The January/February 2021 issue of Horticulture includes our annual feature on the new year's award-winning plants. In 2021, we noticed that celosia was named a winner in two different award programs. One honored a new celosia grown for its flowers, while the other highlighted a celosia bred to be a foliage plant.
For 2021, All-America Selections, which bases its decisions on plants' performance in 80 test gardens across the United States, named Candela Pink celosia a Flower Winner. This flowering celosia displays tall, feathery flower spikes all summer long. The AAS judges were impressed by Candela Pink's long bloom time, deer resistance and tolerance of heat and humidity. It also has an upright habit that makes it easy to include in garden or container combination plantings.
Meanwhile, Fleuroselect, an international organization of ornamental-plant growers, breeders and distributors, chose to honor the new Gekko Green celosia with its Gold Medal and Approved Novelty Award. (These award categories recognize new cultivars that truly surpass older and/or comparable cultivars.) Gekko Green is a celosia grown for its foliage. This cultivar won't bloom until very late in the summer, and even then its flowers are tiny. It is putting all its energy into producing gorgeous purple-and-green marbled leaves. Gekko Green and the related burgundy-leaved Lizzard Leaf are touted as coleus alternatives for full sun.
Both Candela Pink celosia and Gekko Green celosia prefer full sun and regular moisture. Try them out for yourself in 2021!
Image credits: Candela Pink courtesy of All-America Selections. Gekko Green courtesy of PanAmerican Seed.