Cockscombs are delightful garden ornamental plants that belong to the genus Celosia and the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. They can either be herbaceous annuals and perennials, or shrubs, with around 45 species in this relatively small genus. The most popular garden cockscomb plants are cultivars of or closely related to Celosia argentea.
C. argentea cultivars are normally divided into three main categories, classified by the form of their showy flower heads. The cristata group (C. cristata = C. argentea var. cristata) has unusual flowerheads that are either globular, resembling brain coral, or crested, resembling the comb of a rooster; the plumosa group (C. plumosa = C. argentea var. plumosa), produces delicate and feathery flower spikes; and the spicata group (C. spicata = C. argentea var. spicata) has erect flower spikes that look like a sheaf of wheat.
These garden favorites are usually tender perennials, however, in colder climates, they are often grown as annuals. They are usually summer to fall bloomers and can either be grown from seed or purchased as pre-started plants from nurseries in mid-spring.
Since their introduction to Europe in the 1570s, cockscomb plants have been extremely popular, rising to fame in the Victorian era where they were a key component for many Victorian gardens! Their incredible versatility and wide range of flower forms and vibrant colors make them suitable for a range of garden styles!
Cockscomb flowers come in vivid and rich hues of pink, red, orange, yellow, and purple. You can plant and grow cockscomb flowers in cottage-style, prairie, patio, city, informal gardens, and more!
Beautiful Celosia Varieties Every Gardener Should Know
#1 Asian Garden (C. argentea)
This lovely cockscomb variety has an upright growing habit and will reach 40 inches high. It has erect, plume-like flower spikes that have vibrant purple-pink flowers that fade to pale pink as they mature, producing an attractive two-tone effect! Asian Garden is noted for its highly branched, bush-like appearance which makes it perfect for beds and borders.
Venezuela grows as tall as 12 inches making it a wonderful choice for beds and borders. It has beautiful magenta flower spikes that would look lovely in fresh or cut flower displays! This cockscomb variety has pretty dark green leaves flushed with dark purple. Its vibrant flower spikes would look at home in both tropical and cottage-style garden schemes.
#3 Apricot Brandy (C. argentea var. plumosa)
Apricot Brandy is a dwarf cockscomb that only reaches 1 foot tall! This makes it a top cockscomb for container growing, as its sunny flowers can be used to add a splash of color to patios or balconies. It has feathery plumes that are vivid orange and stand out against its rich green foliage.
#4 Dragon’s Breath
This stunning plumosa cockscomb flower produces masses of fiery red feathery plumes. These blooms are long-lasting, making for a display that will last from summer through to fall. Its green flushed red foliage adds to its dramatic flair that will be sure to spice up any patio or container garden!
#5 Glow Carmine
Glow Carmine grows up to 3 feet tall and has vibrant plumes of crimson flowers that have just a touch of violet. This cockscomb is wonderful for informal garden beds and borders, or planted in large containers alongside other cockscomb cultivars of various heights and colors!
#6 Glow Red
Glow Red has simply stunning bright green leaves that are edged with soft pink. It reaches just under 14 inches, and has bold feathery plumes of pink to red flowers! It has a bushy habit, making it a fantastic cockscomb plant for growing along cottage-style or informal borders.
#7 Kelos Candela Pink
This phenomenal cockscomb cultivar is a prolific bloomer that will keep blooming all season long! It has long, upright, feathery flower spikes that resemble a candle, with bright pink flowers that will catch the eye of everyone in the garden. It can be up to 30 inches tall, lending it as a garden bed filler or for adding height to container displays.
#8 Kimono Cream
Kimono Cream is a compact cockscomb variety that grows to 20 inches tall. It has a bushy, clump-forming habit making it a wonderful choice for greenhouses and conservatories, city and courtyard gardens, and patios. It blooms from mid-summer through to early fall, producing soft feathery plumes of golden yellow to pale yellow flowers.
#9 Kimono Rose
Part of the Kimono series, Kimono Rose grows between 14 and 16 inches with fluffy plumes that grow as large as 2.5 inches. These scarlet red flowers contrast nicely with the rich green foliage below, and look most impressive when planted en masse in garden beds or mixed in with other cockscomb plants in prairie gardens!
#10 Kimono Salmon Pink
Kimono Salmon Pink is a delightful cockscomb cultivar. It grows between 14 and 16 inches high, with 2.5-inch fluffy plumes of raspberry pink flowers! Its foliage is bright green, accentuating the pretty pink color of its flowers. Plant Kimono Salmon Pink amongst other members of the Kimono Series for a colorful and attractive display.
#11 Kimono Yellow
Kimono Yellow would make a vibrant addition to any garden! It is a compact cockscomb cultivar, growing between 14 and 16 inches tall, and features 2.5-inch feathery flower spikes. Its flowers are an eye-catching golden yellow.
#12 Smart Look Red
This charming cockscomb plant has stunning foliage as well as beautiful flowers. Its leaves emerge as copper-bronze, then age to a deep burgundy color variegated with gray-green! It is a compact cockscomb at only 11 inches high and blooms from early summer to mid-fall. Its feathery plumes are vivid red and look excellent when planted en masse along a garden border.
#13 Sunday Purple
Sunday Purple, part of the Sunday series, is a favorite for cut flowers due to its full plumes that are packed with purple-red flowers and its long vase life! It grows just over 3 feet high and has an upright habit that lends it to the back of borders where it can add some architectural height. Plant this cockscomb flower in informal and prairie gardens in an area that receives full sun but is sheltered from strong winds.
