UACES Facebook Cockscomb


July 2012

Question Like a lot of people, I'm losing some plants this summer. You may know that here in Maumelle, we're restricted to once-a-week watering. Even sneaking around my back yard with my hose isn't doing the job! You mentioned in your column today that hydrangeas are not drought-tolerant. I have one that's in a bad spot that I think I'll just take out after this year, so I know what you're talking about. My question is this: Would it be possible for you to print a list of plants that are drought-tolerant in an upcoming column? I've threatened to tear everything out and plant cacti next year or maybe just rosemary and Black-eyed Susans, since that's all that's doing well in my garden right now!

Answer As mentioned above with the crape myrtles, even they are struggling with the heat! Also, when planting even the most drought tolerant plants, the first growing season, they will need water. I can’t imagine what my landscape would look like with once a week watering—the soil is so incredibly rocky, and I am on a slope, so I feel for you with water restrictions. Deep, excellent soil encourages deep roots, which makes it easier to water less often. Some drought tolerant shrubs for sun include: abelia, althea (rose of Sharon), forsythia, spirea, buddleia (butterfly bush), barberry, junipers, beautyberry, nandina and ninebark. For shade, acuba, cleyera, and even camellias once they are well established. Perennials include rosemary, thyme, lamb’s ear, butterfly weed (milkweed), yarrow, gaura, rudbeckia (black eyed Susan), purple coneflower, liatris, sedum and penstemon. Annuals include lantana, periwinkle, cleome (spider flower), cockscomb, cosmos and portulaca. There are also a good number of succulents—plants with thick fleshy leaves that are available from nurseries.

April 2010

Question Could you tell me the real name of the flower that is called cocks comb. I know this is an old flower but I would like to have some seed to get it started. Is it annual? My mother used to grow them but I don't remember a lot about it other than how pretty it was.

Answer Cockscomb is a common name for the annual Celosia cristata. They come in several different flower forms—the combs (which you are referring to) , plumes and spikes. Flower color ranges from red, pink, yellow, orange and white, some having colorful foliage as well. Size of mature plants also runs the gamut from 4-6 inches to 4-6 feet. They make a tough, drought tolerant annual which freely reseeds itself, so they often come back annually with very little work. They make a great cut flower and are often seen in bouquets at farmers markets all summer long. They are easily grown from seed or plants and thrive all summer long provided they get plenty of sunlight.


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