Call on amaranthus to add interest to containers and garden beds. Plants grow 2-8 feet tall and spread 1-3 feet wide. The plants will take off and grow quickly as soon as daytime temperatures regularly reach 70 degrees.
An easy-to-grow annual from seed with a big beautiful garden presence. Amaranths get its unusual common name from the rope like deep magenta flower stalks that emerge midsummer and lengthen until the first frost.
The flowers stalks hold their color as they extend 12 inches or more toward the ground. A spectacular display. In many countries and becoming more popular here in the states, is the leaves used like spinach, often sauteed with chilies and spices. The iron/calcium rich seeds can be dried and then cooked and eaten as you would oatmeal or porridge, or ground into a flour. Amaranth is a gluten free alternative and is very nutritious for those that are sensitive to wheat. Dried seeds are also used by topping with honey or syrup for a sweet treat.
Start indoors at 70 degrees Fahrenheit 6 weeks prior to planting out or sow directly in place. To harvest stems for drying, cut young, fresh flower stalks. Tie two or three stems together and hang them in a dark, airy, dry place. The stems will dry in about one month and can be added to dried-flower arrangements.
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