Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus, is a heavy-looking plant with brilliant cascading flowers. The ropey, tassel-like flowers fall from the top of the plant. Blossoms last as long as 8 weeks. Love-lies-bleeding is easy to grow.
The poorer the soil the more brilliant the foliage of amaranthus; soil too fertile will result in disappointing foliage.
Amaranthus grows readily from seed and prefers a sunny spot in the garden. They can be started in mid to late spring and require considerable space; they should be thinned or transplanted to stand 18 to 24 inches apart.
Get to Know Amaranthus
- Plant type: Annual
- Growing Zones and range: 2-11
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 3 to 5 feet (90-150cm) tall; 2 feet (60cm) wide
- Form: Branched stems with large, oval, pale green leaves.
- Flower form and color: Long cascading clusters of tight-packed red, golden, and deep purple-red blossoms
- Colors: Brilliant colored foliage ranges from chocolate brown to crimson, bright green gold
- Bloom time: Spring in warm climates; midsummer in cool climates.
- Uses: Accent in flower beds and borders; cutting garden
- Common name: Love-lies-bleeding and Joseph’s Coat
- Botanical name: Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus tricolor
- Family: Amaranthaceae
- Origin: Temperate and tropical regions worldwide
Where to Plant Amaranthus
- Plant Amaranthus in full sun in Zones 6-7 and the Pacific Northwest; plant in partial shade in Zones 8-11.
- Plant Amaranthus in humus-rich to average, well-drained soil.
- Amaranthus is a good good choice for backgrounds and borders.
- Use as a point of interest–commands attention from midsummer until frost.
- Picked when young and tender, the leaves and stems of some species can be cooked like spinach.
When to Plant Amaranthus
- Sow seed in early summer when soil is at least 70°F (21°C) for germination.
- Set established seedlings in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed.
- Sow seed indoors about six weeks before the last frost or in the garden when nighttime temperatures are 50°F (10°C).
Planting and Spacing Amaranthus
- Space Amaranthus 18 inches (45cm) apart.
How to Water and Feed Amaranthus
- Keep the soil evenly moist.
- Side dress plant with aged compost or slow-release all-purpose fertilizer early and at mid-season.
- Mulch around plants to keep soil evenly moist.
- Side dress plants with aged compost or slow-release fertilizer when flowering starts.
- Stake tall plants.
Amaranthus Pests and Diseases
- Amaranthus is susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and aster yellow virus.
- Sow Amaranthus seed outdoors in full sun or part shade after the soil has warmed in spring.
- Germination usually takes 14 to 21 days.
Amaranthus Varieties to Grow
- Amaranthus caudatus. Love-Lies-Bleeding. Erect or cascading plant; spike of green or shades of red tassel flower: 3 to 8 feet tall; red flowers, drooping tassel clusters; produces grain.
- ‘Virdis’ has green flower clusters.
- ‘Pygmy Torch’ has crimson clusters above purplish leaves.
- Amaranthus tricolor ‘Joseph’s Coat’ grows 1 to 4 feet tall; boldly colored foliage green leaf strains used as a spinach substitute.