Flowers That Feel Like Velvet
Texture is an important element in the garden. A variety of textures adds interest to a flower bed, just as a variety of colors and heights does. If it's a velvety texture you're seeking, several flowers that fit the bill. They are all unique in shape and size, but have a soft texture in common.
An annual with a velvety texture is cockscomb, or Celosia cristata. This unique flower, also known as a wool flower, resembles a colorful rooster's comb. It belongs to the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. Cockscomb flowers can be red, pink, yellow or gold and are typically 2 to 5 inches wide. They have a flattened appearance with a ruffled top edge. Flowers grow on stems that are 1 to 2 feet tall. This annual dicotyledon blooms from late summer through fall.
Lamb's ears Stachys byzantina bears soft purplish spikes of flowers in late spring to summer. Though the flowers have a soft texture, the foliage is this perennial's main attraction. Fuzzy silvery leaves grow in clumps that make an ideal border. Velvety lamb's ears are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9 and thrive in full sun. Divide every few years.
Another annual, salpiglossis is known as the velvet flower because of its texture. Its startling colors range from a dark maroon that is almost black to purple, pink, lilac, cream, yellow and light blue. Gold veins run through the petals of the salpiglossis flower, which is shaped like a petunia. It blooms in summer to fall on stems that can grow as tall as 30 inches.
The snapdragon Antirrhinum majus is an old-fashioned flower that is easy to grow. This distinctive small flower has a velvet texture, and its shape resembles the head of a dragon. Gently pinch the sides of its soft jaws, and the ''dragon's head'' will open. This cool-season annual blooms in early spring in colors including red, pink, orange, yellow and white. Stems grow 1 to 4 feet tall. The plant will self-seed if not deadheaded and return the next year. Plant in sun to part-sun.
- ''The Book of Outdoor Gardening''; Editors of Smith & Hawken; 1996
- ''Taylor's Guide to Growing North America's Favorite Plants''; Barbara W. Ellis; 1998