Celosia is an extremely hardy flowering plant that thrives in warm conditions and with tons of sunlight. And with its great signature colors and beginner-friendly temperament, it’s no surprise that celosia is among the most popular plants to spruce up gardens and landscapes.
But while celosia is beginner-friendly, that doesn’t mean you can just put it in the ground and hope for the best. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive care guide, and we even dove into some recommendations on the best seeds you can use to jump-start your celosia collection!
How To Grow Celosia
Celosia is a beautiful flowering plant that can help set any landscape apart, so it’s no wonder that it’s an extremely popular choice to grow. But while it’s a beautiful flowering plant that’s relatively easy to grow, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your research when you’re going to grow it.
From the recommended USDA hardiness zone to what you need to do to get it through the winter, we’ve covered everything you need to know about how to grow celosia in your yard and garden!
Recommended USDA Hardiness Zone
While you can really grow celosia as an annual in just about any USDA hardiness zone, if you’re looking to keep it as a perennial, then you need to live in a hardiness zone between 10 and 12. That excludes most of the United States, and really only highlights some of the warmest climates on Earth.
However, if you don’t live in one of those zones, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow celosia. Instead, it means that you’ll either need to move it indoors to keep it alive through the winter months, or you’ll need to replant it each year.
Since celosia is a lower-priced plant, there’s no reason you can’t replant it every year, just keep bear that in mind when you’re considering what plants you want for your garden!
How Much Sun Does Celosia Need?
Celosia is a plant that thrives in full sunlight, and it needs tons of it. To get the best results your celosia should get between eight and ten hours of direct sunlight each day! This means you should find some of the sunniest spots in your garden and plant your celosia there.
And if you’re worried about your celosia wilting in the heat, with celosia that’s a rare occurrence. This high heat tolerance and ability to thrive in full sunlight make it a great choice if you’re looking to spruce up portions of your yard that don’t have much shade.
While celosia needs water just like every other plant, the truth is that you’re more likely to overwater celosia than underwater it. That’s because celosia is an extremely drought-resistant plant, but it is quite prone to root rot.
While having your celosia planted outdoors in a full sunlight area certainly helps reduce this risk, it doesn’t eliminate it entirely. Try to water celosia two or three times a week, but keep in mind that rain accounts for this too.
If you’re getting a few showers a week, then there’s no reason to water your celosia plants further. However, if you’re growing your celosia indoors or if you’re not getting much rain outside, watering two to three times a week is ideal.
When you’re watering your plant, don’t overdo it. Simply water the plant enough to dampen the soil, then give it plenty of time to dry out before watering again!
When To Plant Celosia
Celosia is a warm-weather plant that can’t tolerate colder weather, so you want to plant it after the soil has plenty of time to warm up in the spring. It should be well after the last frost of the year because if a frost does come, it will kill your celosia and make you start back over.
To maximize the amount of time you have celosia blooming in your garden, we recommend starting growing celosia from seeds indoors anywhere from four to six weeks before you plan on transplanting it outside.
Controlling the Spread
If you happen to live in a warmer climate where celosia can grow year-round, keep in mind that celosia is notorious for spreading and taking over your garden. But while unkempt celosia will spread like wildfire, with a little bit of trimming and know-how you can keep everything in check.
All you need to do is remove the spent flower heads before they have a chance to wither and fall. That’s because celosia creates seeds on the flower heads after they’re spent. So if you remove the flower heads and dispose of them before they wither and fall, then you can keep celosia from spreading and taking over your entire garden next spring!
Protecting Your Celosia From Winter Weather
While celosia grows great in warmer weather, when the cold winters hit, celosia can’t make it through. But what can you do if you don’t live in a 10 to 12 hardiness zone to keep your celosia alive for next spring?
You have a few options, but by far the best choice is to bring your plants indoors. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it’s also why many owners in colder climates choose to grow celosia in pots.
However, if you do plant your celosia in the ground and you live in a borderline USDA hardiness zone – like eight or nine, you can try insulating the plants and surrounding soil to keep it warm enough to survive the winter.
You can try mulching around the entire plant to insulate it some, and you can also choose to cover the plants completely during the colder months. Furthermore, there are devices you can purchase to heat the soil. But while these devices are among the most effective options, they’re also among the most expensive.
Just keep in mind that no matter what you do, there’s no guarantee of success. You’ll have a better chance of succeeding during a mild winter, but that also means what works one year might not be enough to get you through the next.
This is why most people that grow celosia in these cooler climates simply choose to regrow and replant celosia the following year.
Growing Celosia From Seed
While there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a pre-started celosia assembly, and it’ll save you some time, if you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, that means growing celosia from seed. Still growing from seed doesn’t happen all on its own.
That’s why we highlighted everything you need to do to be successful here. The good news is that once you know what you’re doing, it’s one of the simplest flowers to grow from seed.
When to Start Growing Celosia From Seed
Because it doesn’t take long for celosia to sprout and start growing in earnest, you should start growing celosia anywhere from four to six weeks before you plan on transplanting it outside. You want to transplant celosia outside after the last frost, once the soil has had plenty of time to warm up and thaw out completely.
Because this time frame varies from year to year and depends on your location, we can’t recommend an exact date that you should start growing your celosia from seed.
Germinating your celosia seeds is the most challenging part, but when you do it right it can also be the most rewarding. Celosia seeds require no sunlight to germinate, and as such you should bury them about ¼” under the soil and completely cover them.
