Celosias were my first foray into flowering plants. I was a little skeptical at first. Can I really grow flowers under this scorching summer heat in Manila? I have always thought that beautiful flowers can only thrive in cold places. Nonetheless, I bought two packets of celosia seeds, one is a pink elongated cone variety and the other, a red-orange crested variety. Two months later, the flowers began to bloom. To my pleasant surprise, they have become a lovely addition to my little urban garden!
Starting with Seeds
I sowed the seeds directly into a horizontal plastic pot filled with potting soil. I added some slow release fertilizer which I mixed with the soil. It did not take long before the seedlings started to pop out. As it was the height of summer, I had to water them daily.
After about two months, the plants grew more than a foot taller with very lush leaves. So I decided to transfer each one of them into individual pots. I used medium-sized plastic pots with at least 10 inches in diameter. I also placed them in an area where they would get at least 8 hours of sunshine.
Celosias in full bloom
Three months after I sowed the seeds, the flowers are now in full bloom. When the summer season ended, I got a little worried. This meant that the plants would receive less than eight hours of direct sun exposure daily.
To my relief, the plants continued to thrive well during the rainy season and the flowers even grew lovelier as the days went by, showing off vibrant colors from red to orange and pink.
Some basic facts about Celosias
There are three types of celosias, according to the National Garden Bureau. One is the plume variety which is the feathery-type; the other is the crest variety which produce the wrinkly-looking knobs (like what you see in my featured photo); and lastly, the spikes, which produce the elongated cone-shaped flowers (like my pink celosias).
These plants supposedly originated in Africa where their leaves are considered edible. In the Philippines though, they are mostly used as ornaments. They can be excellent as cut flowers as well, aside from being magnificent in the garden.
Handling pest infestation
Celosias are prone to pest infestation, especially during the rainy days. When spraying pesticide, make sure to spray early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun has completely set. Do not apply pesticide in full sun, as this will scorch or damage the leaves and flowers.