Celosia is an annual and I never traffic in annuals. Unless they're in a pot, that is. Celosia is a favorite container plant because its flame-shaped blooms come in fiery colors that endure the high desert sun and never fade. Eye catching and hardy, Celosia are perfectly suited for our long growing season. And if you start them from seed, you really get your money's worth. Here's how, courtesy of the National Garden Bureau. Celosia ranks as their 2023 Annual of the Year.
How to Start From Seed
- Start to sow Celosia seeds about 10 weeks prior to planting outside.
- Be sure to use soil media specifically for germinating seeds.
- Sow seeds ¼” deep and covered with vermiculite.
- Keep the seeds and media moist by using a plastic cover over the seed tray until they germinate (7-10 days).
- Keep temperatures at 70-75 degrees F while germinating.
- Celosia seedlings are susceptible to dampening off so let media dry out slightly between waterings.
Let Your Celosia Thrive
- Celosia likes a warm sunny spot in the garden. Be sure to give these plants at least 6-8 hours of full sun and you should wait until mid-May or June to plant them, or at least until temperatures are above 55 degrees F.
- The soil must be well drained. If you have heavy clay soils that need to be improved, you can use compost or sand to improve the drainage. They prefer soils to have a pH of 6-6.5 with high organic matter content.
- After planting you will need to fertilize your plants monthly with a general-purpose fertilizer with equal amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K).
- Stake taller varieties to prevent them from falling over.
- Removing the old blooms will help to promote the production of new flowers.
- If your plant develops brown or tan holes in its leaves, it may be suffering from the fungal disease leaf spot. You can use a ready-to-use copper fungicide on the infected areas.
- Spider mites can be a common cause of death for Celosia. These spiders are very tiny and hard to catch before they do a lot of damage. Brown-bronze foliage that is becoming dry and brittle is a sign of spider mites.
- Celosia flowers can be used as dried flowers for displays. Hang them upside down for 2 weeks to dry.