Sandy's Garden ... Celosia and Racol

Browsing the display of plants outside one of my local supermarkets, my eye was caught by a small number of pots containing plants with brilliantly-coloured, plume-like flowers, the vibrant, dark purple colouration lighting up their shaded location.

By Sandy Simpson
Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 12:15 pm

You will be well aware that I discourage impulse buying, but let’s just take a look at the label.

There’s not too much information here.

“Flowertime: April-September.”

Falkirk Herald gardening guru Sandy Simpson

Yes, these particular plants are in flower but look as if there are more flowers to come.

“Planting: this plant will grow in any well-drained soil.”

O.K., the little ‘bald’ patch where I might plant these is definitely well-drained.

“Position: the plant needs plenty of light but avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Protect from frost.”

Yes, the place I have in mind gets morning sun, but is out of direct sunlight … but still very bright … for the rest of the day.

That should be all right; and I hope we shall not have any frost for several months now.

“Height: (14in – 18in).” That’s just fine.

These plants might like the spot in my garden where I think I might plant them.

And at £2 each, three aren’t going to break the bank.

What are they?

“Celosia Caracas ‘Deep Purple."

Oh, and here’s another scrap of information – “This plant originates from Asia, Africa, Indonesia and South Africa, and is renowned for its deep purple flowers.”

Ach, I’ve taken advantage of some good offers on the food shelves – I’ll just spend £6.00 of my savings on three Celosias.

Back home, new plants planted, watered in and looking an absolute treat, the time has come to find out just a little bit more about them.

Yes, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website has a few words to say on the subject. “Position: full sun. Soil: moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Rate of growth: average. Flowering period: June - September. Hardiness: tender (will need winter protection).”

My plants are in a sunnier position than the supermarket suggests albeit in a less sunny spot than the RHS wants – a compromise, perhaps?

Ah, maybe this is the webpage I want:

“The simplicity of the Deep Purple® is also its strength. It is a wonderfully uncomplicated plant requiring little attention and giving a great deal of pleasure.”

Yes, I like the sound of that; but Deep Purple®? Neither my supermarket nor the RHS Deep Purple plants have that ® symbol, the RACOL which stands for ‘registered & authorized company logo’ and was given its legal significance in the US when the Trademark Act was amended to show that the manufacturer or seller of the product has registered its trademark with the US Patent & Trademark Office. Does this mean that my Celosias are bootleg plants? And surely the RHS is not selling pirate plants?

But wait – the RACOL has legal significance in the US; no mention of the UK. That’s a relief! I can enjoy my Celosias without fear of a visit from federal law-enforcement agents.