‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ Cockscomb
Celosia argentea var. cristata
se-LO-see-uh ar-JEN-tee-uh kris-TAY-tuh
Celosia argentea L. is the correct and accepted name of this species of Celosia. It was first documented by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. The cockscomb for YEARS has named Celosia cristata, even described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. In fact, he described four species of Celosia that have all turned out to be synonymous with Celosia argentea.
I think originally, these would have been Celosia cristata, but they are now Celosia argentea and are classed in the Cristata Group.
I ordered seeds of the Celosia ‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ from Heirloom Acres in the spring of 2013. They are an old variety passed on to the owner by his aunt or mother. They grow easily to 3′ and have nice cockscomb that are a velvety reddish maroon of medium size. They produce a lot of side shoots, too. Now, truthfully, the flowers didn’t get as large as their catalog said they would. Not saying that theirs don’t, just that mine didn’t. I would plant them again, but Heirloom Acres seems to have went out of business, or at least they aren’t online… Too many complaints of people not getting their orders (I was one of them in 2013). I should have saved seeds!!!
The seeds came up really well so I had plenty to transplant in two beds in the backyard and in the bed along the west sunroom at the mansion. I was standing next to the wall when the above photo was taken. The plant to the left is a Red Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’). The Celosia in the front of the bed is Celosia spicata ‘Punky Red’. Oh yeah, I know, maybe that is not correct, but I think so. The purple plants are Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). The plant overhead is Colocasia esculenta.
I really enjoyed growing this variety and hope to find seeds of them again. The true name of this variety may not be ‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ and probably no one even knows. I give plants names when I don’t know what their real name is, too. I name them after who I got them from or where I found them.
I always like growing taller plants for some reason, even though they may require staking. There are many shorter hybrid Celosia argentea cultivars with large heads but I don’t care for them… SO, if you have seed of taller Cockscomb, I would be interested…
Celosia seed are easy to germinate once you get the hang of it. If you plant them inside, don’t cover the seed. You can press them into the soil a little if you want and water with a mister until they germinate. If you sow outside, you can cover with just a tiny about of soil. After all, you must remember, that Celosia self-sow and in nature the seed lays on top of the ground. Here in mid-Missouri they have no problem germinating on their own.
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