Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gomphrena Globosa (Global Amaranth)

Gomphrena globosa
Common Names: globe amaranth, gomphrena, bachelor's buttons
Family: Amaranthaceae (amaranth Family)

Globe amaranth is a tropical annual, originally from Asia, growing up to a height of 24".
Globe amaranth has an erect branched stem with opposite, oblong leaves.
It has flowerheads in the colors, purple, white and pink, which are borne on spikes.
This flower head, one inch a cross, consist of small inconspiciuos individual flowers, however the bracts are colorful. The flower heads can keep there color for several years when gathered.
How to grow
full sun, organically rich, well drained soil, can withstand some drought.
An excellent border plant, but can also be used in dried arrangements and as cut flowers. It also attracts butterflies. Plant in frost free areas. seed propagation.

Gophrenas are used in annual beds and borders. In masses, the round flowerheads produce an interesting texture, and their bright colors last late into the season. Their low stature makes them well suited for edging around taller plantings. Globe amaranth is often grown in containers on the porch or deck. The conelike flowerheads are beautiful in dried arrangements and will hold their shape and color indefinitely. To grow gomphrena for cut flowers or dried arrangements, plant closely together to force longer stems. Cut the stems just as the heads are beginning to open and hang upside down in a warm, dark place to dry.

Gomphrena is an old fashioned bedding plant that just isn't used enough these days. It tolerates poor soils, heat and drought, and was once a favorite in British gardens. It is a true "everlasting" and one of the best flowers you can grow for dried arrangements. As an added bonus, it attracts butterflies.

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