From there, you need to keep the soil warm and moist but never drench it completely. If the soil completely dries out at any point throughout the germination process, there’s a good chance that many of the seeds will not germinate.
To make the process as easy as possible we highly recommend covering the top of your container to help retain the moisture without the need to rewet the soil constantly.
If you’re successful, your celosia seeds should germinate in anywhere from ten to fourteen days.
Caring for Seedlings
Once you’ve successfully germinated your celosia seeds, you’re past the most challenging part, but that doesn’t mean you’re done growing them yet. You need to meticulously care for your seedlings for at least two weeks, but as long as you have large enough containers, there’s no harm in holding your seedlings back a little bit longer if you want.
Whatever you do, don’t transplant your seedlings outdoors until the chance of a frost has completely passed. It’s better to leave your seedlings indoors for a few extra weeks instead of risking them to a premature frost that would almost certainly kill them.
To care for the seedlings indoors, you need to have them in a location where they have access to plenty of sunlight, and you should water them two to three times a week. You still don’t want to let the soil completely dry out at this point, but you also don’t want to overwater them because of root rot.
Transplanting Your Seedlings
Once you’re ready to transplant your seedlings to their permanent location, you’re past the hard part. The hardest part of transplanting your seedlings is finding the perfect location to plant them. They need tons of sunlight, so find a part of your garden or landscape that doesn’t have much shade.
From there, dig far enough down to completely cover the roots and the existing soil in the pot to make the transition as smooth as possible. Water the newly planted seedlings, then give it a few days to allow your seedlings to adjust to their new home!
Recommended Starter Kit
My Garden Kit Seed Starter
With 40 biodegradable starter pots, 40 plant markers, multiple growing trays, gardening gloves, and some simple gardening tools, it’s everything you need to be successful the first time.
If you’re growing your celosia from seeds, save yourself some money and frustration and get this kit before you start.
Picking the Best Seeds – Recommended Celosia Seeds
Once you know everything you need to grow celosia, it’s time to pick out the perfect plants. While you can undoubtedly find some pre-started Celosia flowers out there, you can save some money if you choose to start your own plants from seeds.
But picking the right seeds is just as important as all the growing conditions, and that’s why we tracked down and highlighted the three best seed starter kits for you here.
1. Celosia Flamingo Feather Seeds
However, there is only one variety here, so if you want some more diversity, we recommend purchasing both this pack of Celosia Flamingo Feather Seeds as well as some of the other varieties we highlighted below.
2. Flamingo Feather/Wheat
While these celosia seeds might sound like the same thing as our top choice, when you take a look at the flowers, it’s not hard to see how they’re different. Our top choice has a dark purple and red hue, while these have more of a pinkish coloring.
They are slightly more expensive and “only” come with 100 seeds, but it’s still extremely affordable compared to purchasing a pre-started plant!
3. Mixed Pampas Plumes
These Mixed Pampas Plumes are actually the lowest-priced seeds on our list, and it comes with 150 different seeds you can plant. Even better, it’s a variety pack, which means that you get plenty of color and variation when you plant them together.
While it’s impossible to select the exact colors you want or get a uniform appearance with this pack, if you want a colorful assembly, then they’re an outstanding choice.
Watching the Bloom
You go through all the work of growing celosia to admire the blooms, so it’s best to have an idea of what to expect. For starters, celosia blooms for an average of ten weeks. You’ll notice the first blooms around July, and you should continue to see blooms until the temperature drops.
That means if you live in a warmer climate, you should be able to enjoy the blooms for longer than ten weeks, but if you live in a colder region, you might have to settle for eight weeks or less!
It’s completely normal to have a few questions about growing celosia, even after reading through the guide. That’s why we decided to highlight a few of the most frequently asked questions about Celsia for you here!
Do Celosia Plants Come Back Every Year?
While celosia is a perennial flower in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, in most of the United States you won’t be able to grow it as a perennial. The colder winter weather will kill celosia, which means you’ll need to replant it every year.
So, yes celosia plants can come back every year, but in the majority of the United States you should treat celosia plants as an annual.
How Do You Care for a Celosia Plant?
Once you have a started plant, caring for a celosia plant is pretty straightforward. They need eight to ten hours of sunlight a day, and once you have a fully-grown plant they’re generally fairly drought resistant. They need water at least once a week, but two to three times a week is ideal.
Just ensure that you don’t overwater these plants, because if the soil is constantly damp these plants are especially prone to root rot.
How Often Should I Water Celosia?
While fully mature celosia plants only need water about once a week, ideally they should get water about two to three times a week. If you’re growing your celosia in a pot, it’s especially important to check if the soil is damp.
Celosia is extremely prone to root rot, so you need to ensure the soil has time to dry out properly before watering again!
Can Celosia Grow in Pots?
Absolutely! In most of the United States growing celosia in pots is actually the recommended method. That’s because celosia can’t handle cold winter temperatures, and if you have celosia in a pot you can easily move it indoors to keep it alive through the winter!
Does Celosia Like Sun or Shade?
Celosia loves sunlight, and as such it should get between eight to ten hours of direct sunlight per day. It’s a warm-weather plant that thrives in both sun and heat, so find a nice sunny spot in your garden or on the porch to grow your celosia!
If you live in a warmer climate, celosia plants can be a great perennial flower to add to your garden. But even if you don’t, they’re cheap enough and easy enough to grow that you can replace them every year! Or you can simply plant them in a pot and move them indoors during the winter months.
Either way, they’re a hardy plant that can add a splash of color to your landscape, and they’re easy enough to grow that you don’t need a green thumb to watch them take off!