Joseph’s coat amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), also known as tricolor amaranth, is a pretty annual that grows quickly and provides brilliant color. The foliage is the star here, and this plant makes a great border or edging. It also grows well and looks stunning when put in as mass plantings. Tricolor amaranth care is easy, and it makes a great addition to many gardens.
What is Joseph’s Coat Amaranth?
Common names for this plant include Joseph’s coat or tricolor amaranth, fountain plant, and summer poinsettia. It grows as an annual from spring to fall and thrives in most USDA zones. You can grow tricolor amaranth in beds or in containers.
The leaves are what make Joseph’s coat spectacular and appealing to gardeners. They start out green and grow to three to six inches (7.6 to 15 cm.) long and two to four inches (5 to 10 cm.) wide. The green leaves turn into stunning bright shades of orange, yellow and red as summer progresses. The flowers are not very ornamental.
How to Grow Tricolor Amaranth
Growing Joseph’s coat amaranth requires little effort. It is a plant that tolerates a variety of conditions, including drought and different soil types. Plant tricolor amaranth outdoors after the last frost of spring in soil that has been mixed with compost or some other organic amendment. Make sure the soil will drain; this plant tolerates dry conditions but will rot quickly in standing water.
Full sun is best for Joseph’s coat, but partial shade is fine in hotter climates. The more sun you can give your plants, the more vibrant the foliage coloring will be. Limit fertilizer too, as over doing it can reduce color in the leaves.
Joseph’s coat is a stunning plant, but it looks best in informal gardens. It is related to pigweed, and puts some gardeners off for this reason. It can have a little bit of a weedy appearance, so if you are looking for clean, tidy beds and borders, this may not be your plant. Instead, try growing one in a container to see if you like the look of it.