10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (2022)

Gardening

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Which Amaranth to Grow for Flowers or Edibles

By

Nadia Hassani

10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (1)

Nadia Hassani

Nadia Hassani is a gardening expert with nearly 20 years of experience in landscaping, garden design, and vegetable and fruit gardening. She became a Penn State Master Gardener in 2006 and is a regular contributor to Penn State Master Gardener publications. She gives gardening talks about growing specialty produce for ethnic cuisines, authors two gardening and growing blogs, and created the taxonomy for the plant encyclopedia for Better Homes & Gardens.

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Updated on 04/12/22

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (2)

Reviewed byKathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens,aworking sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column.She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

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(Video) Growing Amaranth from Seed in Zone 6b/7 Gardening for Beginners Cut Flower Farm Growing Flower Seed

Fact checked by

Sarah Scott

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10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (4)

Of the more than 70 species of the Amaranthus genus worldwide, only about a dozen are cultivated, either as ornamentals or as an edible for their grain or leaves. There are, however, many popular cultivars within those dozen.

The majority of the species are considered weeds and a far cry from the plants with attractive bronze or purple leaves and tassel-shaped large flowers in striking colors that make amaranth a favorite for bouquets and cut flowers.

The two purposes of growing amaranth are not mutually exclusive. The species grown for their large seed heads can be just as striking as those grown purely for their striking flowers.

The five most commonly cultivated amaranth species in North America are:

  • Red amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus), native to Guatemala, Mexico
  • Foxtail amaranth or love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), native to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador
  • Slim amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus), native to Eastern North America, Mexico, Central America, northern South America
  • Prince of Wales feather (Amaranthus hypochondriacus), native to Mexico
  • Joseph’s coat (Amaranthus tricolor), native to Tropical Asia

Amaranth is a warm-weather plant that needs full sun. It can be grown as an annual in as low as in zone 2 (USA). However, in cool climates, summers are too short for amaranth seeds to reach full maturity. Most varieties take about 65 to 75 days to flower and then another 30 days or longer for the seeds to mature. If you are counting on both the flowers and the seeds, you need to be located in zone 5 or warmer.

The ten popular Amaranthus plants outlined below are all cultivars of the above species.

Growing and Harvesting Edible Amaranth

  • 01 of 10

    Amaranthus caudatus ‘Coral Fountain’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (5)

    (Video) Growing Amaranth Greens - A Nutrition Powerhouse + Amaranth Varieties

    The wooly flowers cascade down like a waterfall. An heirloom Amaranthus variety, it blooms from mid- to-late summer until the first frost. It is a favorite for bouquets. The seeds and leaves are edible.

    • Height: 3 to 5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11
    • Flower Color: Gold, burgundy
  • 02 of 10

    Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (6)

    This is one of the shorter amaranth varieties. It has sturdy stems. From late summer to fall, it displays eye-catching knotted flower clusters.

    • Height:2 to 4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11
    • Flower Color: Magenta
  • 03 of 10

    Amaranthus cruentus ‘Autumn’s Touch’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (7)

    This variety has dark green foliage and bicolored green and bronze flowers that appear in late summer and last on the plant into late fall. Despite the plumes being up to two feet large, the plant needs no staking because of its thick stalks. It makes a good cut flower.

    The plant attracts songbirds that feed on the seeds.

    • Height:3.5 to 4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11
    • Flower Color: Green and brown/bronze
  • Amaranthus cruentus ‘Copperhead’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (8)

    The large, feathery flowerheads start to appear on this early-maturing variety in mid-summer. Once they turn into seeds, they get a copper or golden glow, which gave this variety its name.

    Its unusual color makes it a favorite for cut flowers and bouquets. Both the young leaves and the seeds are edible.

    • Height:4 to 5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 11
    • Flower Color: Orange, tan

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Amaranthus cruentus ‘Hopi Red Dye’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (9)

    (Video) How to grow amaranth from seed to harvest | data shak chas poddhoti | amaranth plant | farmingdoor

    The Hopi indigenous Americans used the seedlings of this amaranthus variety as a dye. The rich color of the flowers makes up for their size, which is smaller than in other amaranth varieties. It blooms from summer to fall. Both the young leaves and the seeds are edible.

    • Height:4 to 6 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 5 to 11
    • Flower Color: Magenta
  • 06 of 10

    Amaranthus cruentus ‘Hot Biscuits’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (10)

    This medium-size variety blooms from mid-summer to fall. As the plumes transition from flowers into seeds, they turn bronze, which makes them a favorite for autumn bouquets and dried flower arrangements. The seeds are edible.

    • Height:4 feet on average
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 11
    • Flower Color: Orange, bronze
  • 07 of 10

    Amaranthus hybridus ‘Opopeo’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (11)

    While this tall variety is often grown for its edible greens and seeds, its flowers, which appear on the plant from summer to fall, also make it an attractive addition in the back of flower beds.

