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This is my first year starting annuals from seeds, mainly for containers. I've read that pinching off the first blooms helps the plant produce more blooms and form a bushier habit.

I started my seeds late and while they're at a good height and have a lot of foliage they just now started to get their first blooms. A small single bud formed a few days ago and it's still only about 1/2" big or less. Other celosias I've seen planted around my area already have large flowers and when I visited a garden center about 3 weeks ago their celosias were already in bloom.

Should I still pinch them and if I do how long can I expect for new blooms to come back?

I'm in the New York City area and these are Fresh Look Orange Celosias.

  • Care is a bit different depending on which variety of celosia you have. Does it have spiky, feathery flowers on thin stems with offshoots developing, or is it one velvety flower, with a crumpled look that resembles a rooster's comb, or a human brain, on a thick stem? Check here for pictures of the most common types. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jul 1 '15 at 16:36
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Well we're already into July, past the longest day, so it rather depends where you live - if you're somewhere that experiences fall by September, no, don't nip those off. If, on the other hand, you have warm temperatures right up to Christmas, then yes, you could do - but shortening day length also has an impact on plants in terms of growth and flowering. On balance, I wouldn't nip them off - the other plants you've seen round and about with larger flowers will have been started into growth much earlier than yours, usually indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date - and then the first flower is nipped out. Just make sure you deadhead whenever necessary to encourage more flowers.

  • Thanks. I updated my question with location info. I won't pinch them this year. When is a good time to deadhead? Once the blooms start to fade or after they're completely browned? Or even before when the blooms are still looking good? – OrganicLawnDIY Jul 1 '15 at 18:08
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    When the blooms start to fade and are obviously going over, just so long as they're not left long enough to try to start making seed. – Bamboo Jul 2 '15 at 9:32
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I grew Fresh Look Orange Celosias last year in Massachusetts, USDA Zone 6a. I put them out as young seedlings in June, and they bloomed all the way until the frost. One of the good things about this annual is that no deadheading is required. It's a bushy variety, and new leaves and blooms grow around the edges without needing the help that deadheading usually provides. The flowers can last up to three months without losing color or strength, however, if any begin to look tired, it's fine to pinch them off.

Celosias prefer full sun and will grow in virtually any well-draining soil. In the garden, anything that keeps your other annuals happy is fine. They're also great in containers, using a well-balanced commercial potting soil. As with all container plants, they need more frequent watering than in the ground. I grew mine both ways, with excellent results. Tolerant of drought and heat, they're a good choice for your area, where temperature and humidity change frequently.

Transplanting is easy too. I changed my garden design mid-summer, and successfully relocated them. As with all transplants, make sure to dig a hole large enough for the root system, thoroughly soak it after planting, and water daily until it settles in.

They're also lovely and long-lasting as cut flowers, and can easily be dried and used as decoration.

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