Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cockscomb (Cristata Group)
Celosia argentea var. cristata

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Celosia (se-LO-see-uh) (Info)
Species: argentea var. cristata

Synonym:Celosia cristata
Synonym:Celosia pyramidalis

43 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Mid Fall

Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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8 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Gale62865 On Oct 16, 2014, Gale62865 from MULKEYTOWN, IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

I was told they would be about 3'. Please check the pic of this plant. My wife is 5'6" and they are over her head. You can see I am very pleased with them. I would appreciate seeds for other colors if anyone have some. I will send free seeds if anyone wants them. Send a sase to me. Gale Jackson 4013 Church Rd. Mulkeytown I'll. 62865.

Negative meridannight On Jul 14, 2014, meridannight wrote:

not had a good experience with this one. i've killed all two of the ones i bought. the first one i think i overwatered (although the roots looked completely healthy and weren't rotten), the other one i was more careful with and it still died.

i repotted both of them and i think that had something to do with their decline, since both of them were fine up until repotting. i used soil requirements posted online somewhere but maybe i got it wrong. i know i used two different soil types on either plant so they didn't have identical soils, and they both declined very rapidly, within 10 days from repotting. i don't know what i did wrong.

Positive dunwawry On Feb 3, 2014, dunwawry from Greensboro, NC
United States wrote:

I got four seedlings last summer at the county ag annual plant sale. Somebody came up to me and offered them for free, they were shutting down. I had no idea what they were, but hey, they were free. The seedlings then got dropped, twice, and remained in the small sized six flat for 5 or 6 weeks prior to planting in the ground. They'd been through some abuse, and looked it. I had six originally but two were completely nuked. I was in the midst of relandscaping so I quickly planted them in a small out-of-the-way but sunny spot that I hadn't decided what to do with yet, and forgot about them. They got the benefit of an unusually rainy summer/fall, but they didn't make my priority list. My point is....... these plants are 'hard to kill' hardy, a category I've don't quite a bit of personal research on these last few years (thus providing economic stimulus during the great recession, for local nurseries at least).

Before I knew it though I had two different colors, deep red and a purplish-pink. I'd have guessed they weren't the same plant if I didn't know better. The pink plants were bushier with blade-like leaves and smaller flowers. They got about 3' tall when both uprooted and fell over during a short dry spell. I just stuck them back in the ground with stakes, and they were none the worse. But you may need to stake and tie them if they are like the pink ones I grew, they were very shallow rooted (we have clay here)....... assuming it wasn't a growth deficiency related to earlier mistreatment. The red plants were a little taller, with a more upright profile and much larger blooms. They were magnificent. I had a fair number of plants blooming through the fall in my yard, mandevilles to hydrangeas to lilies to clematis, and more. I love bright and showy flowers (and easy, the clematis have been problem children). But these two neglected and abused plants were the ones that caught the attention of people walking down the street. Two of my neighbors asked for some seed for this spring.

If you have a sunny spot and want lots of bright color this summer and fall, this is as fool-proof as it gets.

Negative Floralova On Aug 29, 2013, Floralova from Foley, AL wrote:

Hi! I didn't see any entries for the state of Alabama as a growth territory so here it is! We are very successfully growing the Celosia Argentea Cristata in lower Alabama in the county of Baldwin. We were given the seeds by a gardener working in the gardens of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain 2 years ago. We hoped they would survive but this plant has done a lot more than that it is thriving in spectacular fashion and is a constant reminder of the wonderful visit we had in the old gardens of the Alhambra. I have another plant growing in a clay pot but it is not doing nearly as well as the one in the ground. LOVE this flower. Will be looking to get more in other colors like yellow and orange

Neutral mcmai On Aug 26, 2013, mcmai from Kensington, CA wrote:


Positive Jcmeinster On Jul 28, 2012, Jcmeinster from Conroe, TX wrote:

This Celosia Argentea var. Cristata and Tagetes Erecta (Mexican marygold ) are a must have flower in Southeastern Mexico for "Dia de los Muertos "(The day of the death November 2th Mexico observed holidays) Floral arrangements are a good use for this plant . Plant foliage is weed like ,pale green with many times pinkish coloration , to 5' tall up right and branching habit , normally the main trunk of the plant exhibit a bigger flower , it will reseed itself under the right conditions and become a bit invasive but easy to eradicate by pulling out young plantlets ,or early collection of seeds. I specially recommend this annual for Fall bloomers companion , red and magenta colors in special .

