Celosia argentea plumosa, Cockscomb, or Dragon’s Breath Celosia is a mesmerizing annual plant. It originates from the tropical regions of Asia, the Americas, as well as Africa.
This is an eye-catching plant that makes for a colorful addition to any garden or landscape.
With its vibrant red foliage and elegant scarlet to maroon-colored blooms, the Dragon’s Breath Celosia is guaranteed to turn heads! It is a branching plant with an upright growing habit. As a self-seeder, it is also easily propagated.
Celosia Argentea Plumosa Care
A fairly easy-goer, the Celosia argentea plumosa does not demand much attention. It should be planted in a spot with full sun. Light, well-draining soil is essential. Frequent watering is advisable as the plant prefers its soil to be moist. Once established, it does build up a drought tolerance.
Celosia argentea plumosa prefers a sandy, chalky or loamy type of soil. As for soil pH levels, this vibrant plant does not have any specific preferences. It does well in acidic, neutral, or alkaline levels.
The most important thing to note is that the Dragon’s Breath Celosia needs moist but well-draining soil.
The Dragon’s Breath Celosia is a sun-loving plant. It requires access to full sun for most of the day. A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight is a must. Catering to this preference will keep your Celosia argentea plumosa looking its best!
It is good practice to keep this fiery red plant well-watered. However, the Celosia argentea plumosa does build up a decent tolerance to drought.
This is true only once the plant has become fully established. Your plant can only be considered established after about a year of growth.
It is essential to provide your Celosia argentea plumosa with an abundance of water during hot and dry periods.
Doing so will benefit your plant’s growth. Not only will you be catering to its needs, but it will also help to get your plant to grow as many blooms as possible.
As the Dragon’s Breath Celosia is a sun-loving plant, it is only right that it prefers warmer temperatures. In fact, this blazing plant grows well under adverse conditions.
This means that even with infrequent watering and very hot and humid conditions, the Dragon’s Breath Celosia will flourish.
Daytime temperatures of 68℉ to 70℉ (20℃ to 21℃) are ideal. These temperatures encourage well-toned leaves and blooms as well as strong growth.
Whilst nighttime temperatures should be between 50℉ and 60℉ (10℃ and 15.5℃). Exposure to these lower temperatures will result in the plant’s overall redness being stronger.
It is thought that the Celosia argentea plumosa is impartial to humidity levels. It will tolerate a selection of humidity levels without complaint. However, under adverse humidity levels, it is likely that your plant will thrive.
The Dragon’s Breath Celosia has minimal but specific fertilizing needs. There are a number of chemicals to avoid overexposure to.
But there are also a few that should be adequately provided for better growth. Fertilizers that are calcium-nitrate-based are ideal.
Celosia argentea plumosa plants have minimal requirements for nitrogen, phosphorous, and ammonium.
Excessive amounts of phosphorous and ammonium will result in lush and vegetive growth as well as green foliage.
Whilst ample amounts of baron, potassium, and magnesium should be supplied in feed applications. These will work to avoid distortion as well as misshapen and discolored foliage.
Additionally, applying a layer of mulch at the base of the plant is recommended. This will help to manage weeds and keep the soil around your plant moist.
Interestingly, the Celosia argentea plumosa is a plant that is easily propagated through seeds. The other method of propagation for this plant is through cuttings.
However, this is not as popular of a method as you may lose the plant’s cultivated variation.
Celosia argentea plumosa is a fairly fast-growing plant. However, only after a year of growth can it be considered an established plant.
Adequately nicknamed the Dragon’s Breath Celosia, this plant boasts deep red to iridescent maroon foliage and flowering plumes. It is a half-hardy, branching, and upright plant.
You can expect this stunner of a plant to grow to heights of between 20 inches to 24 inches or 51 centimeters to 61 centimeters.
As for width, it is not uncommon for the Dragon’s Breath Celosia to reach spreads if 15 inches to 18 inches or 38 centimeters to 46 centimeters.
Late in the summer, the Celosia argentea plumosa produces excellent, plume-like, and feathery scarlet blooms. These blooms will continue to grow throughout the remainder of the season and well into the autumn months.
Although removing this plant’s eye-catching blooms is not something anyone wants to do, it is recommended. Especially if you wish to have an outstanding Dragon’s Breath Celosia.
Pinching back the plant’s first blooms will encourage it to grow bigger and better throughout the autumn season. Have no fear, this fiery plant is a fighter and will continue to produce blooms.
Dragon’s Breath Celosia plants are commonly grown as annual plants. This is the typical practice in most hardiness zones. However, in hardiness zones, 10 to 11, is it possible for this plant to be grown as a perennial.
This plant is a highly adaptable one. It is most commonly grown as a bedding annual, but it is not restricted to just that.
The Dragon’s Breath Celosia plant can also be successfully grown in a range of places.
These places include plant containers, pots, beds, and large landscapes.
