Plant of the Month: August 2014

A display bed at the Dallas Arboretum is made dramatic by Celosia plumosa ‘Arrabona Red’. Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

A display bed at the Dallas Arboretum is made dramatic by Celosia plumosa ‘Arrabona Red’. Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

by Jenny Wegley

Celosia plumosa ‘Arrabona Red’

Latin name: Celosia plumosa ‘Arrabona Red’
Common name: Cockscomb
Flowers: Spikes of flowers
Mature size: 12” tall by 10”-15” wide
Hardiness: Summer annual
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order

PM_Aug14_2nd-CelosiaCloseupOh, how I do love Celosia! A plant that has been passed down through the ages has made a comeback. I have been witness to the new breeding firsthand at the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials, and I have to say there are some really cool celosias out there. We tend to think that they are all heat-loving, but we have found that not all can handle our insane North Central Texas summer heat.

Last year, I saw there was a new celosia introduction, and I could not wait to see how it performed. I got my hands on a new cultivar named Celosia plumosa ‘Arrabona Red’. It performed well enough to be planted in one of our display beds, and it has been a guest favorite all summer long. This great new celosia is featured in one of my favorite beds this season.

‘Arrabona Red’ features 12-inch, red-orange flower spikes.

‘Arrabona Red’ features 12-inch, red-orange flower spikes.

This plume-flowering celosia makes spikes of red-orange flowers that stand 12 inches tall and are perfectly uniform in mass. When the sun catches ‘Arrabona Red’, the plumes appear to be fuchsia in color. Light green leaves complement the red tones perfectly. Celosia tends to be a long-flowering plant overall, and ‘Arrabona Red’ holds true to this. It is ideal for containers due to its height, flower power and drought tolerance. Mix it with lime-green to chartreuse foliage plants, coleus or sweet potato vine, and then add a touch of darker foliage and you have it!

Celosia ‘Arrabona Red’ is a winner for our Texas summers with its heat and drought tolerance (not to mention its love of flowering). You can enjoy ‘Arrabona Red’ all summer long up to first frost. Plant in full sun, the hotter the better. If you are a celosia fan, ‘Arrabona Red’ is a must-have. If celosia is new to you, you will be a fan after trying ‘Arrabona Red’! Find it at your favorite local nursery or on-line.

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Posted by Jenny Wegley
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