From June to October, Celosia pulls out all the floral registers in beautiful shades of color. As a border, in flower borders or in the balcony box, the annual summer flowers draw picturesque garden images with delicate flower clouds in red, yellow, purple or white. The name plume couldn’t be more apt, given its fluffy inflorescences. Discover here the most beautiful varieties that will cause a sensation in your garden. Familiarize yourself with the demands on cultivation so that the feather-light flower festival can run smoothly. The following care instructions show you how to do it correctly.


  • Plant family of the foxtail family (Amaranthaceae)
  • Genus: Plume (Celosia)
  • Native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia
  • Annual herbaceous summer flower with an upright habit
  • Heights of growth from 20 cm to 90 cm
  • Soft, feathery flowers in red, yellow, purple, and white
  • Flowering period from June to October
  • Deciduous, entire, stalked leaves
  • Minimum temperature: 5 degrees Celsius


Within the broad plant family of the foxtail plants, it is primarily the species Celosia argentea that presents us with the plumosa line of flowers with the feathery, delicate inflorescences. Other species within the genus develop firmer flower combs, such as the Cristata group, which is offered under the name Hahnenkamm. The following selection presents perfectly fitting, recommendable hybrids that come from the Plumosa line and rightly bear the title Feather Bush.

  • Deep Purple – With bright purple inflorescences, this innovative hybrid brings a breath of fresh air into the flowerbed and on the balcony. The further development of the popular, purple-colored variety ‘Caracas’ is not only a feast for the eyes, but is also pleasantly easy to care for. Growth height 60-70 cm
  • Feuerfeder – The classic among the plume varieties captivates with its fiery red, delicately soft flowers that no observer can escape. Anyone who wants to add striking splashes of color in the garden or on the balcony is well advised to use this well-established variety. Growth height 40-60 cm
  • New Look – The multi-award-winning Celosia variety scores with dark leaves, above which deep red flowering bushes gently sway for a whole summer. Thanks to its compact habit, this hybrid is an ideal candidate for cultivation in pots and flower boxes. Growth height 30-40 cm
  • Orange feather – If you are aiming for a motley appearance, an orange plume should not be missing. Thanks to a comparatively low growth height, this variety catches the eye on smaller areas as well as in planters. In combination with different colored cultivars, you can create creative garden impressions with a cheerful, colorful flair. Growth height 20-40 cm
  • Clear Crystal Rose – Here you will encounter a breathtaking rarity, which is set in scene in bright red flowers over red drawn leaves. The light green foliage is not only outlined in red, but also has small, red leaf veins in places. Growth height 40-50 cm

Tip: In addition to the single-colored varieties, various mixes are available in specialist shops. Ready for sowing, splendid feather compositions such as the fireworks mix or the furious Lilliput mix thrive.

Care instructions

Its exotic appearance with the velvety, delicate flower panicles belies the robust constitution of a plume flower. If the picturesque summer beauty finds a suitable location, she is frugal and undemanding in all other matters of care. If you put together a professional care package with the help of these instructions, even beginners in hobby gardening should not be upset. This is how the cultivation of Celosia results in mutual give and take:


The plume would like a place in the garden that corresponds as closely as possible to the climatic conditions of its home. Therefore, assign the summer flower a location with these conditions:

  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Warm and without a cold draft
  • Gladly protected from wind and pounding rain

In the open air, the plume will only take its place when there is no more ground frost to fear from mid-May. From April onwards, the flower displays its spring blossoms on the balcony, provided that it can spend the cold nights indoors.

Soil and substrate

The optimal location is rounded off by a soil that is humus-free and rich in nutrients. The soil should be fresh and moist to moderately dry, without the risk of waterlogging. As is typical for tropical plants, Celosia prefer an acidic to neutral pH value. When choosing a location, look out for pointer plants such as pansies, daisies, rhododendrons or hydrangeas. If these thrive in the immediate vicinity, a plume of feathers will also feel welcome. We recommend compost-based bog bed soil as a substrate in pots and balcony boxes, as this already has the desired pH value. The addition of expanded clay or lava granules gives the soil the necessary permeability.


A moderate water supply is the trump card at Federbusch. How to do it right:

  • Keep the substrate constantly slightly moist without causing waterlogging
  • Pour the water slowly onto the ground and not in one big gush
  • Only pour again when the surface is dry
  • Immediately pour out excess water from a trivet

Use mostly soft rainwater or decalcify the tap water. Hard irrigation water causes the pH value in the soil to skyrocket, which can lead to deficiency symptoms and diseases.