Growing these plants in containers will result in them being more compact. This method of growing the Dragon’s Breath Celosia is thought to be one of the easiest and effortless ways to grow it.
Celosia argentea plumosa Propagation
The best way to propagate the Celosia argentea plumosa is through seeds. The clusters of flowers that this plant bears produce an abundance of seeds.
These seeds take very little effort to propagate. In fact, the Dragon’s Breath Celosia plant does not require any assistance from its gardener to reseed itself.
It is a common occurrence that if this plant is left to its own devices, it will reseed and propagate itself.
The other method of propagation is through cuttings. Taking cuttings from this plant is an easy task. It is also not difficult for the cutting to reroot.
The rerooting process will take between three and four weeks. The cuttings can be placed in sand as well as in water for this.
Although it is possible, it is not a recommended method to use.
When propagating the Celosia argentea plumosa through cuttings, it is very likely the plant will lose its variation.
Common problems with Celosia argentea plumosa
Slugs are most often an issue when the weather is more damp or wet. These pests feed during the night and eat holes through the plant’s foliage. They may even devour entire leaves.
Along with this, the slugs leave a trail of slime on your plant.
The best way to deal with these pests is by handpicking them off your plant. The best time to do so is during the night when they come out to eat.
The other option is to set traps for the slugs, such as beer traps or cornmeal traps. These traps will entice the pests away from your plant and kill them.
Rabbits are known to enjoy a good chew on the leaves of this plant. Although they do not cause extremely severe damage, it is still undesirable and often times unsightly.
Spraying your Dragon’s Breath Celosia with a rabbit repellant or pepper spray will deter the creatures without harming them.
These pests are a common problem among most plants. Their sucking mouthparts not only damage the leaves of the plants they feed off of. They can also transmit plant diseases.
The sticky residue that the aphids leave behind is what attracts ants to the plants too.
The most economical way to control these pests is by introducing more of their natural predators to the area. Insects they feed off of aphids include wasps as well as ladybugs.
Another pest with sucking mouthparts, spider mites feed off of a plant’s juices. This results in the removal of the plant’s chlorophyll. This pest also injects a toxin into the plant it is feeding on.
This toxin causes white spots to show up on the plant’s foliage. Spider mites are quick to multiply and are known to thrive in dry conditions.
The best way to combat these pests is with pesticides.
Another common disease among plants, root rot is easily prevented. You should always supply your plant with its preferred soil type. That as well as ensuring good drainage and not overwatering it will reduce the risk of this disease.
Unfortunately, once your plant has contracted this disease, it will need to be uprooted and discarded.
This is a fungus disease that affects the top of a plant’s leaves. In humid weather, you may notice a white or greyish coloring on top of your plant’s leaves.
This is known as powdery mildew.
You may also notice the leaves on your plants have curled.
Ensuring there is good air circulation around your plant will help reduce the risk of this disease. Good practices that should also be followed are adequate spacing of plants as well as regular pruning.
Tips to keep Celosia argentea plumosa problem-free
Even though the Celosia argentea plumosa is a fairly easy plant to grow and care for, it has its fair share of problems.
However, with proper care and maintenance, these common problems will not be an issue.
To ensure your Dragon’s Breath Celosia stays in tip-top shape is not a difficult task.
Provided you care for your plant according to its needs, most plant diseases can be avoided. When it comes to pests, however, there is no specific way to prevent them all.
The best thing to do is to keep a constant check on your Dragon’s Breath Celosia. By doing so, you will likely spot minor issues quickly.
You can then deal with the issue at hand promptly and avoid having any serious problems.
Frequently asked questions about Celosia argentea plumosa
Does the Dragon’s Breath Celosia plant spread?
The Celosia argentea plumosa is a self-seeding plant. Once it is established, you will likely see this plant slowly spread around your garden.
Does the Celosia argentea plumosa attract bees?
Yes, the Celosia argentea plumosa is attractive to pollinating insects. This means that you will not only find bees coming to your Dragon’s Breath Celosias. Other pollinators you will notice are wasps and butterflies.
How long do Dragon’s Breath Celosia plants last?
As this is an annual plant, it is not going to last throughout the year. The Dragon’s Breath Celosia is likely to last up until the first frost. This will allow for around ten weeks of blooming time. If you prune or deadhead the blooms you might get a bit longer.
What plants go well with the Dragon’s Breath Celosia?
The best plants to partner with the Celosia argentea plumosa are other annuals that are low-maintenance. Marigolds or Zinnia’s are the two most commonly used. For a unique display, you could also pair this plant with other Celosia varieties.
This striking plant is the perfect addition to any autumn garden or any garden in general. It is not only an eye-catching beauty, it is an easy-going plant to care for.
In most locations, the Dragon’s Breath Celosia will grace your garden annually. This gives its growers something to look forward to when the seasons change,
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.