It is one of the most curious flowers, brain flower, and Cockscomb flower. Its petals are distributed in such a way that it reminds us a lot of a part of a well-known animal: the rooster. To be more specific, we refer to its crest, why our protagonist is Cresta de Gallo.
If you want to know everything about it: cultivation, care, diseases that can affect it, and much, much more, do not miss this special of this incredible and curious brain flower.
Characteristics of the Cockscomb or brain flower
The scientific name knows this plant of Celosia argentea var. cristata . Native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, it belongs to the Amaranthaceous family. Like most genera of this one, they are herbaceous, with a life cycle of only one year during which it will germinate, grow, brain flower, and, once the seeds mature, it will gradually wither as the cold winter comes. Its leaves are long, very well-marked green nerves.
The red, yellow, pink, or orange flowers appear in spring, distributed in erect, dense, and feathery inflorescences. They stay a long time in the plant; if the temperatures are warm, they can last up to two months, which becomes the perfect excuse to give color to that patio or terrace during the days that the weather is good.
How is the Cockscomb or brain flower grown and cared for?
It is a very easy brain flower to grow, even if you don’t have much experience with plants yet. Let’s see in detail how to get healthy and durable plants:
And we will start, of course, in the beginning, with the seeds. If you don’t have an adult yet, you can buy a seed packet at any nursery or farm store. Once at home, I recommend that you put them in a glass of water for 24 hours so that you can discard those that are not viable, which are those that remain floating just on the surface; Thus, you will be able to have better controlled those that you sow, those that will in all probability germinate in a few days.
The next day, it will be time to prepare the seedbed. Can use it as such, but it is highly advisable to use seedling trays (the kind used to sow seeds of horticultural plants) since this plant has a high germination percentage and a fast growth rate. Suppose we put one or two seeds in each socket when they sprout. In that case, they can successfully transplant them into individual pots or gardens. Otherwise, if we sow many in a pot, our Celosia will stay small as we do not have much space where their roots can grow.
So, suppose you have the seedling tray. In that case, you have to fill the alveoli with a universal substrate for plants (or, if you prefer, mix black peat with perlite in equal parts), water it well, and put a maximum of 2 seeds in each hole. Then, you will only have to cover them with a thin layer of substrate (mainly so that the wind cannot carry them away) and water again.
This brain flower will germinate in about 10-20 days as long as the temperature is high, above 15ºC, and that they are located in a place where the sun’s rays reach them directly. In this way, we will reduce the risk of growth or development problems since they do not live well in semi-shade. So that they do not lack anything, it is essential to keep the substrate moist (but not flooded), so we will water every 2-3 days.
When they have taken their first true leaves and have reached a height of about 10cm, you can transplant them either to a larger pot or to the ground. By the way, you should know that the brain flower will not take long to appear: you will only have to wait about three months. Well, it is true, said like that it seems a long time, but when they finally do, you will see how you can contemplate their beautiful flowers for 8 weeks. In addition, you can always sow on different dates (for example, the first batch in early spring, the second in mid-spring, and the third at the end of this season) to have flowers a little longer.
The brain flower is grown mainly in pots. Because of its small size (about 50cm in height), it is exciting to have it as a centerpiece on the balcony or the terrace. But what care does it require?
. Location: it will live better if it is exposed to direct sun.
. Watering: frequent, every 2-3 days. Increase the frequency during the summer if temperatures are high (above 30ºC) and if the substrate dries quickly.
. Subscriber: highly recommended. Fertilize with specific fertilizers from plants with ornamental flowers to achieve a greater quantity of flowers during the flowering season.
. Substrate: with good drainage. If we could use any substrate in the seedbed, if we are going to have it in a pot, we must make sure that the soil we use does not compact. Thus, we can use the black peat and perlite mixture in equal parts or mix 50% black peat + 30% perlite + 20% vermiculite.
But it will also be spectacular in the garden, either together with other Celosia or with other plants that grow more or less to the same height. The care is a little different from what it requires in a pot:
. Location: full sun.
. Watering: frequent, every 3-4 days.
. Subscriber: we will pay for the entire time it is in flower. We can use natural fertilizers such as liquid guano, following the recommendations indicated on the container.
. Soil: it is not demanding in terms of the pH of the soil, but it will have problems in those that tend to compact. Thus, if you have, for example, clay soil, it is advisable to make a planting hole of at least 50x50cm and fill it with plant substrate mixed with perlite in equal parts.
Diseases and pests of the Cockscomb
Now that we have seen how it cares for both in the pot and the soil, it is time to see the part that those of us who grow plants like least: the diseases and pests that can affect the brain flower.
Viruses, fungi, or bacteria can transmit plant diseases. In the case of our protagonist, it will be a fungus that harms her. Surely you’ve ever heard it: powdery mildew. It is a parasitic fungus that attacks the leaves, covering them with a whitish cottony layer in the shape of a star. When it is not controlled in time, the leaves dry and fall.
What causes it? Mainly poor care such as excess humidity and compost or lack of light. Thus, the treatment involves correcting these causes and applying natural fungicides (sulfur or copper) treatments. However, if the disease is very advanced, chemical fungicides will have to be used.
Unfortunately, being a plant with juicy leaves for many insects, it will also need preventive treatments against pests. Those that affect you the most are:
. Mites: they settle mainly on the upper part of the leaves. If your plant has mites, you can see yellow spots, small holes that were not there before, and even cobwebs. As Celosia is small, you can clean the leaves with soap and water, or if you prefer, use an insecticide that contains.
. Mollusks: if you live in a very humid area, snails will surely come close to your Cockscomb. You can repel them by putting plates or glasses with beer to avoid this. Another way, much less harmful for these animals, is by placing copper around your plant. Due to a reaction between the metal and the snail’s slime.
Uses of the Cockscomb
As we have seen, this is an ideal plant to have anywhere, as long as it has a lot of light. But did you know that it has other uses? In Africa and Asia, where it comes from, its leaves and flowers are used as food. Yes, yes, you can make delicious salads with this plant. You should know that it is also known as “Lagos spinach.”
So now you know, if you want to have a different dinner, boil some Celosia leaves, and then add them along with the lettuce. Have a nice meal!
The Cockscomb or brain flower is highly appreciated for its spectacular flower. In addition to its high ornamental value, it should note that it is straightforward to grow and take care of. It only has to be located where it receives a lot of direct light, if possible, all day. This substrate has good drainage and frequent watering. Thus, we are facing an ideal plant for those who have just entered the world of gardening and do not have much experience (or any) caring for plants.
Without a doubt, this is a flower that will give us many great satisfactions. Get a Rooster’s Crest and tell me if you don’t believe me.