Gomphrena- Globe Amaranth: How to grow & Care Guide


Gomphrena is a very hard, drought-resistant flowering plant. It is a popular summer plant that goes great with other ground covers like portulaca, moss rose and purslane. It is one of the easiest plants to grow in summer. You can grow gomphrena even if your garden is not fit to grow anything.

Gomphrena is also known as amaranth due to its family Amaranthaceae. It is mostly grown for its beautiful colors. You can easily find flowers of gomphrena in Red, white, brown, purple, pink, yellow and lilac color. It is considered one of the best cut flowers. You can make garlands or keep them in a vase, I can assure that each flower will remain fresh even for months after being cut-off.

Read our previous post: Portulaca (Moss rose) – How to Grow and Care?

Gomphrena- Globe Amaranth
Gomphrena Globsa- Globe Amaranth.

What is a gomphrena flower?

Gomphrena is a beautiful summer flower. It belongs to the family Amaranthaceae which signifies some of the most hardy and drought-resistant bushes. It is commonly associated with the name ‘Amaranth’ and called ‘Globe Amaranth’ and bachelor button. The name bachelor’s button is very common in the USA since 1700. Gomphrena flowers are small round shaped flowers available in a variety of colors. It is a native plant from Central America including Brazil, Panama, and Guatemala, though it is well known and grown globally.

Gomphrena is very popular due to its small cherry-like flowers that usually covers the whole garden. It is easily identified from distances due to the numbers and bright color. You can easily find 1000’s of flowers in a single gomphrena plant.

Each flower of gomphrena or globe amaranth is not a single flower. Technically it is a bunch of tiny flowers. You can even notice individual bloom in each of these tiny flowers. Every globe contains around 100 individual flowers. Each flower is expected to develop one seed, which you can grow again.

Is gomphrena annual or perennial?

Gomphrena is actually an annual plant. At some places according to its climatic condition, it can act as a perennial plant. There are many species in the family Amaranthaceae and many of them are perennial. So it actually depends on the variety and climatic condition. For example, gomphrena globosa or globe amaranth is annual whereas its taller variety gomphrena haageana is a perennial plant.

Once grown and after getting mature, these plants can bloom for years in your garden. In fact, flowers are also very hardy and drought-resistant. You can keep the cuts for decoration purpose and believe me, it will stay fresh and alike even for month and years.

Is globe amaranth a perennial? –  Gomphrena globosa or globe amaranth is an annual plant variety of gomphrena. It can grow throughout the year. But the best time is always summer when the temperature is high and the soil is perfectly dry. You can have maximum bloom in globe amaranth when the temperature is above 30 degree Celsius.

Gomphrena varieties

Gomphrena globosa, Gomphrena Haageana, Gomphrena Celosioides and Gomphrena Decumbens are four most popular varieties of gomphrena.

Other newer varieties of gomphrena are

  • The bright fuchsia ‘Fireworks’
  • Stoplight red ‘Strawberry Fields’
  • ‘Lavender Lady’

These varieties are a mostly hybrid form of classic gomphrena. These are developed and grown for their bright fierce look. Also, these plants have certain induced characteristics like reduced or increased height, bigger flower size, and more manageable year-round blooming. If you want more flowers with bright color and bigger size then it is always recommended to grow the hybrid varieties of gomphrena.

Common names of gomphrena

It is well known that Gomphrena is a native plant from Central America. Originally it was grown mostly in Brazil, Uruguay, and Hawaii and from Panama to Guatemala. It is currently grown globally and is a very popular summer flowering plant. Other than its beautiful flowers, these plants are very famous for their medicinal qualities. So gomphrena has many names in these areas, the names mostly resemble its characteristics or possible use in native languages. Some of the most common names of globe amaranth are-

  • English: Globe Amaranth
  • Gomphrena globosa: Botanical Name
  • Bachelor’s buttons: English USA especially
  • Hindi: Gul-e-makhmal गुले मख़मल
  • Makhmali: Hindi Indian subcontinent
  • Manipuri: Chengkruk
  • Malayalam: Vadamalli
  • Urdu: गुले मख़मल Gul-e makhmal

Is gomphrena edible? – Gomphrena is an edible plant. At least, the common varieties are known to be eaten in many parts of the world. The Amaranth tea is very popular in some Asian countries, it is assumed to be having special herbal qualities. In fact, the locals claim this tea having revitalizing agents which is good for health, mind, and soul.

