By Sandra Nelson
This week’s pick by Jo Ann Prieto, horticulturist and seasonal color specialist.
“An interesting plant in masses, in pots it gives a nice structural interest to the pots.”
Providing a burst of blooms from summer until frost, globe amaranth is a hardy, easy to grow full sun annual that withstands both heat and drought. It is a non-aggressive and non-invasive plant that has a sturdy, branching form. It can tolerate dry soil and will live in clay soil, but does not do well in standing water. Some varieties, the dwarf “Buddy” series for example, reach only 8″ in height, while others, “Full Series Mixed,” can grow to 2 feet.
Gomphrena globosa, once available only in shades of lilac, now features a range of colors, including reds, pinks, purples, yellows and white. All make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers and can be easily dried to provide color for fall and winter arrangements.
Nurseries and garden centers typically offer the plants in cell packs, but varieties can be somewhat limited. Ordering seed from reputable companies can result in a wider selection. Globe amaranth are easily grown from seed; scatter their seed once the danger of frost is over and temperatures average 70 degrees F. Germination usually takes 14 to 21 days.
Globe amaranth tends to be pest-free, but can be susceptible to mildew if planted too closely together. Deer tend to avoid them, but several varieties of butterflies — monarchs, swallowtails and painted ladies to name a few — are attracted to the ball-shaped blooms. Bees and hummingbirds also flock to them!
Zones: 2 – 11
Companion Plants: Zinnias, celosia, lantana