, thrives in sunny spots, and can handle a little neglect.

Plus, it’s relatively drought-tolerant once established, reducing the need for constant watering.

close up of pink celosia at sunset
Celosia

Pollinator Friendly

If you want to support pollinators, celosia’s nectar-rich flowers are like a five-star restaurant for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects.

By welcoming these pollinators, you’re contributing to the health of your garden and the ecosystem as a whole.

Long-Lasting Blooms

Celosia’s blooms aren’t just a fleeting affair. These beauties have staying power! Whether you’re enjoying them in your garden or snipping them for indoor arrangements, celosia’s blooms will grace your space until the first frost.

They are cut and come again, so keep cutting to get more flowers.

bright pink celosia in cottage garden

Eye-Catching Cut Flowers

Speaking of arrangements, celosia flowers look incredible as cut flowers in arrangements. Its unique forms and vibrant colors add a touch of whimsy and elegance to bouquets and centerpieces.

To me, you can’t have too much of this plant because it looks amazing both in your home and out in the garden.

Creative Landscaping

Celosia’s diverse sizes, texture, and vibrant colors make it a versatile addition to your garden design. Whether you’re using compact varieties in borders, mid-sized ones in mixed beds, or towering types as focal points, celosia’s flexibility lets you get creative with your landscaping.

They can be grown in containers and look beautiful in mixed-fall garden planters. And if you want to preserve the blooms? The flowers dry with ease too!

Sunset in the front porch cottage garden in fall with rudbeckia, sedum autumn joy and snapdragons overlooking the valley

Why Celosia is a Great Cut Flower

Ever wondered why the celosia plant makes a great cutting flower? Here’s why it is a popular cut flower garden bloom.

  • The flowers last a long time, even after they are cut.
  • Celosia plant flowers have a unique eye-catching appearance.
  • They add lots of texture, color, and interest to bouquets and centerpieces.
  • The flowers are low-maintenance in a vase.
  • You can use the flowers after they dry out in other home decor like wreaths, vintage crocks, milk glass vases, and other thrift store finds.

What Looks Good with Celosia in a Bouquet

There are lots of flowers that look beautiful with celosia in a bouquet, centerpiece, or other arrangement. Here are a few cut flower ideas that pair well.

last bouquet of flowers from the cutting garden in 2022 with zinnias, dahlias, snapdragons and celosia

Celosia FAQs

Cultivating these stunning blooms might raise questions, especially for beginners. In this section, I’ll address some frequently asked questions about growing celosia, providing you with insights and tips to nurture these remarkable plants with confidence.

Does celosia plant spread?

Celosia flower is known to exhibit some degree of reseeding in the right conditions. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Seeds: As celosia plants mature and produce blooms, they also produce seeds. These seeds can fall to the ground or be carried by the wind.
  • Self-Sowing: In some cases, celosia seeds that fall to the ground can germinate and grow into new plants on their own. This is known as self-sowing or natural reseeding.
  • Climate Consideration: The likelihood of celosia reseeding can depend on your climate and growing conditions.
celosia that reseeded and volunteered itself in my cottage garden
Celosia that reseeded and volunteered itself in my cottage garden

While celosia’s reseeding potential can be a wonderful surprise, you may want to manage it to maintain a well-organized garden:

  • Selective Deadheading: If you want to encourage reseeding, leave some spent blooms on the plant to allow them to go to seed. However, if you want to control reseeding, deadhead the flowers before they form seeds.
  • Seed Collection: If you’d like to have more control over where and when celosia reseeds, you can collect the seeds from mature blooms and store them for intentional sowing in the next growing season.

Can celosias grow all year round?

These easy-to-grow flowering annuals are hardier in zones 10-11. Celosia plant flowers from mid-summer until the first frost in fall.

gorgeous fall container garden idea in a large black urn with ornamental cabbage and garden mums -19 Easy-to Find Plants for Fall Garden Containers
Fall Container Garden Idea

How do you keep celosias blooming?

To make the most of celosia’s summer blooms and extend its flowering performance, follow these tips:

  • Location: A sunny, dry,  and warm location will keep celosia healthy and blooming.
  • Deadheading: Regularly deadhead spent flowers to encourage the plant to keep producing new blooms.
  • Fertilizing: Providing a balanced fertilizer during the growing season can help sustain the blooming period. I like to use a slow-release fertilizer like this.
  • Watering: Consistent watering without overwatering will keep celosia hydrated and blooming. Only water when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry.
close up of pink celosia flowers by a stone wall

Is celosia toxic to dogs?

Celosias are not poisonous to cats, dogs or humans. The plants can be kept in any home without any problems. In some regions, celosia is even used in medicine and cooking.

