Celosias For Summer Arrangements

Celosias00When you think of Celosias, you probably picture those cute little tufts of color that come in bright shades of yellow, orange, pink and red. That would be the Kimono series—they take the prize for most closely resembling a candy treat. However, there is more to the Celosia family than mere visions of sugarplums…

We sell three series of Celosias: Kimonos, Fresh Looks, and Smart Looks. As you might expect when we offer multiple series, each serves a different purpose. Kimonos are tiny and light green. The Fresh Looks and Smart Looks are bigger with either green foliage (Fresh) or bronze foliage (Smart). Let’s take a closer look at them.


Kimonos are light green and short. They are used for border edging in gardens but they are perfect for containers. If you have low, open planters like birdbaths, ceramic dishes or just shallow bulb pans, plant some Kimono Celosias in them. They’ll grow about 8–10 inches tall and cover about 6–8 inches with foliage and bloom. This is a high-density crop, which means the plants don't really spread their arms out as they grow. You can pack them tight to create a dramatic display of color. Kimonos can be massed as solid colors or as a mix of either low contrast (rose and red) or high contrast (yellow and red).

Celosias are effective centerpieces in summer and autumn bowls because the plants have such nice container etiquette: they stay inside their space, remain plump and keep their flower tufts until early fall. Planted in a group, the flowers go up and the leaves go down, resulting in some very strong verticals to top your decorative pot.

Smart Looks

Fresh Looks and Smart Looks allow you to expand beyond the typical Celosia look, featuring bigger plants with fatter, taller triangles and foliage that adds to the drama. These series work in containers as well, as long as you use larger, deeper pots with fewer plants inside. Blooms are plump triangles, taller than those of a Kimono, on plants that grow bigger and taller as well. The height usually tops off at about 14 inches, but the spread goes out easily to 14–16 inches.

While the Fresh Looks have green foliage, the Smart Looks have bronze (similar to Wax Begonias). Mix the two together for contrasting foliage to support the vivid blooms on top. High sunlight will bring out the radiant red on those bronze leaves. Both series, but especially the Smart Looks, consist of statement plants.

Fresh Looks

Grouping specimens from all three Celosia series together amounts to three divas in a sing-off; for this reason we never mix Kimonos with bigger Celosias in the same container. In the garden, we put Fresh Looks and Smart Looks together, but rather than lining up ducks in a row we bunch them to create a stand with an impressive display.

All Celosias are tropical plants, so they like the heat and the sun. They can tolerate some partial shade and they do like water—they are not drought-tolerant choices. Oddly, they are edible but we don’t eat them around here. Still, these plants would be safe around small children and pets that tend to nibble on backyard gardens. Celosia flowers are stunning elements in flower arrangements and vases, either fresh or dried.