also known as Combstock, Woolflower, Cock's Comb


Metrolina Greenhouses

Weekend Gardener

Celosia is considered a tender Perennial or an annual and is moderately drought tolerant.

Scientific Name: Celosis Argenta
Family: Amaranthaceae
Duration: Annual
Alternative Names: Cock’s Comb, Sokoyokoto
Celosia is an erect annual that grows up to 4 feet tall. The plant is cultivated in Sierra Leone for its edible greens, that vary in color from light green to dark red. Both green and red types are widely grown in West Africa for their nutty flavored greens. The red type is similar to the green type, but it is taller and bushier. Leaves of the red celosia type have a distinct purple marking. In the United States there are other varieties of celosia grown for ornamental use. Two ornamental types are crested cock’s comb and plumed cock’s comb, both which produce colorful flower heads in cream, yellow, orange, red and red-purple shades.

Celosia can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, although high levels of organic matter are required for good yields, particularly for the green type. A stable high temperature of 70-75 degrees is suitable for both edible celosia varieties. Heavy rainfall will not limit growth, so celosia is commonly grown during the wet season in Sierra Leone.

Growing Methods:
Green types are grown by either broadcasting seeds or using transplants. The green variety, which is more popular, is grown by broadcasting seeds on prepared raised beds. Composted animal manure is added before broadcasting or transplanting into beds. Dry grass is sometimes used a mulch and removed after germination.

Since broadcasting is the common method used to plant celosia in Sierra Leone, seedlings are harvested 30-40 days after sowing, by thinning out the tallest plants after they reach about 7-10 inches. Harvesting of leaves on remaining plants then continues until plants are about 4 feet tall, or until plants go to seed.

Common Uses: The nutty-flavored celosia greens -- particularly the green type -- are steamed and added to stews. Steamed Greens can also be flavored with garlic, pepper, fresh lime and olive oil to use as a side dish.