Celosia, ornamental peppers pep up fall landscapes

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.

Intenz celosia offers beautiful flowers in the fall landscape. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

Red and orange flower plumes on celosia peak in late summer through midfall. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 08/20/15

Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – As we enter fall, many home gardeners are considering adding new plants to dress up the landscape. Two great plants for fall are celosia, which some of us also call cockscomb, and ornamental peppers.

Intenz is a highly impressive celosia introduced a few years ago and widely sold at garden centers in Louisiana in late summer. This variety has vibrant color on spiky blooms and sought-after texture to add to mixed containers. Intenz is also versatile. You may plant in patio containers or landscape beds.

A low-maintenance plant with high appeal, Intenz celosia blooms for a long time in the home landscape.

Intenz prefers a full to mostly sunny location. Provide a well-drained soil and space plants about a foot apart. In containers, use Intenz to brighten up a combination planter and add height and texture. Water requirements are average to low.

Arrabona Red is a well-branched plumosa-type celosia with a stunning new red-orange bloom color. A new seeded variety from PanAmerican Seed for 2015, Arrabona Red is one of the top 10 performing new annual plants in the trial gardens at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station this year.

The plant tolerates drought and loves the heat. Great for tropical, subtropical and continental climates, Arrabona Red is exceptionally long-blooming.

Twisted celosia has a unique bold reddish color that is sure to catch your eye. It’s good for season-long garden performance but is great in the fall landscape.

Fall is also the time of the year for ornamental peppers. These are a unique, specialty plant for home landscapes. They have appealing berries and foliage.

To some degree, ornamental peppers have traditionally been thought of as a holiday potted plant, but they are enjoying increased use among home gardeners as an alternative color addition to annual and herbaceous perennial beds.

Ornamental peppers produce colorful fruit – which are actual peppers – in a wide range of sizes, forms and colors. Purple, orange, yellow, red, brown, blue and white are common. Multiple colors can appear on the same plant.

Flowering on ornamental peppers is not obvious – the fruits are the desirable feature. Plants can reach heights of 8 inches to 3 feet, depending on the variety. Green foliage is common; however, plants with variegated foliage or purplish-black leaves are also available.

Retail garden centers offer and home gardeners purchase and plant ornamental peppers in late summer through early fall for a nice color addition to the fall landscape.

When it comes to planting ornamental peppers, you should be aware of several factors. Soil pH is not critical, but slightly acid conditions in the pH range of 5.5-6.0 are best. Plant peppers in full sun and space plants according to the mature size of the variety chosen. When planting in mid- or late summer, fertilization at planting will normally last through fall. Irrigation is necessary during dry spells.

You can find many varieties of ornamental peppers, including Chilly Chili (an All-America Selection in 2002), Medusa, Little Elf, Calico, the black-foliaged Black Pearl, the Explosive series, the purple-foliaged Purple Flash and Red Missile.

All ornamental peppers are heat tolerant and will make a great addition to the late-summer and fall landscape in Louisiana. They work well with autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving landscape themes.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

8/20/2015 9:49:54 PM
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