I remember the first time I saw Celosia as a kid. I instantly wanted to grow ‘brain flowers’ in our garden. I loved the way it looked, and I loved the way it felt – like ruffled velvet. However, I was not in charge of the garden – my mother was. And so we planted impatiens and begonias. My mother said the celosia seeds would spread all over the garden and we’d be infested with it year after year.
“And the problem with that is what, exactly? They’re so cool!” This was my response.
Well, now that I’m in charge of my own garden, I can finally embrace my childhood fancy of growing ‘brain flowers.’ Or in more adult terms: Brenda Celosia.
As it turns out, mother was partially right. Celosia is grown from seed but the plant is not considered invasive. (I think she just wanted more room for begonias.) Celosia is an annual plant and will only grow for one year. You can either start celosia from seed or purchase young plants for your garden. Options abound when it comes to varieties of celosia. It is available in a wide array of colors, plant sizes and flower shapes. Choose the one (or more!) that appeals to you. For my own taste, I like a large flower head.
Growing Celosia From Seed
Start seeds indoors about four weeks before your last frost date. Place seeds in a small container with drain holes. Fill three quarters of the container with a seed starting mix or flower potting soil. Drop in a few seeds, cover them with soil, and add enough water so that the soil or starting mix is damp, but not over saturated. Be sure to cover the seed completely with soil as light will prevent the seed from germinating. Once the sprouts have emerged after 10-20 days, place them under grow lights or in a sunny southern exposure window and keep them watered. Seeds will germinate and sprout at the highest rate if the temperature is kept warm-but-not-hot…about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 degrees Celsius.