Stunning heavily branched annual with tall rose pink flower spikes. Each spike is made up of small flowers that flower from the bottom up and keep getting longer and longer as the season progresses. If planted early flower spikes can reach over a foot in length by time the frost arrives. Needs full sun and some water to get largest plants. Not fussy about soil type but must be well drained. Easy to grow and takes little maintenance. Deer don't eat it.
Description of Cockscomb Flamingo (Celosia spicata )
Flamingo has fine blade like thin green leaves on stiff strong upright stems which can grow to over 6 feet in height. Plants usually branch from low down on the stalks with each branch extending a stout stalk upward to produce a flower head. The small pink flowers are arranged on circular flower heads in tight groups at the tops of the stalks. Blooming begins in early summer from the bottom of the flower head upwards. This plant is interesting in that the flower heads keep on growing producing more and more flowers as the flower head becomes longer and longer. The small flowers bloom then leave behind a stiff pink to white or beige calyx with flowers on the top. If planted early enough these flower spikes can grow to over a foot in length before killed by frost. Flowers begin in early to mid summer depending on when planted and last until frost.
Since the flower stalks are so stiff and the flower heads remain they can be left in the garden to create winter interest in an otherwise often bleak landscape. It is an excellent plant for the back border or just in a mass on it's own. Stems are very strong, they do not need staking and hold up well in most adverse weather conditions. However plants may tilt over in sandy soils with high winds since the plant is so heavily branched. This can cause interesting shapes to form in the flower spikes as they turn to face upwards even if plant is at an angle.
Location and Care of Cockscomb Flamingo (Celosia spicata )
Flamingo likes a lot of sunshine, so plant where it gets a least five hours of full sun per day. It likes a well drained soil but is not fussy about soil type and seems to grown almost anywhere. Very heat tolerant. It does need water to be at its best. Although it can tolerate less water plants will be much smaller and less showy. It does best with daily watering. We suggest a soaker hose around the base watering for about 10 minutes per day. This should produce tall majestic plants with lots of flower spikes.
Best transplanted into the garden as soon as possible after the last frost date. Plants started early will grow large and have many flower spikes. Plants transplanted later in the year or started from direct seeding do not grow anything like as large.
Once established the plants need little care except watering and weeding around their bases to begin with. Once they grow large enough they can usually out compete all but the most tenacious weeds.
Growing Cockscomb Flamingo (Celosia spicata ) from seed.
Best started indoors in late winter for the largest plants. Very easy to grow, and germinates fairly quickly at warmer temperatures. Follow the general growing instructions.
Plant out as soon as possible after frost has passed to get the largest plants. Blooming usually starts in early summer and continues until frost.
Seeds can be direct sown in the garden after danger of frost has passed but plants will not grow as large or impressive.
Uses of Cockscomb Flamingo (Celosia spicata )
Flower heads make excellent cut flowers or can be dried for use in everlasting arrangements. Makes an excellent dried flower. Select blooms when there are a lot of pink flowers at the top of the flower head and the heads are two inches or more long. Really long flower heads tend to be less attractive in dried selections.
These flower heads can be dyed using food dyes or those for cotton fabric to create different colors for your collections if desired. Takes color very well.