How do I propagate celosia?

Celosia is best propagated from seed. I like to start seed indoors to get a jump on the season. Here’s how to do it.

Must-Have Seed Starting Supplies I Use

celosia in the potager garden with calendula, zinnias, strawflowers and dahlias

Sowing Celosia Seeds Indoors

  • Gather seed starting supplies. If you don’t have a greenhouse, find a location in your home where can spare the space.
  • Start seeds indoors before the last frost date. Follow your seed packet directions for how many weeks before to sow them.
  • Fill each of the cells or pots with pre-moistened seed starting soil. Pack it down to remove any air bubbles and gaps.
  • Sow seeds according to seed packet directions. As a general rule, plant seeds twice their depth. Celosia seed is pretty small so I drop some on top of premoistened soil and cover with lightly vermiculite. (Note: Make sure you sow only one type of seed variety per tray because they germinate at different rates.)
  • Drop 1-2 colosia seeds per cell and cover with vermiculite until the tray is full. It’s OK to cover with seed-starting soil, but vermiculite is easier for seedlings to grow through.
  • Label your seed trays and/or individual pots. Cover seed trays with a clear plastic dome. Place trays on heat mats under grow lights.
  • Set lights to be on for 14-16 hours per day. Using a timer works best for this.
What You Need to Know About Sowing Seeds Indoors - 11 must-have Indoor seed start supplies - sowing seeds in peat pots

Caring for Celosia Seedlings

  • Check seedlings daily for germination. Usually takes about a week or so.
  • When seeds begin to sprout, uncover and remove from heat mats. Don’t worry if they didn’t all sprout because more will germinate after the dome is removed.
  • Place trays under the lights about an inch or so away from the tallest seedling. Keep an eye on seedling growth as you will need to adjust the lights as they grow.
  • Always water from the bottom. If the seeds aren’t in a tray that has a water reservoir, sit them in a tray of water for about an hour so they can soak it up from the roots.
  • After germination, take care of seedlings making sure they are not overwatered.
  • Celosia seedlings can be susceptible to dampening off so let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.
  • Harden off and transplant outside when temperatures after all danger of frost has passed.

While you can sow celosia seeds indoors, it works equally as well if you directly sow them in the garden too. Simply follow your seed packet directions for when to sow them and plant accordingly.

In my zone 6a garden, celosia grows with ease, so either method works well.

small cottage garden in fall with orange chrysanthemums

How do I dry celosia?

Celosia is easy to dry and looks gorgeous after it does. Cut the flowers when they are fully developed in the early part of the day after the dew has dried.

For dried arrangements, remove all the leaves from the stems, wrap a rubber band around six to eight stems, and hang them upside down in a dark, cool, dry, airy space for several weeks or until fully dried.

They will last in dried arrangements for at least six months without losing any of their vibrancy.

fall garden with sedum autumn joy, celosia, black eyed susan and snapdragons

Can celosia be grown in a container?

Growing celosia in containers is a brilliant solution for those who are short on garden space or are just beginning their gardening journey.

These vibrant blooms, with their striking plumes that come in an array of colors, bring a burst of life to any corner, deck, balcony, patio, porch, or other outdoor living space.

Celosia’s compact size and relatively low maintenance needs make it a perfect choice for container gardening. Their adaptability to small spaces allows urban gardeners to infuse color and charm into their surroundings, even without a traditional garden bed.

With well-draining soil, a sunny spot, and occasional watering, celosia can thrive in containers, adding a touch of whimsy and nature to any nook with minimal effort.

They make beautiful container plantings both on their own when combined with other plants that like the same sunny growing conditions. Celosia is a must-have plant in summer or fall plantings.

Whiskey barrell planted with plants for fall garden such as garden mums and pansies with a pumpkin
Fall garden in a whiskey barrel

Favorite Celosia Varieties to Grow

There are so many different varieties of celosia to love. But here are a few of my favorites that I start from seed.

  • Flamingo Feather
  • Ruby Parfait
  • Crystal Beauty
  • Pampas Plume
  • Cramer’s Rose

I’m looking forward to Floret Flower Farm’s new celosia varities and can’t wait to tell you about them if I am successful purchasing the seed.

Bright pink celosia

More About Growing Celosia Plant

Do you enjoy growing Celosia too? Have you ever started it from seed before? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

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pink celosia plant at sunset in the cottage garden
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Stacy Ling

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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

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6 Comments

  1. This is the first year that I’ve grown celosia. I just love it and it is an amazing cut flowers. Mine are actually in my cut garden but next year I will put them in my regular beds for more interest and color. Hopefully the deer won’t like them 🙂