    • Height:5 to 7 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 5 to 12
    • Flower Color: Magenta, purple
  • 08 of 10

    Amaranthus hypochondriacus ‘Green Thumb’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (12)

    With its intense green flowers, this compact, bushy variety is attractive on its own or combined with other, more colorful amaranth varieties. It blooms all summer long and makes good cut flowers.

    • Height:1 to 2 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 10
    • Flower Color: Green

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • Amaranthus hypochondriacus ‘Pygmy Torch’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (13)

    This is one of the shortest amaranth varieties, which makes it suitable for borders, flower beds, containers, and hanging baskets. It blooms from summer to fall and makes an attractive cut flower or one for dry arrangements.

    • Height:1 to 2 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 10
    • Flower Color: Dark red, burgundy
  • 10 of 10

    (Video) Amaranth Love Lies Bleeding / Starting Seeds For Spring In Milk Jugs Easy...

    Amaranthus tricolor ‘Joseph's Coat’

    10 Popular Amaranth Varieties to Grow for Flowers or Seeds (14)

    Unlike other amaranth varieties, Amaranthus tricolor is grown for its foliage, not its flowers. And there is no doubt why this plant is also called Summer poinsettia—the bright bicolored red and yellow leaves look like a cousin of the popular holiday plant. This variety has a narrow growth habit and it looks best in mass plantings.

    • Height:1.5 to 5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11
    • Flower Color: Inconspicuous

Warning

The undesirable amaranth species are also known as pigweed. When it pops up in your yard, it is most likely common or redroot amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus) or Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri). These weeds can get very tall and have a deep taproot. Permanently eradicating them is challenging, especially Palmer amaranth, whose resistance to the herbicide glyphosate has earned it the reputation of being a superweed.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Bétrisey, F., Boisvert, V. & Sumberg, J. Superweed amaranth: metaphor and the power of a threatening discourse.Agric Hum Values, 2021. doi:10.1007/s10460-021-10259-1

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FAQs

How many varieties of amaranth are there? ›

amaranth, (genus Amaranthus), genus of 60–70 species of flowering plants in the family Amaranthaceae, distributed nearly worldwide.

Can you eat all varieties of amaranth? ›

If consumption is the goal, choose annual amaranth varieties marketed as edibles. Nearly all amaranths are edible, including 'love-lies-bleeding' and even the common roadside weedy forms. But those sold as edible varieties are selected for their good seed production and especially tasty leaves.

Which amaranth is best for eating? ›

Leaf amaranth is popular in Asia, eaten raw, stir fried, or steamed. This is by far the most tender and sweetest amaranth for edible greens, making for vibrant and delicious salad. The young leaves are a perfect spinach substitute; the intricately colored leaves are juicy and succulent.

How long does amaranth take to grow from seed? ›

Amaranth needs a nice hot summer for its entire growth period of 40-50 days. Direct sow in late spring, once night time temperatures are steadily above 10°C (50°F).

Which is the variety of Amaranthus? ›

Four amaranth cultivars have been registered in Crop Science: 'Montana 3' ('MT 3'), 'Montana 5' ('MT 5'), 'Amount', and 'Plainsman'.

What is the common name of amaranth? ›

Amaranthus retroflexus (redroot pigweed); flower spike. Amaranthus retroflexus (redroot pigweed); flower spike.

What is the English name of amaranth? ›

Amaranthus viridis is a cosmopolitan species in the botanical family Amaranthaceae and is commonly known as slender amaranth or green amaranth.
...
Amaranthus viridis
Order:Caryophyllales
Family:Amaranthaceae
Genus:Amaranthus
Species:A. viridis
8 more rows

Is amaranth good for health? ›

The nutrients in amaranth can offer significant health benefits as a part of a healthy diet. It's a source of vitamin C, which is vital to the body's healing process because it helps process iron, form blood vessels, repair muscle tissue, and maintain collagen.

Is amaranth safe to eat? ›

The leaves of amaranth plants are edible, too, used as a cooked leafy vegetable in cuisines worldwide. Harvest amaranth while it's still young and tender, usually when it's first emerging! Cultivated amaranth seeds are white, while the wild varieties tend to be black.

Where does amaranth grow best? ›

Amaranth plants grow well in average to rich, well-draining soil with equal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Like many vegetable crops, they need at least five hours of sunlight a day to do well. While they grows best in moist but well drained soil, they will tolerate somewhat dry soil too.

Which amaranth is not edible? ›

In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. For one, any plant that has been sprayed or grows in pesticide-sprayed soil will most likely absorb the toxic chemicals, making the plant itself toxic.

