Celosia 'Forest Fire'
Scientific Name: Celosia argentea
Common Names: Celosia 'Forest Fire', Common Cockscomb, Plumed Cockscomb, Silver Cockscomb
Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Celosia argentea has a wide distribution throughout the tropics and has become naturalised in many areas where it does not natively occur.
Forest fire celosia grows large, up to 80cm tall, so plant it towards the rear of mixed flower gardens so it doesn't shade out smaller plants. The red plumes can be used fresh or dried in cut flower arrangements.
Celosia prefers growing in a full sun or lightly shaded position. It requires a fertile, free-draining soil rich in organic matter to grow well. Add compost, well-rotted cow manure or worm casting prior to planting if you soil is sandy, lacking in nutrients or heavy with clay. Grows best in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, it may be beneficial to add garden lime if your soil is more acidic than this. Celosia is not frost hardy and will not grow well in cooler regions of Australia. Mulch around plants to retain soil moisture and reduce competition from weeds. Celosia is tolerant of heat but requires regular watering especially during dry weather, drought stressed plants may be more susceptible to aphid attack. Try to water away from the stem as celosia can be susceptible to stem rot. Celosia will self-sow when grown in ideal conditions and may become weedy, remove any unwanted seedlings regularly if this becomes a problem.
When To Sow
Temperate: September to January, after any chance of frost has past.
Subtropics: August to December.
Tropics: March to July.
How To Sow
Sow celosia seeds 3mm deep directly where they are to grow or start them in punnets. Thin to the healthiest seedlings or divide into individual pots as soon as the seedlings are large enough to safely handle. When planting out space celosia seedlings 25cm apart to allow sufficient room for growth.
Celosia seeds are quick to germinate taking from 10 to 16 days for seedlings to emerge.
Time To Flowering
11 to 13 weeks.