Celosia Caracas

Interesting Facts about the Celosia Caracas

            In the gardening world, there are many varieties of the popular flowering plant celosia; caracas is one type that is particularly sought after because of its vibrant color and showy contribution to any flower garden.

            Celosia is a versatile flower, one with cultivars exhibiting many different colors, shapes and sizes.   A more common everyday name for celosia is cockscomb; a name that may be more familiar to gardeners.  There are dwarf varieties as well as giant varieties of the plant, with most plants averaging approximately 2 to 3 feet in height at maturity.  Most characteristic of these plants is the feathery floral plumes that gently wave in the breeze throughout its mid summer blooming time.

            All varieties of the celosia, caracas included, are annual plants; meaning that their lifespan covers only one year or season of growing.  Some annuals are able to reseed themselves, giving the impression of being biennials or perennials.  The celosia plants, while able to reseed themselves, have a better rate of success if the seeds are gathered, dried, stored and then planted the following year.  Several varieties do produce copious amounts of seed that are able to self propagate, and may be termed as perennial plants although they are not perennial in nature.  The seeds of the celosia when fallen are considered to be “true” seeds, and will produce following generations quite well most of the time.

            Planting celosia or cockscomb plants for the first time in a garden or landscape is usually enough to permanently hook the gardener on this lovely plant.  Seeds that have been commercially packaged can be purchased, as well as seedling plants.  Just about any store that sells plants will generally offer at least one type of celosia.   A bright, sunny area is best for planting the celosia caracas, one which has well draining soil.  The plant is rather tolerant of several soil types; loam, sand and even clay can be successful celosia beds.  To achieve the very best of exhibition of the lovely blooms, place the plants in groups when planting.

            As with any annual flowering plant, the celosia should be planted outside after the danger of frost has passed.  If planting by seed, the seeds can be started indoors in peat pots before transferring the seedlings to the prepared flower bed.  By doing so, the gardener will be able to enjoy the earliest bloom possible.

            Bloom shapes vary within the celosia cultivars.   Some, such as the argentea  produce mounded profusely bedecked upon the sturdy stemmed plant.  Others, such as the spicata, kimono and caracasare more eye catching with the spires in purple, yellow, pink, burgundy and more hues of the rainbow.  The cultivar caracas produces intense, royal purple or bright pink plumes atop green foliage that is medium green in color and ovate in shape.  Numerous feathery fronds create the conical blossom, several of which perch at the end of the plant stem measuring just a few inches each.  This grouping of blossoms provides a show that is a blanket of continuous color when the plants are planted together, and will present quite a conversational piece in the garden during bloom time.

            It is always a sad occasion when the onset of frost in the late fall brings the cessation of blooming plants.  However, the celosia cultivars can easily be dried when in full bloom so that the beauty of these flowers can be enjoyed throughout the winter months.  Because the flowers of the celosia caracas have a natural, dry tendency, they are perfect choices for use in dried flower arrangements.  To dry the blossoms, pick the flowers after the morning dew has had the chance to dry in the sun; leaving the stem intact.  Choose only the loveliest and healthiest of the flowers for the best preservation.  Begin by stripping away the leaves and gathering the blossoms together, joining them with a rubber band at the stem ends.  Finding a dark, cool place with good aeration, hang the clusters upside down and leave until fully dry.

            Planting the celosia in a garden will likely become an annual treat after the beautiful show provided the first year.