Celosia Seeds – Growing Celosia from Seed to Flower

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Celosia comes in lovely shades of pink, wine, red, orange, and yellow, and sometimes others. Tiny black celosia seeds produce such gorgeous flowers! Growing celosia from seed can be so rewarding, especially when you are used to seeing it at farm stands or pick-your-own flower farms.

Also known as “woolflowers,” the celosia flower falls into three distinctive types:

  • Crested Celosia – Also called cockscomb, this lovely celosia flower resembles coral and is reminiscent of the human brain.
  • Plumed Celosia – Flame-like flowers bedeck the plumed celosia plants.
  • Spiked Celosia – Feathery spiked flowers are thinner and plentiful.

Flower lovers prize celosia for its velveted soft blooms in unique shapes along with its near-everlasting lifespan when cut. Celosia makes a fantastic dried flower as well.

Try growing celosia from seed to fully appreciate the lifecycle of this stunning plant. Velvety blooms brighten the garden and your indoor arrangements.

Here are some tips to help you get started in growing celosia in your own garden.

Wine Colored Crested Celosia
Wine Colored Crested Celosia at Agway in Bechtelsville, PA

What Does the Celosia Mean?

Celosia flowers offer a true beauty and uniqueness that’s all their own. For that reason, they are considered symbolic of boldness and courageousness.

A bouquet with fresh-cut celosias could mean a vote of confidence or a nod to bravery and courage. Surprise a friend or loved one with a bunch!

What Do Celosia Seeds Look Like?

Celosia seeds look like tiny, shiny black balls. Roughly the size of poppy seeds or a bit larger, celosia seeds are plentiful when harvested from dried cockscomb or celosia seed heads.

What do celosia seeds look like? Tiny, shiny black balls!
What do celosia seeds look like? Tiny, shiny black balls! The seeds nestle inside the dried spikes of celosia flowers.

How Tall Does Celosia Grow?

The celosia plant variety makes a difference in how tall celosia grows. Dwarf celosia may be only 4 to 6 inches tall while other varieties can be as tall as 36 inches or more.

Celosia plants may grow to be between 6 and 18 inches wide.

Is Celosia Invasive?

Celosia flowers are not considered invasive. At times, they may drop seeds, which can germinate in the next growing season. If you wish to avoid volunteer celosia plants or cockscomb flowers, deadhead celosia and remove fading blooms before the seeds have a chance to fall.

Is Celosia Toxic to Dogs or Cats?

Celosia is not believed to be poisonous to dogs or cats. Reports from numerous sources say celosia is non-toxic to animals.

Golden Yellow Celosia Plant in my garden

Benefits of Growing Celosia Flowers

Celosia flowers offer long-lasting color and beauty. Make celosia a favorite choice to grow in your garden.

Some of the best benefits of growing celosia include:

  • Gorgeous Cut Flowers – Celosia flowers make stunning arrangements with zinnias, dwarf sunflowers, and other summer and fall blooms.
  • Dried Flower Appeal – Enjoy them in vases or dried flower bouquets. Celosias seem to last forever! (By the way, if you like dried flowers, you should also check out tips for growing strawflowers!)
  • Drought-Tolerant – Even if you can’t give celosias all the love you have, they’ll likely still be fine as long as they don’t totally dry out between waterings.
  • Unique, Eye-Catching Shapes – Add a pop of wow factor to your garden with show-stopping dimensions of different celosia plant combinations.
  • Velvety Soft Blooms – The celosia flower boasts truly soft and velvet-like blossoms that elevate the look and feel of the garden.
  • Long Bloom Season – Celosias will bloom through the summer until frost with the right care. Deadhead the spent blooms to encourage even more flowers.
  • Non-Toxic – Celosia comes from the family Amaranthaceae and reportedly is not toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals.

Starting Celosia from Seed

Germinating celosia seeds is not always the easiest in my experience, however it is still truly worth it. We surface sowed a bunch of celosia seeds and wound up with only three viable seedlings. Right now, one of them is huge!

Celosia Seeds Germination

I’ve tried starting celosia from seed in little starter pots with potting mix and also in wet paper towels inside zip-seal baggies. I’ve had mixed results with both. Here’s why:

  • Paper Towel Method – The baby celosia seedlings that germinated in the wet paper towels didn’t transfer or transplant well at all. When moved to soil indoors, none of them survived. I may have waited too long to do it, but still didn’t have great luck.
  • Starter Pots with Potting Mix – The celosia seeds started in potting mix under grow lights did a bit better. Those seedlings grew beautifully, but we only had three healthy seedlings out of about 10 or 15 seeds planted.

How to Grow Celosia from Seed

For easiest transplant, I recommend growing celosia from seed directly in a little nursery pot. A pot with 3-inch diameter should do the trick.

Follow these steps to grow celosia from seed:

  1. Fill a small nursery pot with potting mix.
  2. Lightly sprinkle a few celosia seeds on top of the soil.
  3. Use a spray bottle filled with water to lightly moisten the soil.
  4. Place the pot with celosia seeds under a grow light. Celosia seedlings should sprout within a week or less.
Pink Celosia grown from Celosia Seeds - large and tall!
I grew this pink celosia from seed!

