Wheat celosia is a unique annual that produces multiple stems topped with spiky pink to purple flowerheads. Small individual flowers open from the bottom up and take on a silvery sheen as they mature, providing a two-toned floral effect.
Its flowers look wonderful in fresh or dried bouquets. Plant some extras in a cutting garden so you can harvest as many stems as you want. Wheat celosia’s upright form combines nicely with rounded and spreading annuals like French marigolds, petunias and sweet alyssum.
Common name: Wheat celosia
Botanical name: Celosia argentea Spicata Group (syn. C. spicata)
Plant type: Annual
Height: 2 to 3 feet
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Average garden soil
• Moisture: Evenly moist but well-drained
• Mulch: None, or 1 inch organic mulch
• Pruning: Pinch out the growing tip on small plants to encourage branching
• Fertilizer: Apply a thin layer of compost when planting, or apply soluble fertilizer if needed
Pests and diseases
• No serious problems
• ‘Caracas’ (also known as ‘Dark Caracas’ or Deep Purple) has bright magenta-purple flowers.
• The Flamingo Series includes pink ‘Flamingo Feather’ and purple ‘Flamingo Purple’.
• ‘Pink Candles’ has long silvery pink flowers.
• ‘Ruby Parfait’ has deep rose-pink flowers.
• Wheat celosia thrives in hot weather; in fact, its growth can be stunted in cold weather, so wait until temperatures are reliably in the upper 50s or low 60s before planting outside.
• Wheat celosia may reseed, though it’s not usually an aggressive seeder. Deadhead spent flowers if you want to avoid reseeding.
All in the family
• Wheat celosia is a member of the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae), a widespread family of mostly herbaceous plants.
• Other garden flowers in the family include globe amaranth and Joseph’s coat (also known as summer poinsettia).
• Several amaranth species are grown for their edible seeds.
Where to buy
• Harris Seeds, harrisseeds.com
• Johnny’s Selected Seeds, johnnyseeds.com
• Select Seeds Antique Flowers, selectseeds.com
• The Thyme Garden Herb Co., thymegarden.com