Plant of the Month
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Celosia argentea
Common name: Cockscomb
Type: Summer annual
Flowers: Dark purple spikes
Mature size: 18” tall x 12” wide
Hardiness: Spring to frost
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Average to low
Sources: Local nurseries and mail order
I am going to say it again this month: our weather is incredible so far this year! Being able to garden in the middle of July is something to brag about here in North Central Texas. With our summer heat it is important that we find plants that can tolerate the intense effects of “gardening on the sun.” A few months ago I wrote about Coleus, an “oldie but goodie.” And here is another. Celosia, commonly known as cockscomb, is a Texas gardener’s best friend. This is a genus that has been used in gardens for centuries.
At the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials we have tested more than 40 cultivars of celosia in the last two seasons, and there are several that are very impressive. One that has caught everyone’s eye and is featured in our landscape at the Arboretum is Celosia ‘Intenz’.
There are two main types of celosia — the “brains” and the “spikes.” Celosia ‘Intenz’ is a spike type. It is a compact plant that stands 18 inches tall with a 12-inch spread. Dense, elongated, oval-shaped dark green leaves surround radiant purple-violet flowers — flowers that will catch your eye from yards away. ‘Intenz’ is perfect for providing summer annual color that will hold until first frost.
Allow ‘Intenz’ to be the star of your summer containers. It makes a perfect focal point. To top it off, celosias are not water hogs. Furthermore, you can bring the fun inside and use the spikes for cut flowers.
Summer gardening can be a struggle for even the most advanced gardeners in our state, but with help from our heat-loving plant friends, we can achieve success. It is always nice to see old plants come back into the market and make a splash — like ‘Intenz’ will in your garden.
Have fun and garden strong! Please “Like” us on FaceBook at Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials.
About the author: Jenny Wegley is the senior manager of trials and greenhouse at the Dallas Arboretum. Visit www.dallasplanttrials.org for more information on the Arboretum’s trials.