SCIENTIFIC NAME: Celosia cristata

COMMON NAME: Cockscomb

FAMILY: Amaranthaceae

TYPE: annual

LEAVES: alternate, linear to ovate-lanceolate, to 2" long, green usually, red or bronze in a few cultivars

FLOWER: crested (resembles a rooster's comb) in red, pink, yellow, orange, generally jewel colors; plume (resembles a feather plume) in similar colors

SEASON OF BLOOM: spring to early summer, individual inflorescences can last up to 8 weeks; generally poor in summer in zone 8

GROWTH HABIT: 6" to 8", habits vary with cultivars

SOIL: well drained

SUN: full sun to part shade (afternoon shade in Zone 8 is recommended), not heat tolerant

UTILIZATION: fresh-cut and dried flowers, edging, borders or beds

DISEASES: leaf spot and stem rot under wet conditions; prone to flower rots during wet weather

INSECTS AND RELATED PESTS: spider mites

PROPAGATION: seed; readily reseeds

MAINTENANCE: deadhead; controls reseeding in following years

CULTIVARS: Jewel Box (crested form); All-America Winners 'Century Mix' (1985), 'New Look' (1988), 'Pink Castle' (1990) are good plume types; Pink Candle has also performed well