Which amaranth is good red or green? ›

The red color genotype VA13 and VA3 contained higher vitamin C, TPC, TFC, and TAC compared to green color genotype GRA1. Our results were fully agreed to the results of Khanam and Oba32 where they observed higher TPC, TFC, and TAC content in the red color amaranth genotype compared to green color amaranth.

What temperature does amaranth grow? ›

A tropical plant, amaranth grows best at temperatures between 70 F and 85 F. Do not use nitrogen fertilizer. Leaves can accumulate excess nitrates.

Is amaranth easy to grow? ›

Amaranth are very easy to grow. They prefer a warm climate, full sun, and a well drained soil. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week.

Is it easy to grow amaranth from seed? ›

Amaranth is quite easy to grow from seed. For best results, start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Use a light seed starting mix, and keep seedlings consistently watered and under a bright light once they emerge. After frost threats have passed, transplant to the garden.

What color are amaranth seeds? ›

Once harvested, tiny amaranth grains are revealed to be a nearly uniform shade of pale cream. Some grains are occasionally darker, ranging from light brown to nearly black in color, so if you see dark specks in your bulk amaranth don't worry. It's just a few grains of a darker shade than normal.

What is amaranth famous for? ›

Kaitlyn Michelle Siragusa (born December 2, 1993), better known as Amouranth /ˈæmərænð/, is an American social media personality, glamour model, pornographic actress and streamer. Siragusa is also known for her ASMR Twitch livestreams. Follower and view counts updated as of July 4, 2022.

How do you eat amaranth seeds? ›

Toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds a time in a hot, dry skillet. Continually shake or stir until the seeds pop. Eat them as a snack or use them to top soups, salads, and vegetable dishes.

Which plant is amaranth? ›

Notes. Amaranth is closely related to the weed known as red-rooted pigweed, so it can be difficult to tell the two plants apart. Amaranth grows to 4 to 6 feet (1.2 – 2 m) tall, and tall varieties may need staking to hold them upright when they become top-heavy with maturing seed clusters.

What is amaranth seeds used for? ›

The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. The entire plant is used to make medicine. Amaranth is used for ulcers, diarrhea, swelling of the mouth or throat, and high cholesterol, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. In foods, amaranth is used as a pseudocereal.

Where is amaranth grown in the world? ›

In the past two decades, amaranth has begun to be grown by a much larger number of farmers around the world, in China, Russia, parts of eastern Europe, South America and is reemerging as a crop in Mexico.

Is amaranth poisonous? ›

No species of genus Amaranthus is known to be poisonous, but the leaves contain oxalic acid and may contain nitrates if grown in nitrate-rich soils, so the water should be discarded after boiling. The young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw. The leaves are high in calcium, iron, protein, and phosphorus.

What color is amaranth? ›

Amaranth is a reddish-rose color that is a representation of the color of the flower of the amaranth plant.

Is amaranth a herb? ›

Amaranth is an annual herb; its stout, upright stem grows 3-4 feet high and bears alternate, oblong-lanceolate pointed, green leaves that have a red-purplish spot. Its flowers appear in August and grow in clusters. The flowers are not properly flowers, but tufts, with no smell, and of a reddish color.

Is amaranth good for kidneys? ›

Grain amaranth exerts its antidiabetic properties through improved calcium homeostasis in blood, kidney, and liver.

Is amaranth good for arthritis? ›

Amaranth also contains an oil that greatly improves immunity, making it excellent for children suffering from allergies – especially wheat allergies. 6. Because its alkaline value is greater than most other grains, it is good for people with inflammations such as rheumatoid arthritis and skin disorders. 7.

Is amaranth good for high blood pressure? ›

This ancient superfood may do a lot for your overall health. Amaranth may help combat coronary heart disease and hypertension. A study published by the National Institutes for Health (NIH), found that when chickens were given amaranth oil it decreased their blood cholesterol levels.

Is amaranth good for diabetics? ›

Amaranth is a nutritious grain with an array of benefits for diabetics. Amaranth is rich in protein, fibre and other vital micronutrients. Apart from amaranth, other grains that are good for diabetics include millets, brown rice, quinoa and kamut.

Is amaranth high in iron? ›

Agronomic investigations indicate that amaranth grain contains high iron concentrations ranging from 7.6-27 mg/100g of edible portion.

Can dogs eat amaranth? ›

The short answer is no, dogs can't safely eat amaranth greens. In fact, every part of the amaranth plant is toxic for dogs. If your dog has ingested amaranth greens, you should contact your vet immediately.

Can you grow amaranth in pots? ›

Can I grow amaranthus in containers? Yes, be sure the container is large enough for the variety, and use a commercial potting mix.

How tall do amaranth grow? ›

Amaranth is closely related to the weed known as red-rooted pigweed, so it can be difficult to tell the two plants apart. Amaranth grows to 4 to 6 feet (1.2 – 2 m) tall, and tall varieties may need staking to hold them upright when they become top-heavy with maturing seed clusters.

