9 Different Types of Celosia Flowers - Home Stratosphere

9 Different Types of Celosia Flowers

Discover the many different types of Celosia flowers that not only contribute to a stunning garden and natural landscape but also grown as vegetables and used as ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

Celosia flowers

There isn’t much that the celosia plant can’t do. It’s gorgeous, it’s easy to care for, it’s edible, it attracts pollinator species, they can be dried, used as a lovely cut flower for flower bouquet, and much much more. So who is to say if they should be planted in your vegetable garden or in your flower garden — they can do it all!

We love flowers around here. Not only for the beauty that they bring to our gardens, but for all of the benefits that they provide to their local ecosystem as well. In this article we’re going to fo through the details about the celosia plant, where it thrives, how to care for it, and 9 different species within the genus.

So sit back, relax, and take a dive into the botanical realm. There is tons to learn!

Related: Sun-Loving Flowers | Water-Loving Flowers | Shade-Loving Flowers | Types of Flowers | Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet | Types of Flower Colors

What are Celosia Flowers?

Celosia flowers are ornamental plants that come from the Amaranth family called amaranthaceae. They are edible plants that are also commonly known the wool flower, and if they have crested flower heads, then they are also known as a cockscomb plant.

Depending on their growing region, a celosia plant can be either an annual flower or a perennial flower. In warmer regions it is perennial, meaning that it will survive, dormant, through the winters and continue to bloom every spring. In colder regions, some species act as annual flowers, meaning that it will experience its entire life cycle within 3-4 seasons.

Origins

The plant is found in East Africa’s highlands where they are called ‘mfungu’ in Swahili. The generic name Celosia was derived from κήλεος (kḗleos) –an Ancient Greek word which means burning. This name comes from the flowers heads of these plants which look like a bunch of flames.

Reproduction

The plant grows annually and their seeding production rates are very high. One ounce of celosia seed can actually contain up to 43,000 seeds and they produce 200-700 kg per hectare. The seeds are so small that just 1-1.2 grams can contain up to 1,000 seeds! The flower also blossoms for a long time; they can last up to 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the fertility of the soil and the location.

With such tiny celosia seedlings, these guys are absolute experts at dispersal. Celosia seed can be dispersed through water, wind, and the fecal matter of different animal species as well. If you happen to be growing celosia indoors, remember that this plant seeds indoors as well. So perhaps cut the spent flowers before they are able to go to seed.

Uses

These wonderfully unusual flowers are also a popular ingredient for food in many places and grown as vegetables in many places such as Southeast Asia, South America, West Indies, and tropical Africa.

Their leaves, young inflorescences, and young stems are often used to make stew in different countries. The leaves of a young plant have a mildly spinach-like taste and a soft texture. They are often combined with garlic, fresh lime, hot pepper, and red palm oil. They are also served as a side dish with other dishes.

And of course, celosia plants make for amazing ornamental plants. They are easy to care for and they compliment other plant species very nicely. They can incorporated into your vegetable garden to help attract pollinators, they are the perfect size and care level for container gardens, and they make a very happy indoor plant as well.

Care

One of the main reasons why celosia plants are so beloved is because of their marvellously easy level of care. Based off of their native growing regions, we know that they love heat and sunlight, so make sure that they receive a minimum of 6-8 hours of full sun per day.

They also prefer to exist in very well drained garden soil that is also very nutrient rich. If the time of year happens to be particularly hot or rainy, it wouldn’t hurt to provide your celosia plant with some liquid plant food every couple of weeks to make sure that the garden soil is very rich in nutrients.

The level of care and attention will vary greatly depending on the celosia variety, so make sure to do your research into the specific species to find out exactly how to keep it happy.

9 Different Celosia Species

1. Plume Celosia (Celosia Argentea)

Celosia flowers in the garden

 Scientific Name: Celosia Argentea

USDA Growing Zone: 9-11

Care Level: Low

The celosia argentea is commonly known as the silver’s cockscomb or plumed cockscomb. It is a herbaceous plant that is often found in tropical areas. In some place of Asia such as China and India, it is considered a troublesome weed. The Celosia plant grows annually in many gardens all over the world.

The blooming period for the flower is mid-spring to summer when you can cut flowers to give to your loved ones. The flower propagates through extremely small seeds. The flowers are hermaphrodites, making them perfect for mass production and harvesting.

The Argentea plants grow in tropical areas in full sunlight. The soil needs to be well-drained. If you take care of the plants well, the flower heads can last up to 8-10 weeks. If you want to continue growing the plants for next season, all you need to is remove the dead flowers.

