Cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata or C. cristata) is such an interesting and distinctive addition to the garden, with densely crinkled, velvety heads that are a delight to touch as well as to look at, whether you’re growing it in a garden or including it in a bouquet or arrangement. ‘Variegata’ takes the sensory experience to another level. Typically reaching about 3 feet tall, the stems (and leaves) are primarily green, but when you look closely, you’ll see varying amounts of red streaking up along the stems, into the leaves, and eventually into the bicolor, brain-like heads. (The parts of the stems that are green develop into yellow; the red parts of the stem develop into a sort of magenta-pink.) This attention-grabbing heirloom keeps producing new side shoots, so it looks good in the garden from early or midsummer to frost, and it provides an abundance of stems for cutting. Be aware that the new heads tend to have a spiky form but later develop the crinkly cresting.
There are only two disadvantages I can think of. For one—and this is true of pretty much any cockscomb—the stems can get top-heavy and sprawl if you don’t provide some sort of support (I used wire tomato cages for mine). Specific to ‘Variegata’: I didn’t think the heads looked great when dried, like other cockscombs can. The magenta-pink parts dried well, but the yellow parts turned a sort of yellow-beige—for me, anyway. Maybe the yellow holds better if you can harvest and dry them quickly in low-humidity conditions. Full sun. Annual.
Harvested in August and September 2022. At least 20 seeds.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.