Native to tropical regions of Asia and Africa, the Cockscomb or the Woolflower plant belongs to the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. It gets its name from an ancient Greek word 'keleos' which means burning and refers to its flame-like flowers
The plant can be easily grown in containers or hanging baskets. It is easy to care for and is mostly grown as an annual.
The plant prefers full sun and warm temperature. You can plant it in a semi-shade area too but it should receive at least 8 hours of sunlight.
The plant has bright, golden yellow, feathery flowers. The flowering season starts from early summer and lasts till winter. The leaves have a soft texture and are said to have a spinach-like taste. Prune off spent flowers for better blooms.
Although it can weather small dry spells, for good performance the plant requires frequent watering and the soil should be kept moist at all times. Do not over-water however. Waterlogged soil can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.
The ideal soil should be well-drained, rich in organic content with a pH of about 6 to 6.5. However, the plant can grow in almost all soil types including sandy and rocky soil. A thick layer of mulch will not only retain moisture in the soil but also keep them warm.
Generally, the plant grows up to 25 cm to 35 cm and spreads about 20 cm to 25 cm.
Fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer with good nitrogen content. During the flowering season, it might require more frequent fertilizing. Fertilizing will lead to better blooms. Water the plant before fertilizing. Also, mix in organic materials including manure and compost to the soil.
The plant can get infested by spider mites and aphids. To prevent this from happening, take proper care of the plant, water cautiously and make sure the soil is well-drained. Use organic fungicides and pesticides.
The flowers make a great addition to any bouquet. They can also be dried to be used in a permanent bouquet. The plant can be used as a border plant.
It can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Some people use celosia as food too. It is used in the treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhoea and blood disease.