Common name: Cockscomb or Prince's Feathers
cristata bears brightly coloured yellow, orange, crimson or pink flowers that resemble a cock's comb, the other pyramidalis, has crimson, scarlet or gold flowers that are soft and fluffy like feather plumes.
These tender annuals come from tropical Asia meaning they are best suited to growing in pots under glass in the UK.
They can be grown outdoors in sheltered sunny borders in the warmer parts of the country.
Depending upon type they can grow from 300mm-600mm(12"-24") tall
The flower heads appear from July to October(depending upon variety).
Week 6: Sow seeds in trays or pots of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 18°-20°C (65°-68°F)
Germination should take around four or five days.
Week 8: If seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into 50mm (2") cells or boxes of potting compost and grow on at a temperature of around 16°C (60°F).
Week 10: If planning on growing out doors, gradually reduce the temperature to harden the plant off.
Week 14-16: Pot up seedlings into 70mm (3") pots of potting compost.
Week 22: Plant out 250-300mm (10"-12") when all fear of frost has past.
Week 24: Commence a fortnightly liquid feeding programme.
Pot plant culture:
Plants should never be allowed to be come potbound.
Repot into Ji 1 potting compost (or equivalent) before the roots show through the bottom of the 75mm (3")pots.
Keep the compost moist at the roots and the atmosphere moderately humid, and a maximum temperature of 16°C (60°F)
To induce flowering, grow the plants on at lower temperatures and withhold water until the soil is quite dry.
This will force the combs to bloom prematurely.
Select the plants with the best looking combs and pot them on into 150mm (6") pots of Ji2 compost and return them to the warm greenhouse and feed fortnightly with liquid fertilizer.
Spray the foliage daily with water when they are in active growth to maintain good humidity.
Grow the plants on in a sunny position.