Celosia Plant Seedlings

Once they germinate, celosia seedlings seemed to grow rather quickly. We had three in a small three-inch pot, so we thinned them out by planting one directly in the garden and letting the other two grow in the pot.

Celosia seedlings have a unique look with bright green foliage that sometimes has a tinge of red or pink. The plants also have a nice, juicy look to them as opposed to a dry or feathery look.

Celosia Care Guide

Keep these important and helpful tips in mind when growing celosia from seed or as plants from the nursery.

  • Sunlight – Aim to give celosia a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sun every day.
  • Watering – Relatively drought-tolerant, celosia needs watering once or twice per week during the summer when the top of the soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering as these plants may develop root rot, which is likely to kill them.
  • Spacing – For the best results, try celosia spacing of between 6 and 12 inches apart, depending on the variety you’re growing.
  • Self-Seeding – Celosia is an annual plant in most zones above zone 9. If you are lucky, though, it may reseed itself, leaving your tiny gifts of new seedlings next season!
  • Other Care – Be sure to deadhead celosias to encourage more blooms from summer until frost!
Red Celosia Flame Plume Annual Plant

How to Harvest Celosia Seeds

When it comes time to harvest celosia seeds, the process is super easy! Make sure the plants are fully dry before you begin.

Follow these steps to harvest celosia seeds:

  1. For best results, simply snip the entire spent blooms off of the plants.
  2. Keep the dried flower heads in a brown paper bag or prescription bag until the time comes to plant the celosia seeds.
  3. Label the bag with the date, type of celosia, color, and any other notes of importance.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant celosia seeds again.

Celosia seeds do fall freely from the plant, so be sure to watch for volunteers when weeding your garden for the first few times next year.

Final Thoughts: Celosia from Seed to Flower

Celosias are special to me because they’re one of my best friend’s favorite flowers. She and I take our kids to a local farm for pick-your-own flowers and we loved the variety there, including many kinds of celosia and cockscomb.

I’m so excited to see how our celosia plants do this year and to enjoy some in indoor arrangements. We’ll also plan to save celosia seeds for next year so we can grow celosia from seed all over again.

This year we are growing yellow celosia from Lowes and some pink celosia that we received in a seed swap over the winter. I’ll be sure to update with a photo of the pink once it blooms. As it turns out, this is one of the celosia plants that grow close to three feet tall!

Are you growing any celosia or cockscomb plants this year? Do you love them as much as we do? Let’s chat about tips and questions in the comments below!

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  1. I’m trying celosias for the first time, from seeds. I did not know the best way to keep the seeds to a minimum when planting into a seed tray, and as a result many cups have too many little stems. What is the recommended method (and time) to thin them out? Thank you for your guidance.

    1. Hi Joe! I love celosias! Good luck with them – thanks for your question. I have let my celosia grow in the starter pots or egg cartons, etc., until time to transplant. At that point, I separate them into different parts of the garden. I feel like this is probably about 3-4 weeks after planting but I could be off. I end up transplanting all of them rather than thinning per se, totally up to you! Also, please be aware that celosia self-seeds very efficiently, so you may get some volunteers in your garden space where you grow them. I shared about 50% of the volunteers with my friend and STILL had more celosia in year 2 than I could know what to do with. 🙂 Not necessarily a bad problem to have. 🙂 Best wishes and happy gardening!

  2. I had been looking 3 years for Celosia plants for my brother would always comment how he liked them every time we drove by someone who had them. Went to Walmart, homedepot, guido’s, Jaescskes, red shirt farm none to buy! 4 th year we found some @ Walmart red with green leaves is what he liked. He planted three around mailbox and they started to die! I couldn’t understand why the flowers that were red were turning brown! One morning @6:50 A.M. I opened up frontdoor only to see a neighbor allowing her dog to pee on our flowers around our mailbox!
    I hollered out then the following week she was letting her dog pee on the bank on our corner where we planted Dahlias! There needs to be laws and fines for people who allow their dogs to pee n poop on someone else’s property! Someone let their dog poop on our lawn I had stepped in itwith my bare feet. I got a hook worm that entered my foot I was extremely anemic it’s been a year and I still fighting them because they keep laying eggs. At least my health is better! (I planted Celosia seeds this year out of about 400 seeds I may have about 20 that are 1/2” high they are Avery petite fragile plant. When planting it’s hard to see the seeds you only press in the soil then keep wet. One plant cost us $3.33 @walmart. A pack of 500 seedsoine cost us $5.49.

    1. Hi Jean, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us with the celosia seeds and plants as well as your journey dealing with your neighbors. I am so sorry to hear people are not being considerate of your property and flowers and worse yet that you’ve had ill health effects from it. I will give some thought to ideas for discouraging folks walking their pets from allowing their pets to relieve themselves in the flower beds and grass. I wonder if a little decorative fence would work in these spaces or anything else to add a decorative barrier? Sorry you even need to consider preventive methods. I am so glad your health is doing better now, that sounds like quite an ordeal! I noticed my celosias only recently started germinating from seeds dropped in my garden beds from last year’s plants. I think they require fairly warm temps to really get going. They should bloom well until frost if you are able to keep them alive! Best wishes and hope you and your brother enjoy many beautiful flowers throughout the season.

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