Tips on how to grow and care for Celosia flowers




The celosia flowers are commonly called woolflower, cockscomb, feathered amaranth and red fox. Celosia flowers are warm-weather flowering plants that thrive in hot, humid Mediterranean areas. The celosia flowers are commonly grown as annuals but can survive winters in United State Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Some of the mature plant heights are generally between six inches and three feet, although it depends on the cultivar. The Celosias in the “Childsii” and “Cristata” groups have rounded flowers, why those in the “Plumosa” group have arrowhead-shaped flowers and also those in the “Spicata” group have bottle-brush type flowers. All these flowers are easy to care for as long as their soil and sunlight requirements are met.
                                            
The sunlight and drainage
This plant actually requires a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight and soil that drains quickly. From my little experience a poorly draining planting sites can cause them to develop root rot. If you actually want to test how quickly the soil drains, you can remove the top and bottom from a large coffee can and then dig a 4-inch-deep hole in the soil the same circumference as the can, then insert the can into the hole. You can fill the can with water and check the water level after 1 hour. If the water level drops between two and five inches, it means the drainage is good. When the water level drops less than two inches, it means the drainage is poor, in this case perlite can be added along with soil amendments to improve the soil's drainage or you can plant the celiosa flower in containers or raised beds.

Percentage of organic matter and pH
This particular plant can grow in nutrient-poor, sandy soil but it will thrive and bloom more profusely in soil that contains high levels of organic matter. From my little experience a soil pH level that is between 6 and 6.5 are best. In fall before you plant Celosia, make sure you prepare the planting site by removing weeds and mixing organic matter into the soil. Most time sandy loam soil are considered ideal for most annuals, there is need to have organic matter mixed in each year to maintain consistency and fertility levels. From my experience leaf mold, peat, well-aged cow manure and compost are suitable soil amendments. It depends on how much organic matter is already in the soil, you can spread a 3- to 6-inch layer of soil amendment over the planting site and work it into the soil thoroughly to a depth of ten to twelve inches. Also sulfur may be added to lower the pH and lime can be used to raise the pH.

The Planting and watering
This flower can be planted in the garden in the spring when temperatures will remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant will be damaged if the temperature drops lower than that. After planting them make sure you water them generously to settle the soil around the roots. Also a three inch layer of organic mulch can be spread around them to control weeds and also help maintain moisture levels. Make sure you water them as often as necessary to keep the soil consistently moist.

The Fertilizing, Pinching and Deadheading
Actually fertilizer may not be necessary. Although if the plants seem to be growing slowly you can apply water-soluble fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio every 2 weeks or you can use a slow-release granular fertilizer. You can tie the flowers on taller cultivars to stakes to keep them from falling over or pinch the stems back as they grow to encourage a more bushy plant. You can use clippers sanitized with rubbing alcohol to remove the flowers as they fade to promote more flowers.

Pests and Disease control
This plant is not susceptible to serious damage from insects or diseases. If the soil does not drain well your plants may develop root rot, which appears in wilted or discolored leaves, try and make sure you amend the soil with compost or sand before planting, or you can dig in some organic matter around existing plants. Also fungal diseases like molds or powdery mildew, turns leaves brown and may kill the plant, you can use a commercial fungicide to remove damaged leaves to minimize the damage.

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