How do you start amaranth seeds? ›

How to start Amaranth seeds - YouTube

Can you eat amaranth like rice? ›

As a grain, amaranth can be used to add interest to salads, curries and more. It can be cooked like rice, or puffed like popcorn.

Can I eat amaranth flowers? ›

Red amaranth is a fine example of root to stem cooking. The stalks, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds are all edible, and packed with nutrition at that. The amaranth seeds are a grain substitute, similar to quinoa.

Can birds eat amaranth? ›

In addition to being a great food source, it attracts bees, butterflies and birds. You can eat the leaves and still collect the seeds.

What is the Indian name of amaranth? ›

Amaranth seeds are commonly known as 'ramdana' in Hindi.

Is Amaranth leaves good for kidney disease? ›

Note: Amaranth leaves contain good amounts of oxalic acid and hence people suffering from kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and gout should avoid consuming this leafy vegetable.

Is amaranth a sun or shade? ›

Keep in mind that amaranth will be most productive in full sun (i.e., at least six hours of direct sunlight). Certain varieties of amaranth can grow up to eight feet tall. But those bred specifically for leaf production usually reach only one or two feet when mature.

What is the difference between Amaranthus and amaranth? ›

Amaranthus is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental plants. Catkin-like cymes of densely packed flowers grow in summer or autumn.

Which amaranth is not edible? ›

In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. For one, any plant that has been sprayed or grows in pesticide-sprayed soil will most likely absorb the toxic chemicals, making the plant itself toxic.

Why was amaranth outlawed? ›

Since 1976 Amaranth dye has been banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a suspected carcinogen. Its use is still legal in some countries, notably in the United Kingdom where it is most commonly used to give glacé cherries their distinctive color.

Which is better red or green amaranth? ›

The red color genotype VA13 and VA3 contained higher vitamin C, TPC, TFC, and TAC compared to green color genotype GRA1. Our results were fully agreed to the results of Khanam and Oba32 where they observed higher TPC, TFC, and TAC content in the red color amaranth genotype compared to green color amaranth.

What is amaranth called in English? ›

a] and in English it has several common names, including blood amaranth, red amaranth, purple amaranth, prince's feather, and Mexican grain amaranth. In Maharashtra, it is called shravani maath ("श्रावणी माठ") or rajgira ("राजगिरा").
...
Amaranthus cruentus.
Blood amaranth
Species:A. cruentus
Binomial name
Amaranthus cruentus L.
Synonyms
10 more rows

Where is amaranth grown in the world? ›

In the past two decades, amaranth has begun to be grown by a much larger number of farmers around the world, in China, Russia, parts of eastern Europe, South America and is reemerging as a crop in Mexico.

Can you eat amaranth flowers? ›

Red amaranth is a fine example of root to stem cooking. The stalks, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds are all edible, and packed with nutrition at that. The amaranth seeds are a grain substitute, similar to quinoa.

Is amaranth flower poisonous? ›

Amaranthus caudatus has no toxic effects reported.

Can dogs eat amaranth? ›

The short answer is no, dogs can't safely eat amaranth greens. In fact, every part of the amaranth plant is toxic for dogs. If your dog has ingested amaranth greens, you should contact your vet immediately.

Is amaranth toxic to humans? ›

Avoid eating too much amaranth from agricultural fields. The leaves (like those of spinach, sorrel and many other greens) also contain oxalic acid, which can be poisonous to livestock or to humans with kidney issues of eaten in large amounts.

Is amaranth a drug? ›

Amaranth is a plant. The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. The entire plant is used to make medicine. Amaranth is used for ulcers, diarrhea, swelling of the mouth or throat, and high cholesterol, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

What is the Indian name of amaranth? ›

Amaranth seeds are commonly known as 'ramdana' in Hindi.

What is amaranth famous for? ›

Kaitlyn Michelle Siragusa (born December 2, 1993), better known as Amouranth /ˈæmərænð/, is an American social media personality, glamour model, pornographic actress and streamer. Siragusa is also known for her ASMR Twitch livestreams. Follower and view counts updated as of July 4, 2022.

Is amaranth good for your heart? ›

Antioxidant-Rich

Amaranth is rich in antioxidants, including gallic acid and vanillic acid. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which are damaging byproducts of normal cellular activity, helping to reduce everything from signs of aging to heart disease.

Is amaranth good for kidneys? ›

Grain amaranth exerts its antidiabetic properties through improved calcium homeostasis in blood, kidney, and liver.

Where does amaranth grow best? ›

Amaranth plants grow well in average to rich, well-draining soil with equal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Like many vegetable crops, they need at least five hours of sunlight a day to do well. While they grows best in moist but well drained soil, they will tolerate somewhat dry soil too.

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