Ornamental amaranths are easy to grow, tall plants that will bring an exotic note to your flower borders.
Half-hardy annuals, they should be sown thinly where they are to flower, in spring. They can also be sown earlier indoors in pots, for transplanting outside when the danger of frost has passed. Amaranths like to be grown in full sun.
Amaranthus caudatus, Love Lies Bleeding, is the most well known member of the amaranth family. This plant grows up to 1.5 meters (4 feet) tall and produces long ropes’ of dark red flowers that cascade right to the floor. Flowers are produced all summer long and make a striking cut flower. When carefully dried, they will keep their color for a long time.
Other varieties are available, including some with multiple flower colors on one plant and others that grow their flowers on erect spikes. Again, these are good as cut flowers and for drying.
Amaranthus tricolor is an amaranth grown for its stunning foliage. The variety Joseph’s Coat’ has yellow and scarlet leaves alongside the regular green ones. As an added bonus, you still get the distinctive amaranth flowers.
Amaranths can be grown as houseplants, but will need a humid atmosphere.
Ornamental amaranths are part of a large plant family. Many amaranths are grown as edible plants for their seeds or leaves. Edible amaranths are also attractive plants, and can make as big a splash in the kitchen garden as their ornamental cousins make in the flowerbeds.