The celosia argentea has a cultivar called Flamingo Feather that can grow to a height of 2 feet. They come in bright colors like light violet to pink. The leaves of the plant are a dark green and have two main celosia types: century cultivators and Kimono cultivators. The bright colors of the flowers make it a really popular flower for ornamental purposes.

Celosia plants are used in soap making in some areas of the world. The cockscomb celosia also help to control the parasitic Striga plant in Africa. Since the leaves and flowers of celosia argentea are edible, they are grown in many areas as a food ingredient.

They are called Lagos Spinach in Southeast Asia and Africa. They are also widespread in Mexico, where they are known as the velvet flower. In other areas like the West Indies, they are grown as a wildflower for their nutritious leaves. In Nigeria, they are known as Soko Yokota and in Spain, they are known as the Rooster’s Comb.

2. Crested Cockscomb (Celosia Cristata) 

Celosia Cristata flowers in the garden

Scientific Name: Celosia Cristata

USDA Growing Zone: 2-11

Care Level: Medium to Low

The crested cockscomb flower is a common name for celosia cristata. The name comes from the red crown on the head of roosters, which resembles the flower head of the plant. It was originally only found in India and almost faced near extinction.

It was saved after Burmese, Chinese, and Indian gardeners began to plant it near temples due to the religious significance it had in the region. The crested cockscomb plant is an actoploid variant of the argentea plant and grows all over the world in tropics and subtropics. The tetraploid variety of the plant is found in southern and central India.

These plumed flowers are resistant to most diseases and are pretty hardy plants. They grow well in full sun with no shade at all and well-drained soils. The crested celosia plant is mostly grown for ornamental purposes since it flowers spectacularly. The flower colors are incredible looking, usually in pink, orange, red, and yellow. They have inflorescences in the form of wavy crests. They feel velvety to touch and blossom for around 8 weeks. The plants can grow up to a foot in height or smaller.

The leaves, stems, and the flower itself are also used as vegetables in Western Africa, South America, and India. They are grown on small farms and gardens in Southern Nigeria, Congo, Indonesia, and Benin. They are known to drive out silver fire-pot drives weeds and root parasites like the Striga which comes onto essential plantations like sorghum or cereal. In Korea, they are also used as a garnish for rice cakes and desserts, as well as for flower-infused alcoholic beverages.

3. Celosia Plumosa

Celosia Plumosa flowers in the garden

Scientific Name: Celosia Plumosa

USDA Growing Zone: 11-12

Care Level: High

The celosia plumosa (another come name being pampas plume, in regards to the flowers shaped like feathery plumes) has bright, big blooms that are really popular for ornamental purposes. The blooming season of the plant lasts from spring through fall. The plant is a tender perennial and only lasts for one season. You will have to replant the plant if you want to see the same flowers again next spring. It is mostly grown in areas where the winter is cold.

It comes in many vivid colors such as pink, orange, yellow, and red. There are many celosia varieties for this type to choose from such as the Fresh Look red flower that has feathery plumes. The Plumosa flower grows in containers, flower beds, and indoors. It is a low-maintenance plant with soft leaves and foliage. The brightly colored plumes look really great when they are grouped together in bouquets or containers.

They grow up to 15-60 cm (6 inches to 2 ft), which makes them a perfect indoor plant (this is also where they got their common name, dwarf plumosa). They prefer full sun but you can also cultivate them in bright light. The plant is perfect for sunrooms or windowsills. The soil needs to be well-drained but moist to prevent fungus or dead leaves. The plant also prefers high humidity of around 40%.

The plants are often cultivated since they grow really easily and don’t face many pests. They can get mites though, which are known to feed on the plants. The plants are also susceptible to root strangulation, root rot, and leaf spotting, which need to be treated if you want them to grow properly. It is also important to avoid damp soil and need to be weeded properly. The flowers and leaves shouldn’t be watered as well to prevent fungal diseases.

The plumed Celosia has a fresh look that many people love to see in their garden beds or windowsills. The blossoms are made up of inflorescences of tiny flowers that come in a wild amount of colors. They almost look like animated, fluorescent flames.

4. Wheat Celosia (Celosia Spicata) 

Celosia Spicata flowers in the garden

Scientific Name: Celosia Spicata

USDA Growing Zone: 9-11

Care Level: Medium

Celosia spicata is also known as the Wheat Celosia. It is known for the distinctive flower spikes that resemble wheat sheaves, which inspired its name. It is an edible and ornamental perennial plant that is native to North America, South America, and northern Africa. The plant has annual flowers that are usually grown in hardiness zones 9 to 11.