Tip: pamper the tropical plume every now and then with a spray of soft water. As long as the plant is not in direct sunlight, it gratefully accepts a fine shower.


Celosia’s nutritional requirements are low. As a result, the plant is not made for the concentrated dosage of a mineral fertilizer. On the other hand, the summer beauty benefits from the advantages of an organic agent throughout the season. So work in leaf compost with horn shavings every 4 weeks from May to September and then pour lime-free water. Alternatively, bark humus, guano granulate or ripe garden compost cover the nutritional requirements. We recommend applying an organic or mineral-organic liquid fertilizer to the planter every 14 days.

To cut

The plume maintains a neat appearance at all times during the long flowering period if withered inflorescences are cut off. The same applies to the leaves when they turn yellow. With loving care, Celosia branch out profusely and produce countless flower stems. So do not be afraid to cut the most beautiful inflorescences for the vase decoration. Select the stems that are about to be in full bloom.

Tip: Plume flowers have a stable color. Therefore, Celosia are ideal for drying. Simply cut shortly before full bloom, tie into small bunches and let dry in an airy, dark place.  


In a care guide for an annual summer flower, this point may seem a little surprising. In fact, the feather poppy in our latitudes is only cultivated as an annual because it is extremely sensitive to cold and frost. In their tropical homeland, Celosia thrive for several years. This fact motivates hobby gardeners to dare to experiment with wintering. If you are not afraid of the effort, treat the plant as follows:

  • When the temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, give the plume the plume
  • Place on the light window sill at room temperature
  • Alternatively, set up at 13-15 degrees Celsius under partially shaded to shady lighting conditions
  • Water less and do not fertilize

To what extent a warm or cool winter storage is crowned with success is controversial among amateur gardeners. In the absence of sufficient experience, you cannot avoid an attempt based on the principle of trial and error.


If you don’t want to grapple with the unpredictability of wintering and still want to enjoy the pompom flowers of a spring bush next year, you can use the sowing technique. The time window for this method of propagation opens in March if you want to plant vital young plants in the bed or in the tub in the middle / end of May. That’s how it’s done:

  • Fill seed pots with peat sand, pricking soil or emaciated potting soil
  • Mix the fine seeds with the bird sand and sow thinly
  • Simply press the light germs on or sieve a maximum of 0.5 cm high
  • Moisten with a fine shower

In a heated indoor greenhouse at 20-23 degrees Celsius, germination takes 1-2 weeks. The seeds must not dry out during this time and afterwards, but should not become completely wet either. Seedlings with more than 2 pairs of leaves are pricked out into poor substrate and nursed into powerful young plants by mid-May. After the isolation, apply a liquid fertilizer that has been diluted by 50 percent every 14 days.

Tip: Plume flowers with seedlings cannot cope with a sudden move from the windowsill into full sunlight. Harden young Celosia – whether bought or grown by hand – initially for 10-14 days on the partially shaded balcony.  


It is primarily the root and stem rot that causes health problems on the plume. This is a fungal infection that attacks heavily stressed plants from the roots. Seedlings and young plants fall
Disease often victims because they are exposed to intense stress through pricking, repotting or planting out. Affected flowers turn brown and black from the roots to the stems to the blossom, only to tip over in the advanced stages. In the absence of effective control agents in the hobby garden, the focus is on prevention. Since the pathogens are mostly located in the substrate, subject the potted substrate, sowing and pricking soil to a disinfection before use. To do this, fill the soil in a fireproof bowl, slightly moisten it and loosely put a lid on. Slide the container onto the middle rail of the oven preheated to 150 degrees. After 20-25 minutes the substrate is free of any spores, viruses or insect eggs.

When Mother Nature gave us the plume, she reached deep into the floral ink box. Skilled breeders took up this botanical steep template and produced colorful varieties, of which you will get to know some splendid specimens here. In order for the feathery, light clouds of flowers in the garden and on the balcony to float above the lush green foliage, a few cultivation criteria are important. These care instructions show that a sunny, warm and protected location in humus-free soil paves the way for a picturesque abundance of flowers. Regular watering and monthly fertilizing with compost give Celosia everything they need for a summer flower festival. If you don’t shy away from the effort of wintering, you can leave the plume in autumn,

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