Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The globe amaranths are a great choice for cut flower gardens. These plants are easy to grow, and require very little care.
The gomphrenas are very easy to start from seed. When planting, just barely cover the seeds. They will sprout in about one to two weeks. For best germination, these need a temperature of at least 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the seed mix fairly dry. The seeds should be started early indoors about six weeks before the last expected frost.
In the cutting garden, gomphrenas need full sun and a well drained soil. They’re suited to hot, humid climates. These are grown as annuals.
All of the gomphrenas are suitable as both a cut and dried flower. The globe amaranths have a vase life of about ten days or so. This can vary somewhat depending on the variety being used. The fresh stems are used as filler flowers.
For an everlasting, wait until the blossoms are fully open before harvesting the stems. For cut flowers, they can be cut a little earlier—as soon as the blossoms show color but before they’re fully open. Generally the globe amaranths will start blooming about three months after the seeds are planted. This can vary somewhat from one variety to another.
A number of different globe amaranth varieties are available. Here is information on several of the newer ones.
The Audray Series now has several new colors for 2010. These include Audray Purple Red and Audray Pink. The previous releases in the series included Audray Bicolor Rose.
Gomphrena EZ GRO White is a delightful, long blooming variety. The large, dense, globe-shaped flower heads are pure white. This new globe amaranth begins blooming very early, and continues throughout the season. The stems reach 1˝ feet in height. Give this variety enough room in the cutting garden as it can be two feet wide.
There are several unusual gomphrena varieties. Bicolor Rose was the first ever bicolored one. Its exquisite blooms are rose with white centers. This is nearly two feet tall.
Mor is noted for its deep magenta-purple blooms. This variety has branching stems.
The Q1S Series is widely known. Johnny’s sells seeds of the QIS formula seed mix as well as separate colors.