Amaranths are Victorian flowers that deserve consideration for your garden. Grain, vegetable and flowering types are native to the Americas and were much-prized by the Aztecs.
Amaranths grow tall and bushy with heights ranging from two to eight feet. They make a beautiful back-of-the-flower-border plant or temporary shrub. Easy to grow in full sun, amaranths thrive against warm, southern walls.
The leaves are spear-shaped and range in color from green to dark red, yellow, orange and even fluorescent pink. Amaranth foliage is edible as a cooked green and is very nutritious with a spinach-like flavor.
Love-lies-bleeding, or tassel flower produces long-lasting flowers with erect or drooping tassels. One tassel may last for up to eight weeks. Color shades include red, maroon and chartreuse green.
Prince's feather has leaves of purple, red and green, and bears tiny, bright-red flowers.
Joseph's coat, a vegetative type amaranth, has insignificant flowers but richly variegated foliage.
Amaranths are easily grown from seed if planted after the last frost in warm soil. They are attractive cut flowers and are excellent for drying.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013