Image by Mike Locke
By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
The cockscomb flower is an annual addition to the flower bed, commonly named for the red variety that is colored similar to the cock’s comb hanging from his chin. Cockscomb, Celosia cristata, traditionally grown in the red variety, also blooms in the colors of yellow, pink, orange and white.
Using the Cockscomb Flower in the Garden
The cockscomb plant is versatile in height, sometimes remaining as short as a few inches while others grow to a few feet. The irregular growth habits of the cockscomb plant can lead to surprises in the garden. Though an annual flower, growing cockscomb reseeds freely and often supplies a wealth of plants for next year.
Learn how to grow cockscomb and others of the cockscomb Celosia family for attractive specimens in the summer flower bed. Celosia can add color to a rock garden. Cockscomb Celosia may be dried and used in indoor arrangements.
The cockscomb flower may also be a fat and spiky little plant, growing in colors other than the vibrant red. This cockscomb is called plume celosia (Celosia plumosa).
The cockscomb plant is useful in garden borders or planted between taller plants in the garden to add a spike of color near ground level.
How to Grow Cockscomb
Learning how to grow cockscomb is an interesting garden chore and can brighten the flower bed with shades of golden yellow, the traditional red, peach and purple. Both specimens offer long-lasting flowers for brilliant colors in the garden. They are heat loving and are somewhat drought tolerant.
Full sun locations allow cockscomb Celosia to grow taller. But cockscomb may grow in only partial sun, so it can happily exist when partially shaded by taller plants.
Pinching back the first bloom on these flowers can cause branching and a more abundant display of flowers on each cockscomb plant.
Plant seedlings into rich, well draining soil that has warmed in late spring. Seedlings may be grown indoors or purchased. Those living in warm areas may sow the tiny seeds directly into the flower bed. In areas farther north, make sure the soil has warmed before planting, as letting the cockscomb plant get a chill can cause summer flowering to cease or not happen. Leaving seedlings too long in crowded cell packs may have the same result.