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How to Grow Gomphrena — Globe Amaranth

Gomphrena globe amaranth
Globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa

Gomphrena–commonly called globe amaranth–is grown for its bright-colored upright spikes of clover-like flowerheads. The flowers are composed of dense clusters of stiff, papery bracts. Flower colors include shrimp, orange, rose, magenta, and purple.

Gomphrena blooms from summer to frost. It is a showy addition to sunny flower borders and rock gardens. It’s also a traditional addition to dried everlasting bouquets.

There are about 90 species in the Gomphrena genus, both annuals, and perennials. Mature plants can tolerate fairly dry soil.

 has lance-shaped to ovate leaves.
has lance-shaped to ovate leaves.

Get to Know Gomphrena

  • Plant type: Tender annual
  • Growing Zones and range: All zones
  • Hardiness: Killed by frost, thrives in heat
  • Height and width: 6 to 24 inches (15-61cm) tall; 10 to 20 inches (25-50cm)wide.
  • Foliage: Oval to lance-shaped leaves are covered with soft hairs.
  • Flowers: Cloverlike flower heads about 1 inch (2.5cm) wide, several flowers per stem
  • Flower colors: Pink, white, purple, red, orange, and purple
  • Bloom time: Midsummer through fall
  • Uses: Plant taller varieties in cutting garden; use lower varieties as a bedding plant in hot, dry places; cutting flower and for drying; grows well in containers; excellent cut flowers; attracts butterflies to the garden.
  • Common name: Globe amaranth
  • Botanical name: Gomphrena globosa
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Origin: Australia, tropical Central and South America

Where to Plant Gomphrena

  • Plant Gomphrena in full sun.
  • Grow Gomphrena in average, poor, to sandy, well-drained soil.
  • Gomphrena prefers a soil pH of 5.8 to 6.2.

Gomphrena Uses

  • Dwarf Gomphrena makes colorful edgings plants; taller varieties make good cut flowers.
  • Gomphrena blossoms can be used in fresh and dried arrangements.
  • Gomphrena is complemented by white flowers such as Gypsophila and Ageratum.
Globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa
Globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa

When to Plant Gomphrena

  • Set Gomphrena seedlings in the garden in spring when all danger of frost is passed.
  • Start seed indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost. For earliest bloom, start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost.
  • Sow seed outdoors a least one week after the last frost in spring.

Planting and Spacing Gomphrena

  • Cover seed with 1/8 inch of soil and keep at 75° to 80°F (23°-29°C) until seeds germinate; afterward, the temperature can be reduced to 65° to 70°F (18°-21°C).
  • Germination takes 7 to 14 days.
  • Sow seed outdoors in smoothly prepared garden soil. Do not let the seedbed dry out.
  • Thin seedlings to their permanent spacing when they are about 4 inches (10cm) tall.
  • Space Gomphrena 10 to 20 inches (22-50cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Gomphrena

  • Gomphrena grows well in moderately moist soil; established plants can tolerate drought.
  • Fertilize globe amaranth every 4 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work a 9-month slow-release fertilizer at planting time.
White globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa Alba

Gomphrena Care

  • Mulch around plants with aged compost to conserve soil moisture.
  • Pinch back tips for business if flowers are grown for ornamental appearance in the garden; don’t pinch back tips if you are growing flowers for cutting–allow long stems to grow.
  • Stake taller varieties that may flop if not staked.
  • To dry cut blossoms, pick when blooms are thoroughly mature and hang them upside down in a shaded spot.

Gomphrena Pests and Diseases

  • Aphids and spider mites can sometimes be a problem.
  • Gomphrena is sometimes affected by gray mold and fungal leaf spot.

Gomphrena Propagation

  • Sow seeds in warm soil in early spring.
  • Soak seeds in water overnight before sowing.
  • Seeds germinate in 10 to 14 days at 72°F (22°C).

Globe Amaranth Varieties to Grow

  • Gomphrena globosa, globe amaranth: Annual grow 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) tall with oval to oblong flower heads 1½ inch long in shades of pink, purple, or white; this is the type often grown in gardens; there are dwarf, medium, and tall cultivars; cultivars include ‘Buddy’ which grows to 8 inches tall with bright purple flowers.
  • G. haageana: Annual grows to 24 inches (61cm) tall, flowers in shades of pale red to reddish-orange’ cultivars include ‘Strawberry Fields’ is a popular red variety, and ‘Lavender Lady’ is lavender.

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