This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This East Indian annual is still popular in many places, and is grown either for greenhouse decoration or for planting out during the summer months. Seeds are sown in heat in February or March, the young plants being pricked out of the seed pots or pans in due course, grown on, and hardened off if necessary. To secure fine "combs" early the soil should not be too rich, but a certain percentage of ill-formed combs must always be expected. The plume-like inflorescences of the typical plant have now been replaced with thickened masses of velvety tissue, curled and crimped into peculiar shapes.
The Plumed Cockscomb - C. plumosa - with feathery plumes of various colours, may be grown in the same way, but requires good rich soil and proper attention to watering, etc, to secure the best results.