Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Plant of the Week: Amaranth

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Plant of the Week: Amaranth

Talk about a statement plant.  Even if this isn’t quite your gardening style, you have to appreciate the bold color and texture of amaranth.  This photo was taken in the Display Gardens in mid October – a stunning late season annual to add to a flowerbed.

Genus: Amaranthus

Other common names found in this genus include Indian spinach, Joseph’s-coat, pigweed, love-lies-bleeding and princess-feather.  There are a handful of species in Amaranthus that are grown as a food crop.  The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain and the leaves can be cooked like spinach.

Family:  Amaranthaceae

Celosia, another highly ornamental annual, is also found in the Amaranthaceae family.

The flowers of amaranth can vary from shades of pink, purple and gold with a more upright or weeping form.  There is also wonderful color variation in the foliage, with some species grown just for their foliage.  Amaranthus tricolor, common name Joseph’s-coat, has showy foliage similar to a coleus.  To get a sense of the great variety, check out examples at this website: http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/annuals/amaranthus.html.  And this is just a few species in Amaranthus!

Amaranth is relatively easy to grow and often reseeds from one year to the next (it reseeds in the Display Gardens).  Seeds can be sown directly in the soil after the last frost and then thinned once established if desired.  The annual prefers full sun or part shade and can tolerate high heat and poor soils.  Regular watering will improve quality and growth.  The flowers are also  lovely in dried arrangements.

See you in the gardens.

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Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

March 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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