Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Summer is a beautiful time. Cut flowers are so plentiful, and there are so many from which we can choose.
During this season we often use flowers for informal summer bouquets. As beautiful as daisies may be, we sometimes need a change. For accent and variety, we may want to use blooms with different shapes. Floral designers will find celosias are just delightful cut flowers.
There are two major kinds of celosias, and their names describe the shapes of the blooms. The candelabra or flamingo type has tall, tapering stems. They have a fluffy appearance, and add a soft texture to floral designs. The stems, which are usually medium in length, come in a wide range of colors. Most often I find myself using the soft pink ones.
The other kind of celosias is known as cockscomb. The spectacular blooms are in the shape of a rooster comb. The one thing youíll need to keep in mind about the cockscomb is that the stems are often very short. This can limit their use in certain kinds of floral designs. But donít let this keep you from using them. In a garden magazine, I saw an absolutely stunning design of a kissing ball made with red cockscomb. These stems are available in warm and hot colors, including yellows and reds.
Both kinds of celosias are perfect for cutting gardens. Though they can be grown from seed, I find it easier to just buy bedding plants because our growing season in upstate New York is very short.
All celosias need full sun for best growth.
In floral designs, the celosias have many uses. The taller candelabra can be used as an accent or line flower in mixed arrangements. Shorter-stemmed cockscombs are often incorporated into summer bouquets. When used alone, they can make spectacular designs. Simply tie a bunch of them together, and put them into a very short vase. For this I usually prefer a monochromatic color theme, particularly red or yellow.
If you have lots of celosia stems available from your cutting garden, dry the extra ones as everlastings. These plants can be used in most any kind of everlasting arrangements.