In Trinidad, the amaranth flowers are boiled to make a tea which is used for a baby gripe, oliguria, cough, and diabetes. It is one of the oldest herbal medicinal plants used for treating common allergies and viral infections in these areas.

The flowers of Gomphrena globosa are rich in betacyanins. It has a wide range of applications as additives and supplements in the food industry, cosmetics, and livestock feed.

The betacyanins in globe amaranth are well suited to be used as a natural food dye and have a red-violet color. The average stable pH value of betacyanins is between 3 and 7.

Are all Amaranth edible? – The members of family Amaranthaceae are well known for their edible characteristics. Though not all variety of Amaranth or gomphrena is completely edible. Actually, some varieties are even restricted from consumption, especially for humans.  We consider the edible plant as those that can be consumed by humans’ mostly. Technically, most of the varieties of gomphrena can be consumed by animals especially cattle, but are not much digestive for the human gut.

How tall do gomphrena grow?

The average height of gomphrena is about 1.5 – 2 ft. or 18-24 inches. A fully grown globe amaranth can spread up to 12 inches in width attaining a maximum height of 24 inches. Though you can find shorter plants blooming in the flowering season. Sometimes in better soil quality and climatic conditions, these plants can grow up to 30 inches or 60 cm taller covering half a meter area in diameter.

The maximum height of Gomphrena Haageana is a little bit taller than gomphrena globosa. It is a long stem lankier variety of Amaranth plants. Maximum recorded height of Gomphrena Haageana is around 3 ft. or 36-40 inch taller. This variety is not very strong to stand erect always so you will find more widespread than getting higher or taller.

Gomphrena colors

Globe amaranth or gomphrena globosa is available in many beautiful colors. The most popular colors available for gomphrena are-

  • Red
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Brown
  • Orange
  • Lilac

How do you grow gomphrena?

You can grow gomphrena from its seeds as well as from cuttings. Growing amaranth from seeds is the most common way. Commercial farmers always prefer cutting over seeds. Though, there is no significant difference in plant quality grown in either way.

Best Temperature to grow gomphrena

Gomphrena is a summer plant, so the best time to grow it is the summer season. The soil temperature should be around 25 degree Celsius for germinating gomphrena seeds. In general, you should sow the seeds in early spring or just after the last frost for early blooming.

Commercially it is recommended to start germination one or two weeks before the last frost and it should be done in a controlled indoor environment. If you have a greenhouse then you can even grow gomphrena in winter season also.

Preparing Soil for Gomphrena

The quality and texture of the soil are very important to grow any plant. Though gomphrena is a hardy and drought-resistant plant, you should prepare quality soil for growing it.

The best soil for gomphrena is always clean and dry garden soil. The soil should be well-drained, the drainage is very important in case of gomphrena. If you are growing globe amaranth in a pot or container then you should prepare a potting mix with good drainage capacity. You can also follow my soil mix for gomphrena globose.

  • Step1: Take clean garden soil, well-decomposed organic manure or compost, coco peat or perlite and clean coarse sand in respective proportion. 60 % Soil, 25 % compost, 10 % coco peat or perlite and only 5 % sand.
  • Step2: Mix all the component carefully in a bucket or use some newspaper over the ground for this purpose.
  • Step3: Dry the mixture in direct sun for 2-4 days. Special trick- If possible you can roast the mixture in a pan on low flame for 10-15 minutes. This will kill any possible fungal spore. Note: please don’t burn the mixture. This is a commercial method for best growth, so follow the steps carefully.
  • Step4: After 4 to 6 days use the soil mixture to grow or germinate gomphrena seeds.