Positive SW_gardener On Aug 11, 2009, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love these! So easy to grow from seed and they carry such charm!

Positive lothianjavert On Aug 3, 2009, lothianjavert from North East, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

Celosias are an annual that I've grown for quite a few years. My current celosias are an unnamed cockscomb type variety that reseeds freely for me. Before this bunch, I had only grown the shorter, more compact types (12" or so). These are all pushing 6' and well branched when happy. I have no idea what cultivars they come from. My husband brought them home from the ag department at his school. They were a few of the sole survivors after the greenhouse's vents malfunctioned and it overheated. They were thin and scraggly, but once planted took off. As they kept getting taller, I kept cutting them back severely, hoping to keep them short. It was in vain. They developed massive bases and large cockscombs in magenta or yellow, as well as side branches that also bloomed. I now keep them at the back of the bed due to their height. When I cut them down in the winter, I do not remove the heads, but let them remain. By July I have volunteers. I have been weeding out the yellows, whites, and faded pinks and keeping the tallest of the saturated magentas and magenta over oranges for the past few years.

Whatever variety you have, these annuals are worthy of a spot in a sunny garden.

Neutral macybee On Oct 13, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Celosia - Cockscomb, Chinese Woodflower
This genus of erect annuals, perennials and shrubs in the amaranthus family contains 50 or more species from warmer parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas, but only one (Celosia argentea) is widely cultivated as a bedding annual and for cut flowers. It has evolved in cultivation into several different forms, hardly recognizable as belonging to the one species. It has simple, soft, strongly veined leaves; the variation is almost wholly in the structure of the heads of the small flowers, which have undergone proliferation and deformation in the two major cultivated races.
Cultivation: In cool climates celosias are treated as conservatory plants, or planted out for summer bedding after raising seedlings under glass in spring. They are better adapted to hot climates, withstanding the fiercest summer heat. They require full sun, rich, well-drained soil and constant moisture. Propagate from seed in spring.
Celosia argentea - Celosia cristata - Celosia pyramidalis
Probably native to tropical Asia, this erect, summer-flowering annual can reach 3' or more in height. The leaves are mid-green; the silvery white flowers appear in summer in dense, erect, pointed spikes with a silvery sheen. The species is best known in the guise of two strikingly different cultivar groups, which in turn are hardly recognizable as belonging to the species. These are the Plumosa Group, with erect, plume-like heads of tiny deformed flowers in a range of hot colors, and the Cristata Group (cockscombs), with bizarre wavy crests of fused flower stalks also in many colors. Both have been developed in cultivation with a range of seedling strains, differing in height as well as size and the color of the flowerheads. The Plumosa Group in particular are favored for cut flowers and sale in pots for indoor decoration. Some dwarf strains are not more than 6" tall, while the old-fashioned bedding strains are abount 24". Most strains are sold as mixed colors.
Zones 10-12.

Positive tmccullo On Aug 6, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We got seeds from a huge bloom a woman from Peru gave us. I planted a hand full of them in early spring and 4 months later they are almost 5' tall and the blooms are bigger than my hand and still growing. They love the sun and seem to be resistant to many of the problems we have with our clay soil.

Neutral Gabrielle On Jan 25, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Light aids germination of seeds.

Positive flowercrazy39 On Aug 29, 2005, flowercrazy39 from Manchester, NH wrote:

I've grown this plant from seed for two years and it's still thriving. I will continue to grow it again next year, maybe in a different color.

Positive Crain On Jun 22, 2003, Crain wrote:

I have started plants from seeds in my basement for last 2 years and transplanted outside the first of June. Produces a very pretty leaf that looks good enough to eat and the most beautiful flower I have ever seen.

Neutral Terry On Mar 19, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

These popular annuals deliver long-lasting color in the garden. They also make striking additions to fresh or dried arrangements. Several varieties exist.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Foley, Alabama
Little Rock, Arkansas
Fairfield, California
Livermore, California
Bartow, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Machesney Park, Illinois
Mulkeytown, Illinois
Toddville, Iowa
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Roseland, Louisiana
North East, Maryland
Parkville, Maryland
Pasadena, Maryland
Mathiston, Mississippi
Conway, Missouri
Blair, Nebraska
Manchester, New Hampshire
Southold, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Vinton, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Reading, Pennsylvania
Clemson, South Carolina
Cookeville, Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Mc Minnville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Conroe, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Garland, Texas
Hockley, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Port Lavaca, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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