Celosia comes from the Amaranth plant family, known for their striking, feathery flowers in many colors.
The species belonging to the genus – and there’s about 50 of them – hail from tropical parts of South America, Asia, and Africa.
Celosia At A Glance
There are various types of celosia to choose from, which form flowers in different shapes, and form three main categories. You can get plumed celosia, crested celosia, and spike celosia.
While there are three different types, they come from two separate species, Celosia spicata, and Celosia argentea var. cristata.
The former has spiked celosias, as you might guess, and the latter features crested celosias and plumed celosias.
Crested celosias are the oddest of the bunch, producing flowers in clusters which look like a rooster comb or even similar to the shape of a brain.
These flowers come in white, yellow, pink, orange, and red.
Spiked celosias have flowers which are similar to those produced on wheat crops, and the plants themselves are much more compact than other types, featuring pink or red flowers.
Plumed celosias resemble dyed, flamboyant feathers, with very soft florets which come in shades of purple, yellow, orange, and red.
Celosia Name Meaning
The name for the genus comes from the orange and red flower heads, stemming from the Greek word kelos, which translates to burning.
The Symbolism Behind Celosia Flowers
Celosia flowers, no matter the type you go for, symbolize friendship, love, immortality, affection, and joy.
Celosia are well known for their great ornamental value, for both their curious flower heads and their eye-catching shapes.
They also make great cut flowers, both as fresh flowers and everlasting, dried flowers.
Celosia also has some culinary and medicinal applications, too. Celosia foliage can be used in stews, which taste similar to spinach.
In terms of medicinal properties, these plants have been employed to treat eye problems, chest complaints, stomach upsets, and blood disorders.
Celosia Growing Requirements
Celosia plants are mostly annual plants, and the majority are hardy in USDA zones 2 through to 12.
The good news is that while they need to be planted every year, they grow very easily, as long as you give them the right conditions.
They love full sunlight, but will survive in dappled shade, too.
Ensure that the soil you give them is damp and drains well, and once these plants have settled into the soil, they will withstand small periods of drought.
Some species reach a foot high, while others reach up to 3 feet tall.
The smaller varieties are suitable for containers, and most types only need an average amount of water to survive.
Celosias are low maintenance, and the most they’ll require from you is the occasional watering, and chopping off any spent flower heads, as the plants hold onto them long after they have finished.
This trait is also a good thing, as drying flowers on the plant is such an easy way to preserve them, and it doesn’t cost anything, besides a slightly untidy look for a few weeks.