If you aren't familiar with globe amaranth flowers, there are several reasons to get to know this low-care landscape plant. Like most true annuals, globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) is easy to grow and it matures fairly quickly. It is a compact plant with upward growing stems that produce cheerful clover-like bracts in a lovely magenta color over a long bloom period. These bracts are delightful to children, attractive to butterflies and other pollinators, and make excellent candidates for drying for potpourri and crafts. Globe amaranth flowers are very long-lasting, making them great 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.
Structurally, the showy "flowers" of globe amaranth are actually bracts—specialized leaves surrounding the flower. Inside this structure is the true flower, which is insignificant—a tiny yellow bloom that is barely visible.
|Botanical Name||Gomphrena globosa|
|Common Names||Globe amaranth|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous annual|
|Mature Size||12 to 24 inches tall; 6- to 12-inch spread|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Any well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||6.1 to 6.5 (slightly acidic to neutral)|
|Flower Color||Bright magenta bracts; pink, yellow, white cultivars available|
|Bloom Time||June to frost|
|Hardiness Zones||True annual in all zones|
|Native Area||Central America|
How to Grow Globe Amaranth Plants
Globe amaranth is normally planted from inexpensive nursery seedling packs. It is a low maintenance flower with a preference for well-drained soil and a full sun location. 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.
Gomphrena is virtually pest-free, but powdery mildew can sometimes be a problem on crowded plants.
Globe amaranth grows best in full sun to part shade. Too much shade reduces blooming and makes the plants lanky as they reach for sun.
Gomphrena grows well in average garden soil to slightly sandy soil. Plants still bloom in heavy clay, but the height may be somewhat stunted. This plant does not like alkaline soil conditions.
Water these plants regularly. Although they tolerate dry spells, globe amaranth will perform best if kept consistently moist—about 1 inch of water per week from rainfall and/or irrigation.
Temperature and Humidity
Globe amaranth will grow well in virtually any climate, but don't plant seeds outdoors until soil temperatures have warmed up in spring.
Propagating Globe Amaranth
At the end of the season, collect seeds at the base of each petal. Save them until indoor planting time, about six weeks before the last spring frost. These plants will also freely self-seed in the garden, though it will take some time for the volunteers to mature in the spring.
Growing from Seeds
You can start globe amaranth from seed, but the plants take about eight weeks from seed to flower, so it's best to start seeds indoors in late winter for earliest blooms. Plant many more seeds than 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.
Varieties of Globe Amaranth
Although the common globe amaranth is a pleasing magenta color, improved cultivars with a variety of heights and hues are available for purchase:
- 'All Around Purple' features compact, container-ready plants with rich magenta blooms. This is one of the taller varieties at 3 feet.
- 'Bicolor Rose' sports deep lavender flowers with a white cap.
- No Victorian cottage garden should be without 'Lavender Lady', whose dusky pink flowers pair well with white or pastel blooms in the landscape.
- Gardeners who appreciate a riot of colors should try the Gomphrena 'QIS Formula Mix', which includes pink, orange, red, purple, and white blooms.
- Craving red? Include Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields', with bright red poms on 3-foot plants.
- Finally, the hot pink 'Fireworks' globe amaranth gives us a departure from the usual tight flower form of the typical Gomphrena, producing blooms with an open form, resembling little firecrackers.
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.
If you find that globe amaranth grows well in your garden, then consider planting other garden amaranth varieties with it, as they all thrive in the same growing conditions of hot sunshine and average soil and moisture conditions. A green amaranth variety like 'Green Thumb' or 'Emerald Tassels' is on point when planted beside the contrasting purple blooms of Gomphrena.
Globe amaranth works well in container gardens as a tall accent plant. Combine it with a mounding plant such as vinca, and a trailing plant such as 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.
In addition to its important role as an attractant for pollinators, globe amaranth belongs in the vegetable garden as an edible flower. Though the stiff blooms aren't exactly pleasing to the palate, the fresh or dried blossoms produce a vibrant pink hot tea with a mild grassy flavor. The stiff, uniform flowers of globe amaranth make it a popularly featured ingredient in blooming teapots.