#14 Bombay Bronze (C. cristata)
Bombay Bronze is a truly unique cockscomb variety that has interesting flowers which would be the talking point of any garden! It is part of the cristata group, with crest-like flowerheads that resemble a rooster’s comb. These flowerheads are pale pink with bronze-orange tips.
#15 Bombay Green
Bombay Green is an unusual yet beautiful cristata cockscomb variety that is highly popular as a cut flower in some parts of the world. Its unique lime green coloring makes it sure to stand out in any outdoor space! This cockscomb plant grows up to 3 feet tall and has fluffy, green, crested flower heads. Plant it at the back of borders to add texture and height.
#16 Bombay Pink
Bombay pink is another wonderful part of the Bombay series and cristata group. It is one of the tall celosia types that will grow as large as 3 feet. This cultivar has eye-catching crested flower heads that are raspberry pink! Plant it alongside pink zinnias or delicate blue ageratums for a beautiful cottage-style garden display.
#17 Bombay Yellow
This sunny cockscomb cultivar is a great choice for adding a splash of color to the back of garden borders. It grows over 3 feet tall and like other members of the Bombay series, is known for being floriferous. Its crest-like flower heads are a lovely golden yellow and look beautiful in cut flower displays alongside dahlias and other cockscomb varieties.
#18 Chief Carmine
As part of the Chief series, Chief Carmine is classified as a cristata cockscomb flower. It grows over 2 feet tall and has unusual globular flower heads with a meandering pattern that resembles brain coral! These flowerheads are a vivid carmine red that contrasts nicely with their bright green leaves.
#19 Chief Persimmon
Chief Persimmon flowers are a lovely persimmon color guaranteed to brighten up any outdoor space! Like other members of the series, this cockscomb cultivar produces uniform globular flowerheads that resemble brain coral. These plants stand just over two feet off the ground and are a great choice for cut flower displays even though their blooms are a little unusual. Like most cockscombs plants they are also brilliant as dried flowers.
#20 Chief Rose
This beautiful rosy pink cockscomb flower is a perfect addition to any cottage garden scheme. Plant it amongst plumosa cockscombs, pink ageratums, and white dahlias for a beautiful display! It has globular flowerheads that resemble brain coral, adding some interesting texture to beds and borders.
#21 Cramer’s Burgundy
Cramer’s Burgundy is known as a prolific bloomer producing masses of globular cristata form flowers that can be between 2 and 6 inches across. The plant reaches a maximum height of 3 feet, and has richly colored wine red flowerheads! It is a popular cockscomb for cut flower displays with a long vase life of up to 2 weeks.
#22 Prestige Scarlet
Prestige Scarlet has a bushy habit and grows as large as 2 feet. It has masses of bright scarlet flowerheads that emerge from late spring to early summer. This cockscomb cultivar has wonderful bronze-green variegated foliage that highlights its beautiful blooms. Plant it in informal or cottage-style gardens.
#23 Flamingo Feather (C. spicata)
Flamingo Feather is a beautiful cockscomb flower that can grow between 2 and 3 feet high. It has an upright habit making it a great choice for adding height to the backs of sunny cottage-style or informal borders! This cockscomb has showy flower spikes that have a pretty bi-colored effect due to its soft pink flowers fading to silver as they mature
# 24 Spiky Pink
This spicata cockscomb flower has a bushy habit and is compact, only reaching 12 inches high! It blooms from summer through to early fall, producing pretty clusters of feathery flower spikes! These spikes are bright pink and stand out against its green foliage which is flushed with red bronze! Plant Spiky Pink at the front of garden beds and borders in cottage-style or even tropical garden schemes.
#26 Spiky Purple
Like Spiky Pink, Spiky Purple has rather unusual flower heads that grow in clusters rather than individual spikes. It is a bush, compact cockscomb variety that can grow as large as 20 inches. This type has reddish-pink flowers that have a hint of purple, and bronze foliage flushed with green. This cultivar looks lovely in containers, especially when paired with other colors of cockscomb flowers!
#27 Kosmo Cherry (C. plumosa x C. spicata)
Part of the Kosmo series, Kosmo Cherry is the ultimate choice for container gardens or as a tabletop plant! It is a dwarf cockscomb that only grows as tall as 8 inches, however, its showy flower spikes are sure to make a big impact. These flower spikes are cherry red and stand out against its dark green leaves.
#28 Kosmo Purple Red
Kosmo Purple Red is a compact, dwarf cockscomb cultivar that is a mere 8 inches tall. Its small size lends it to container planting or for edging along garden beds. From early summer to mid-fall, this delightful plant will bear small plumes of reddish-purple flowers that stand out against its rich green foliage.
#29 Kosmo Vanilla
This lovely celosia flower, like the rest of the Kosmo series, is a compact, dwarf plant well suited for growing in pots and containers. It has small flower spikes densely packed with pale yellow to cream flowers. Plant Kosmo Vanilla amongst other soft-colored flowers for a pretty cottage-garden scheme!
NC State Extension, Celosia argentea
The Royal Horticultural Society, Celosia argentea (Spicata Group) ‘Spiky Purple’
The Royal Horticultural Society, Celosia argentea var. cristata (Plumosa Group) ‘Kimono Cream’ (Kimono Series)
The Royal Horticultural Society, Celosia argentea var. cristata (Plumosa Group) ‘Glow Red’
Wisconsin Horticulture, Wheat celosia, Celosia spicata