Include a few spiky flowers in your flower garden to help create a border with a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Their brightly colored, unusually shaped blossoms will add vertical interest to the perennial flower garden and also to indoor cut flower bouquets. Beyond that, they also possess an aesthetically appealing, sculptural quality.
Celosia comes in two varieties that produce spiky flowers: Plumed celosia (Celosia argentea var. plumosa) and flamingo feather (C. spicata). Both varieties produce dozens of tiny spiked flowers radiating from a tall stem, giving the appearance of a single large, spiked flower. They come in bright red, orange, golden yellow, yellow, pink and white with petals that feel as soft as feathers. Celosia blossoms look like spikes of flames from a bonfire on varieties that grow from 4 inches to over 36 inches high. They are technically a tender perennial that is treated as an annual in areas colder than USDA hardiness zone 10. Celosia prefers hot weather so do not plant them outdoors in the garden until the soil is thoroughly warmed up.
Used by the ancients as a clothes line on which to lay their clean laundry, lavender (Lavandula officinalis), produces lavender-colored spiky flowers on stems held above the plant's foliage. The leaves of lavender are nearly as fragrant as the blossoms. Lavender is thought to be native to Iraq and was introduced to Europe around the 7th Century AD. Lavender is well-known as a moth deterrent and was also used medicinally. Its most common use throughout history was to scent bath soaps and oils. Lavender is a perennial herb that is reliably hardy through USDA zone 5 and through zone 4 with winter protection.
Hot Poker Plant
The hot poker plant (Kniphofia uvaria) produces tall spiked flowers on stems ranging from 18 to 80 inches high, depending on the variety. It prefers to grow in full sun and will flower from early summer until killed by frost. The flowers, which open from the bottom up, are bright, intense shades of red, orange, yellow and apricot. They evoke the feeling of glowing embers from a fire, hence the hot poker plant's common name. This perennial is reliably hardy through USDA zone 6, and through zone 5 with protection. It makes an excellent cut flower.
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