By Bonnie L. Grant
Globe amaranth plants are native to Central America but do well in all the United States Department of Agriculture growing zones. The plant is a tender annual, but it tends to reseed itself for years of consistent blooms in the same area. Learning how to grow globe amaranth is easy and its round blooms will attract butterflies and important garden pollinators.
Globe Amaranth Info
Globe amaranth plants (Gomphrena globosa) grow from six to twelve inches high. They have fine white hairs covering young growth, which matures to thick green stems. The leaves are oval and arranged alternately along the stem. The blooms of globe amaranth start in June and may last until October. The flower heads are clusters of florets that resemble large clover flowers. They range in color from pink, yellow, white and lavender.
An interesting bit of globe amaranth info is that the flowers dry well. They make excellent additions to everlasting bouquets to brighten the interior of your home. Growing globe amaranth from seed is common in most zones, but the plants are also readily available in most nurseries and garden centers.
How to Grow Globe Amaranth
Growing globe amaranth is not difficult at all. Start seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost. They will germinate faster if you soak them in water prior to planting. If you wish to sow them outdoors, wait until the soil has warmed and there is no chance of frost.
Choose a site in full sun with good drainage. Globe amaranth plants will grow in almost any soil type except alkaline. Globe amaranth performs best in garden soil, but you can also put them in containers.
Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart and keep them moderately moist. Globe amaranth can tolerate periods of dryness, but they perform best with even moisture.
Care of Globe Amaranth Flowers
This plant is not susceptible to many disease or pest problems. However, it may get powdery mildew if watered overhead. Watering at the base of the plant or in the morning gives leaves a chance to dry off and prevents this problem.
Globe amaranth plants are old-fashioned additions to dried flower arrangements. The flowers are dried by hanging. Harvest the flowers when they first open with a good length of stiff stem. Tie the stems together and hang the bundle in a cool, dry location. Once dried, they may be used with the stems or remove the flowers and add to potpourri.
The flowers also work nicely in fresh flower arrangements. General care of globe amaranth flowers is the same for any cut floral. Make clean, slightly angled cuts at the ends of the stems and remove any leaves that might sit in the water. Change the water every couple of days and cut off a tiny bit of stem to open up the capillaries again. Amaranth flowers can last up to a week with good care.
Expect the plants to die back when cold temperatures appear, but don’t get distressed! In most USDA zones, the seeds that set after the flower is spent, will germinate in soils after winter.