The flower has several strong stems which result in a bushy, open plant branching in every direction. The upright flower is 2-3 feet tall and has medium to dark green leaves. The leaves also have unique burgundy tinges, which looks really cool against the vibrant flower colors. The cylindrical inflorescences of the plant can be red, purple, pink or even bi-colored.

The plant grows as tiny flowers packed together in hundreds. By the time the last frost arrives, the flower spikes are several inches long. The flowers are often sturdy enough to last through winter and continue to blossom through late fall.

The plant is also considered as a leaf vegetable in East and Southeast Asia, as well as tropical Africa. The plant is popular as a food due to its spinach-like taste and soft texture. The flowers are often visited by butterflies, wasps, bees, and even hummingbirds for their nectar.

They are grown in full sun and thrive in well-drained but moist soils. The Spitica can grow really tall in some cases and may need staking in windy regions. The Celosia plant can only be propagated by seed and can take 2-3 weeks to germinate. There are many hybrids and cultivators of the plant including:

  • Ruby Parfait: dark rose color
  • Cramer’s Amazon: deep purple to pink flowers
  • Flamingo Feather Pink: purple to rose-pink flowers
  • Glowing Spears: intense colors of purple-red
  • Pink Candle: deep pink flower that is tinged with silver
  • Punky Red: unique dark purple-red colors
  • Kosmo: mixture of red, pink or white spikes

5. Many Flower Cockscomb (Celosia Floribunda)

The inflorescences of the many flowered cockscomb plant in a lovely garden

Scientific Name: Celosia Floribunda

USDA Growing Zone: 9-11

Care Level: Medium

Celosia floribunda comes from a small tree or shrub. It is found in the Baja California Sur area. The plant reaches a maximum height of 13 ft or 4 m which is pretty tall for its species. The species was discovered by John Xantus, and is a rather tall variety of celosia.

The Celosia has grey-ish to green striated branches that contrast the inflorescences in the best way. The leaves come in different sizes from 0.5cm to 11cm. They are oval in shape with pointed edges. The sepals of the flower grow to be 2mm long and are straw to paper white colors.

This wonderful celosia variety is capable of flowering all the way from March to October, and though the flowers aren’t as striking and ornamental as some other celosia types, they are very charming in the way of their growth habit. The many-flower cockscomb is additionally a very important source of nectar for various pollinator species, specifically the spider wasp (tachypompilus ferrugineus).

6. West Indian Cockscomb (Celosia Nitida) 

Celosia Nitida flowers in the garden

Scientific Name: Celosia Texana

USDA Growing Zone: 11

Care Level: High

Celosia texana is also commonly known as the West Indian cockscomb in many regions. It is found in Texas and Florida and is a perennial plant. It is currently listed as an endangered species and work is being done to cultivate the plant in Central and South America. The plant can even grow up to 2m or 6 feet in height. The flowers last all the way from fall to winter.

Because it is endangered, the West Indian cockscomb plant is not available for cultivation and should not be propagated from the wild as this could greatly threaten the wild population. There are still some cultivated patches present at certain religious sites (as pictured above), and so there are ways to view them in all their glory.

7. Silver Spinach (Celosia Trigyna)

Beautiful silver and pink inflorescences of the silver spinach celosia plant

Scientfic Name: Celosia Trigyna 

USDA Growing Zone: 10-11

Care Level: Medium

Celosia trigyna is commonly known as wool flowers due to its distinctive flowers. The flowers can go up to 3 feet or 1 meter in height. In many regions, it is even considered as a weed and killed off. The plant is grown from seeds and is cultivated as a source of good during droughts. This a wonderfully hardy plant that can fight off drought.

When a it is fully grown. the leaves are boiled like cabbage. It is eaten like a vegetable in Africa and has a slightly bitter taste which is why it is often mixed in with other food to disguise the taste — hence the common name given to the plant, “silver spinach”.

It is commonly known as silver spinach as well due to the silver tinge on its branches. The leaves have a crescent shape and resemble stipules. The plant grows in places like woodlands, grass lands, and rocky grounds. It can also be semi-aquatic and occurs along water channels. It can grow in altitude ranges till 2000m after which the cold can kill the plant. It flowers from March to July.

