Globe Amaranth – Gomphrena spp.
What is not to love about gomphrena? It’s an easy to grow, low maintenance, disease resistant summer annual that can survive on little water and will tolerate a range of soil types. It blooms prolifically from the beginning of summer and into the fall, forming an attractive mound of color that is difficult to miss.
Of course, it is the flower heads that make this plant truly unique. Globe or egg-shaped flower clusters are borne atop tall stalks lined with oppositely arranged, lance-shaped, hairy leaves. The actual flowers are fairly inconspicuous – small, trumpet-shaped, yellow florets protruding slightly from stacks of brightly-colored papery bracts. Depending on the species and cultivar, flower heads can be a variety of colors, including white, pink, purple, red, and orange. Their tall, straight stalks and sturdy flower heads make them an excellent cut flower, both fresh and dried.
Gomphrena is simple to grow from seed. Start indoors in late winter/early spring. Set planting trays on a heating mat to aid germination. Transplant after threat of frost has passed, and then enjoy a full season of constant blooms. For more information on growing and maintaining this butterfly-luring annual, click here.
Because gomphrena continues to flower into the fall, there is still plenty of time to see it at Idaho Botanical Garden. It’s blooming now in our Vegetable Garden among a bevy of other annuals, perennials, and vegetable crops, all of which demand a visit.
Written by IBG horticulturist, Daniel Murphy