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Here is a quick and easy annual to grow for brilliant summer and autumn colour. Celosia means "burnt" in Greek alluding to the flaming colour and appearance of the plumy flower spikes.
In it's tropical Asian homeland, celosia's bright red and gold shades are considered lucky.
Millions are sold each year as container plants to adorn homes over Chinese New Year. Here they are a favourite bedding plant thriving in hot summers.
They demand a sunny spot in soil enriched with humus and manure that stays constantly moist but drains freely.
Seed planted now will flower in autumn while seedlings will start flowering almost instantly. C. argentea pyramidalis is sometimes known as "Prince of Wales Feathers".
There are tall and dwarf types with large, showy plumes in a variety of bright shades. C. argentea cristata, the Cockscomb, has rolled and lobed blooms that resemble red velvet brain coral.
Variety C. Flamingo Feathers has long finger-like, soft pink, chaffy spikes. All make great cut flowers that dry beautifully. When left on the plant each bloom can last for over two months.