8. Albahaca (Celosia Virgata)

Scientific Name: Celosia Virgata

USDA Growing Zone: 10-12

Care Level: Medium to High

Out of all the different types of Celosia plants, celosia virgata is one of the rarest ones. It is a perennial plant that grows in sub-shrubs as an herb or forb. The plant is also known as albahaca in some regions. It is found in Caribbean regions like the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The stem of the plant can grow a few inches tall and grows like a weed. The flower forms spikes, which look really nice against the green of the leaves.

This is such a rare variety of celosia that we couldn’t actually find an available photo to post in this article!

9. Celosia Isertii

Red pink celosia flower clusters growing in an oramental garden with bright green leaves

Scientific Name: Celosia Isertii

USDA Growing Zone: 11

Care Level: Medium

Celosia isertii has many different names all over the world.

  • It is known as the Manding Mandinka Furayŋamo in Gambia meaning death grass
  • It is known as Mende Gimbui or tεgσ in Sierra Leone
  • It is known as the Temne in FCD
  • It is known as Fula-Fulfulde Jarfundu in Nigeria
  • It is known as the Hausa Bokan Gida
  • It is known as Yoruba in Millson, which means to eat something good

It is used to make condiments, spices, sauces, and flavorings in cuisines around the world. The plant is also prepared as a soup where the leaves are boiled. It also has medicinal properties that treat arthritis and rheumatism.

It is a straggling herb, which grows in a bush form to 3 meters tall. The base of the plant is sometimes woody and grows in habitats such as damp sites, clearings, stream banks, forests, and savanna. It is found in regions like Cameroun, Southern Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Angola, and Tanganyika.

The Celosia flower is important as an ornamental plant and a food ingredient in many regions of the world. Its colors are known to be pleasing to the eye and many people love to include them in their bouquets.

FAQs

Are celosia flowers perennials?

Depending on their growing region, a celosia plant can be either an annual flower or a perennial flower. In warmer regions it is perennial, meaning that it will survive, dormant, through the winters and continue to bloom every spring. In colder regions, some species act as annual flowers, meaning that it will experience its entire life cycle within 3-4 seasons.

Are celosia flowers edible? 

There are certain species of celosia plants that produce edible flowers. They are actually grown as a vegetable plant in many eastern countries. Not only are the flowers edible, but certain species have edible foliage and roots as well.

Are celosia flowers deer resistant?

Though celosia species are not the first choice of snack for deer, if there aren’t any other plants that they prefer in an area, they will surely nibble on the leaves and flowers of a local celosia plant.

Do celosia seeds spread?

The plant grows annually and their seeding production rates are very high. One ounce of celosia seed can actually contain up to 43,000 seeds and they produce 200-700 kg per hectare. The seeds are so small that just 1-1.2 grams can contain up to 1,000 seeds! The flower also blossoms for a long time; they can last up to 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the fertility of the soil and the location.

With such tiny celosia seedlings, these guys are absolute experts at dispersal. Celosia seed can be dispersed through water, wind, and the fecal matter of different animal species as well. If you happen to be growing celosia indoors, remember that this plant seeds indoors as well. So perhaps cut the spent flowers before they are able to go to seed.

How long do celosia blossoms last?

The length of bloom time will vary from each celosia variety, but these plants are known for having exceptionally long blooming periods and this is a huge reason why people adore them!

How tall do celosia flowers get?

The overall height of a celosia plant will vary from species to species, but they will range from as small as 6 inches, whereas a taller variety can be over 6 feet tall!

Can you dry celosia flowers?

The celosia plant is an absolutely perfect option for a dried flower bouquet, and it is very simple to do! Simply harvest mature blossoms that have yet to go to seed. Cut the longest stems you possibly can and place them in a bucket of water if you’re not able to dry them right away.

Once you’re reading, bundle 6-8 different stems together, making sure that the blooms are in staggered places so that each one has proper air flow space. Hang the bundles upside in a place that is both dry and warm, but not in direct sunlight — this can fade their striking colors.

When do celosia flowers bloom?

A celosia flower will bloom at different times depending on the species and the growing region of the plant. However, they are usually one of the first flowers to bloom in the early spring, and blossoms can sometimes last all the way to the end of the summer or well into the fall.

Where are celosia flowers native to?

The plant is found in East Africa’s highlands where they are called ‘mfungu’ in Swahili. The generic name Celosia was derived from κήλεος (kḗleos) –an Ancient Greek word which means burning. This name comes from the flowers heads of these plants which look like a bunch of flames.

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