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Plant Profile: Cock’s Comb (Celosia argentea var. plumosa)

celosiaI have always grown celosia in my garden and would never be without it. It comes in many colors that look good in both summer and fall, comes in various heights, and some offer the option of burgundy foliage. The feathery blooms add a soft texture and upright form to the garden when many other plants are mounds of round, many-petaled flowers. The plants love heat and start blooming as soon as temperatures are warm. They continue blooming all summer adding color at times when many other plants stop flowering. Celosia are excellent cut flowers and may be dried for use in flower arrangements.

Type: Annual.

Bloom: Summer.

Size: 6-30” H x 8-18” W.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Well drained.

Fertilizer: In mid summer apply a fertilizer in the ratio of 1-2-2.

Care: Deadhead faded flowers every 2 weeks.

Pests and Diseases: Root rot may occur in clay soils and/or during rainy weather. Remove infected plants immediately.

Propagation: Sow seed once the soil has warmed; use transplants for earlier bloom.

Companion plants: moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora), Verbena ‘Homstead Purple’, Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa), Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus).

Outstanding Selections: Castle series (8” yellow, pink, scarlet, or orange plumes on 12” plants), “Apricot Brandy’ (apricot-orange feathers on 18-24” plants).

Comment: Cut stems for drying when young and hang upside down in a dry dark place.

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