Celosia is a genus of about50 species in the family Amaranthaceae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America.
Celosia has striking, eye-catching flowers that bloom in the summer and well into the fall. These flowers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, adding color and character to your garden.
The genus name comes from the Greek word “kelos”, which means “burned” or “burning”, referring to the flower heads that look like flames.
Celosia symbolizes immortality, affection, warmth, humor and friendship.
Interesting facts about Celosia:
Different Types of Celosia Flowers
There are three main types of Celosia flowers: Crested Celosia, Plumed Celosia and Spike Celosia. They are easily distinguishable from each other. The three forms belong to only two different species, Celosia argentea var. cristata and Celosia spicata. Celosia argentea var. cristata includes crested and plumed varieties, while Celosia spicata includes spiked species.
Crested Celosias have wrinkled-looking flowers that look like tight coils that resemble the structures of a brain or the comb of a rooster, hence the common name Cockscomb. They are red, orange, pink, gold, yellow and white.
Plumed Celosias have flower heads that look like brightly colored, fluffy feathers. The flower heads are composed of hundreds of tiny flowers that are plume-like, soft and feathery. They come in many colors including vibrant red, bright orange, yellow and deep purple.
Spike Celosias are known for their narrow, spiky flower heads that resemble heads of wheat. They typically don’t grow as tall as the other varieties. Spike Celosias have numerous flower heads and are shrubbier than other species. They usually come in shades of pink or red-purple.
Benefits and Uses
Celosia has been used for medicinal purposes to treat blood diseases, intestinal worms (particularly tapeworm), chest problems, mouth sores, eye problems and diarrhoea.
Celosia is an edible plant. Both stems and leaves are edible and delicious, and are often used in stews. The leaves have a taste similar to spinach and are eaten as potherbs.
Many species are cultivated as garden ornamentals. As an ornamental plant, Celosia is prized for its colorful and unique flower heads. The most popular ornamental species are Celosia argentea and Celosia cristata.
Celosia makes a great striking cut flower for fresh or dried floral arrangements. Taller varieties are great for use as cut flowers due to their strong and stiff stems.
The flowers can be purple, red, orange, pink, gold, yellow and white.
The plants range from dwarf species to the larger varieties that grow up to 150 cm (5 ft) high.
Celosia prefers rich, moist and well drained soil. It thrives in clay and is drought tolerant once established. The soil should have a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.