Unexpected volunteer: Celosia

Several years ago I planted a small bed of Celosia 'Flamingo Feather' from seed. I had only known the short "plume" form of Celosia, so was intrigued by the tall, "wheat"-like blooms of this variety. (At this point I didn't know that Celosia came in several forms: "crested" which looks like a brain, "plumed" which I believe is the most common, and "wheat").

In any case, I had a "wheat" form, and enjoyed them all that season. Then the next, as they produced and drop lots and lots of seed. Then the next, but with slightly fewer plants. I never planted this again myself, and just relied on volunteers coming up each year.


Eventually there were fewer and fewer plants, and they started showing up in the strangest places. At the base of a retaining wall in my lawn. In a crack of the driveway. In my veggie beds, way across the yard from their original planting space.

The seeds are too large to be wind-borne, and birds don't seem to like to eat them, so how they were scattering around my yard was a bit of a mystery.

Until this year, when a single plant started growing along with another plant in one of my pots. This is when I realized that I was probably moving the seeds around the yard myself, probably when I dug holes and transferred plants around.

Although I've got plenty of saved seed from those original plants, I now have a fresh source. The flowers start small but keep elongating, beautifully snaking their way to 6" long or more:

The seed pods form on the older parts of the bloom which fade to white, giving the bloom a nice two-toned look:

The pods eventually ripen and split open revealing glossy black seeds, ready to scatter:

I'm actually quite glad to have this plant show up again, as it reminded me how much I like these flowers.

I'm going to have to incorporate more of these into the garden next year!

Of course that means I'll have them in the garden for years and years again, but that's not a bad thing, right?


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