Celosia cockscomb, Prince of Wales’ feathers

Height: 23-38cm (9-15in)

Planting: distance 23-30cm (9-12in)

Features: flowers summer to autumn

Soil: rich, well-drained

Site: sheltered sun

Type: half-hardy annual

Celosia cristata ‘Dwarf Fairy Fountains’ ‘Dwarf Geisha Mixed’ has attractive, small plumes in a wide colour range.

‘Jewel Box Mixed’ has crested blooms in mixed colours: red, pink, salmon, gold and yellow. The plants reach 23cm (9in) high.

‘Kimono’ is an impressive, very dwarf mixture of plumed types

Celosia cristata ‘Dwarf Geisha Mixed’ suitable for bedding or planting up in containers on the patio.

Cultivation

Sow seeds in trays of seed compost in late winter and maintain at a temperature of 18°C (64°F). They must be hardened off before planting out in the border in late spring, after all risk of frost has passed.

Set the plants 23-30cm (9-12in) apart in rich, well-drained soil in a warm, sheltered site.

Pests and diseases: Foot and root rot, caused by a fungus, can affect the roots and eventually make the plant wilt or completely collapse. They are not generally troubled by pests.

Celosia has large, bright, crested or plumed flowers in reds, oranges and yellows. The varieties with crested flowers are commonly called cockscomb; the plumed ones, Prince of Wales’ feathers. Cockscomb types air-dry especially well and make an unusual and colourful addition to dried-flower displays.

Both types of celosia last from mid summer until early autumn and make excellent bedding plants for formal schemes in the open ground, or in window boxes or tubs. Being half-hardy, they need a sunny, sheltered site.

Popular varieties:

All garden varieties have been developed from Celosia cristata.

‘Dwarf Fairy Fountains’ has plumed flowers in pastel shades. The plants reach 30-38cm (12-15in).

Celosia cristata ‘Jewel Box Mixed’

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