It’s the strangest annual I grow–Celosia (cockscomb). I started this from seed a couple of years ago. It’s so bizarre and bright, that it doesn’t look real. All at once it looks furry, or like something from the ocean– coral or anemone. While it looks feathery, the texture is actually cool to the touch and firm. Celosia is growing in popularity, and can be found (at great cost) at the most trendy flower boutiques in New York and Paris. Professional florists for the finest hotels are discovering the ornate beauty of Celosia. And I have masses and masses and masses of it. The best part about this year’s Celosia bed is that I didn’t start any of these from seed—they self sowed all by themselves from last year’s crop! Imagine my delight when I saw and recognized those seedlings last spring.
Celosia hails from subtropical and tropical areas all around the world. You can buy it as annuals, and it comes in reds, yellows, and magentas. I prefer to start it from seed. I grow ‘Giant Indiana’, ‘Red Velvet’ and ‘Cramer’s Red’. Take a look at the different forms below. The first image below shows an example of the Plumosa (plume-like) form. The second image shows the Cristata (crested) form (This is ‘Red Velvet’). The third image shows what I call the brain coral form—I’m not certain if the “brain coral” is Plumosa or Cristata, but it’s the Giant Indiana Cockscomb variety.