A popular flower that often finds itself on dried wreaths and fresh flower arrangements, the Celosia or cockscomb is an annual plant that can grow pretty easily anywhere in your home garden. There are several varieties of Celosia, the most common being the one that has rust red colored flower. Its called Cockscomb because it looks ruffled and sometimes resembles a brain. If you want to learn how to grow Celosia all by yourself, here is a complete guide to enlighten you.
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Some requirements for growing Celosia
The Celosia is a native of Asia and Africa, and is widely loved for its beautiful and exotic fluffy flowers that are used to offer a striking accent to other flower varieties in a wreath, floral arrangement or on a garden bed. It looks very colorful and grows in purple, pink and yellow varieties. Belonging to the family of Amaranthaceae, the Celosia is an easy to grow plant, though it requires some basic considerations to ensure that it grows and propagates nicely. So let’s take a look at these important requirements.
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Positioning is important in case you are planning to grow Celosia in your home garden or indoors. Since this is a tropical flower, it loves sunlight and good amount of heat. Therefore, you need to position the pot at a location that receives abundant sunlight. The temperature to be maintained is between 64 F – 80 F. In case you are growing this exotic flower indoors, then make sure to position the pot in a western facing balcony that receives ample sunlight. This way you can expect to get good blooms annually.
Watering is required to keep the soil moist, and Celosia is no different than others. It grows optimally when you keep its soil moist. Like most plants, the flower can tolerate a little dryness, but, for it to produce good and continuous blooms, it needs a well moisturized soil. However, do not over water as this will lead to many kinds of fungal diseases, and will cause rotting of roots and stem.
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Choosing the soil type is of primary importance as Celosia thrives well in a soil that is nutrient rich and is well draining. You must keep the pH level between 6 and 7.
Steps in propagating and planting Celosia indoors
This flower is easy to propagate, both inside as well as in the garden. You can grow this tropical flower from Celosia seed or from a nursery bought potted plant. Here are the important tips that you may want to know if you are planning on growing Celosia yourself.
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Always grow Celosia in sandy loamy soil that helps in draining excess water and prevents root and stem rot.
In case you are using Celosia seeds to grow this plant, choose to sow the seeds indoors. The sowing of seeds must start at least 4 weeks before the last frost. And, while sowing, make sure to dust the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil mix. Its advised that you keep the soil mix properly moisturized. It must never be dry. A Celosia seed needs optimum moisture to grow into a seedling.
Wait for the seeds to sprout. After they have sprouted, move the pot to a spot that receives good sunlight. However, do not expose the sprouted seeds to direct sunlight.
Let the seedlings grow taller to about 4 cms in height, after which you can transplant them in pots. Do keep the soil moist at all times. But, it shouldn’t be over moisturized as this may rot the roots and stem.
Once the seedlings have reached 15 cms in height, you can spot young Celosia plants blooming.
Steps in propagating and planting Celosia outdoors
Celosia is a plant that grows equally well outdoors. If you plan to grow it outside in your garden, do look at the following steps.
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Always choose a raised garden bed for growing this plant. The soil chosen has to be well draining, and the best in this regard would be any type of loamy soil.
Start sowing the seeds only when the soil is completely dry of any frost. If you have sown seeds of Celosia that bear small plants, then keep the distance of about 18 inches between each Celosia plant. For larger Celosia varieties, keeping a distance of 24 inches is recommended.
Water the soil so as to keep it moist at all times.
While planting Celosia in garden bed, its advised to plant such varieties together that are similar in height. Therefore, for the taller ones, plant them together and put some kind of support in order to prevent them from bending over and falling.
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Fertilizing is important, but it should be done once every month. Do use plant food to help the plant produce more and more flowers.
Some important tips on Celosia plant care
If you want to know how to grow Celosia optimally, then you must bear in mind the few basic tips that will help you get constant Celosia blooms all year round. Its very easy to grow this plant, and with little knowledge about its care and maintenance, you can get your gardens decked up with lovely Celosia blooms.
Fertilizing is as basic to Celosia’s growth as it is to any other plant. Therefore, make sure to fertilize the Celosia plant once every month. But, make sure that you use liquid fertilizer for the same. However, when Celosia plant starts to produce flowers, then you have to increase the rate of fertilization. It should be once every 14 days. For the blooms to get healthier, use a fertilizer variety that has high concentration of nitrogen.
Since Celosia is a tropical plant, it loves the sun and heat. Therefore, keep the plant always warm so as to help it to grow nicely. If the climate is warm, then, expect Celosia plant to bear flowers all year round. That is why, a Celosia plant needs to be planted at a spot that gets abundant sunlight. If growing this plant indoors, you have to choose a place like a balcony or a windowsill that gets copious amounts of sunlight.
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This tropical plant thrives well in warm and humid climates. If you are growing it indoors, then make sure to use a humidifier for keeping it moist. Some people also place the plant on a water filled tray. In no case, you must leave the plant dry. When using a humidifier, make sure to mist the leafy potion of the plant. Flowers shouldn’t be misted as it may lead to rot.
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For your Celosia plants to grow and propagate nicely, you need to offer them a protective blanket of mulch. The much chosen must be organic so as to help the plant produce healthy flowers. Mulching keeps the Celosia plant warm and well moisturized. It also prevents over growth of weeds.
Pruning the wasted flowers is an important step in Celosia plant care. This is also known as deadheading. Simply choose the spent out flowers, and then prune them so as to disable them to make seeds. You can use scissors for pruning.
Another very important task in plant care of Celosia is getting rid of pests and diseases. The plant is often found to be under attack from fungal diseases, and therefore, its a must that you keep inspecting it for signs that include spots on leaves, stems and rotting root. Often, the plant is affected with mites and aphids. If you see such pests, simply wash the plant with a strong jet of water.
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In case you notice such signs, spray some organic fungicide on the plant.
If your Celosia plant is seen wilting, take measures immediately to change the potting mix to a soil less mix, and also reduce the fertilization. Too much of fertilization often results in plant damage.
Companion planting of Celosia
Now, we are going to cover the topic of companion planting in this how go Grow Celosia planting guide. Companion planting refers to the concept wherein you can grow different species of plants together. As far as Celosia is concerned, it grows nicely with other annual plants such as Marigold, Amaranth and Zinnia. Since Celosia accents other flowers, it is often seen grown along with the above mentioned flower varieties.
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You can also pair different varieties of Celosia together on a garden bed in order to enhance the look.
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Some popular Celosia varieties to choose
Here is a list of some commonly grown varieties of Celosia. These look different but very pretty, either on a garden bed or in indoor pots.
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Celosia Cristata is called cockscomb because of its flower head that resembles a rooster’s head. It is called Chi Kuan in China and is an edible plant. Its flowers and leaves are consumed. It produces flowers in yellow, red and white.
Celosia Argentea produces very colorful looking flowers that can remain in bloom for about 8 weeks. It grows abundantly in tropical Asia and can grow to a height of 1 meter.
Celosia Plumosa grows up to 40 cms high and has oval leaves. Even when the flowers get dry, they retain their color and are used in dry floral arrangements.
Celosia Caracas too bears oval shaped leaves and flowers that are purple to pink in shade. They are used in floral arrangements.
With a velvety and ruffled look, the Celosia is a popular choice when making floral arrangements. It is an easy growing plant that can thrive well both indoors as well as outdoors. Do not shy away from growing it on your own as you now have this informative how to grow Celosia planting guide at your disposal. Happy planting!