Grow Drought Tolerant Globe Amaranth Flowers

Gomphrena Globe Amaranth Flowers
Photo: imagenavi/Getty Images

If you aren't familiar with annual gomphrena flowers, there are several reasons to get to know this low care landscape plant. Children love to pluck the cheerful flowering globes of gomphrena in the garden, as the spiky puffs have that tactile appeal. Butterflies are also drawn to the purple, pink, white, or red flowers of the globe amaranth, but deer tend to pass them by. Globe amaranth flowers are excellent candidates for drying for potpourri and crafts, but they’re just as nice from the cutting garden for fresh flower arrangements.

Don’t be surprised if you find that the cut flowers have started to root in the vase when you discard your flower arrangement; that’s how easy these plants are to grow.

Like other members of the Amaranthaceae family, globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) can grow as an annual in any frost-free zone, but grows best in areas with hot summers. Depending on the variety, you can expect the plants to achieve a height of one to three feet, with a width of about a foot. 

Planting

Globe amaranth grows best in full sun to partial shade. Too much shade reduces blooming and makes plants lanky. Gomphrena grows well in average garden soil to slightly sandy soil. Plants still bloom in heavy clay but height may be somewhat stunted. Globe amaranth tolerates wet or dry conditions, but don’t plant in areas with standing water.

You can start globe amaranth from seed, but the plants take about eight weeks from seed to flower, so start seeds indoors in late winter for earliest blooms.

Plant many more seeds than you you need, as germination rates are low. You may increase your germination success by using an electric heat mat. Don't worry about spending money to buy enough seeds for your flowerbed, it’s easy to collect seed from globe amaranth flowers at the end of the growing season; you can find a seed at the base of each petal.

 

Maintenance

Globe amaranth is a low maintenance flower. The plants are light feeders, and if you mulch them with compost, you won’t need to fertilize them at all. Gomphrena is virtually pest-free, but mildew can sometimes be a problem on crowded plants. Globe amaranth will bloom freely throughout the season without deadheading, but you will probably want to add some of these long-lasting blooms to your vase, so shear away.

Design Tips

You can find many uses for this tidy annual in your flower garden. Plant globe amaranth at the front or middle of the flower border, where it shines as a companion alongside flowers with similar growing requirements, like zinnias and celosia

Globe amaranth works well in container gardens as a tall accent plant. Combine it with a mounding plant like vinca, and a trailing plant like petunias for a full, lush look. Include globe amaranth in your butterfly garden, or grow globe amaranth with other flowers that you can dry for crafts, like paper daisy or statice

Suggested Varieties

  • All Around Purple: Compact with rich magenta blooms
  • Bicolor Rose: Deep lavender flowers with a white cap; one of the taller varieties at 3 feet
  • Lavender Lady: Dusky pink flowers pair well with white or pastel flowers
  • QIS Formula Mix: Includes white flowers, which resemble the common clover too closely for some gardeners
  • Strawberry Fields: Bright red poms on 3-foot plants