Gomphrena seeds germination

Always remember not all seeds are fertile enough to germinate and grow a new plant. It is always a tricky job to select the best seed for germination. If purchasing seeds, always check the germination rate written on the package or ask the seller. If using seeds from previous bloom, then choose only the best mature and fully dried flowers for seed collection. You can also check the prices for gomphrena seeds on Amazon.

Before seeds germination, you should prepare the soil mixture discussed above. It is the best tried and tested the mixture for growing healthy gomphrena plants.

Preparing seeds for germination

  • Step1: You can sow the seeds directly in the ground also, but I recommend to grow seedlings before transplanting them to your garden.
  • Step2: For best germination rate use a flat earthen pot with a drainage hole in its base. Every pot should be at least 3 inches deep. Beginners can use ready-made plastic germination trays.
  • Step3: Fill the pots or germination trays with soil mix. Leave ½ cm space from the top.
  • Step4: If the earthen pot has a diameter of 12 inches then you should sow 100-200 seeds in each pot. If you are using a plastic tray, then sow maximum 2-3 seeds in each section. The overall germination rate of gomphrena is low, so more the number of seeds- maximum the number of seedlings will grow.
  • Step5: There is no need to fertilize the seedlings. We have already used compost in the soil mix- it will be enough. Just sprinkle some soil mix over the seed and water it thoroughly. I recommend to use any fungicide with this water only once, it will protect the seeds from fungal attack.

Growing Seedling of gomphrena

Initially, the seedling will grow at a very slow rate. It is natural with every variety of gomphrena. There is nothing to do much at this time.

When your seedlings are of at least 60-70 days, then only take them out and grow in a separate pot or in garden beds.

Mature gomphrena plants are self-sustained and need almost no maintenance. But you should care about the seedlings before they get mature enough to survive in nature.

You should water the seedlings regularly until they grow big enough to stand on their own. Mature plants don’t require much water. In fact, you should water a mature gomphrena only when it actually needs it.

You can use the same composition of soil mix for growing the seedling.

If growing in pots, grow single plants in each pot. The soil should be dry and well-drained for faster growth.

Again there is no need to add additional fertilizer. Though I personally like to add homemade liquid fertilizer to each pot once in a week. This is only to provide additional nutrients, done only for commercial purpose.

Positioning seedlings and gomphrena plant

Once the seedlings grow 3-5 inch tall then only separate them in individual posts.

Each pot should have only one gomphrena plant. It is the best commercial technique to grow a healthier bushy plant.

Seedlings should be positioned in the semi-shaded region for the first few days. After a successful adaptation, you should move the plants in direct sunlight. You should wait for the night temperature to rise above 25 degree Celsius before moving it outside. New leaves and branches are a healthy sign for successful plant adaptation.

Spacing seedlings

When growing in the ground, each plant should be planted at least 10-12 inch or 20-25 cm apart from next one. Every row should be at least 12-15 inch or 25-30 cm apart. You change this length if you want, but I prefer this for best bloom in flowering season. Providing proper gaps between each plant will help them to develop new branches. More branches mean more flowers.

The gap between Each plant: minimum 7” or 20 cm, maximum 12 inches or 30 cm apart.

Between each row: minimum 10” or 25 cm, maximum 15 inches or 36 cm apart.

Gomphrena Globosa propagation

Globe Amaranth or gomphrena is my favorite variety. It is almost 100% maintenance-free and can be grown in any soil condition, even in extreme heat. It can be grown by both means from seeds and from cutting- try both if you like.

We have discussed how to grow gomphrena from seeds. Now we will discuss how to grow and propagate it with cuttings. Meanwhile, you should read How to Grow Marigold from Cuttings-with Images

Steps to grow Gromphrena from cuttings

  • Step1: Take a healthy cutting of at least 3-4 inch length.
  • Step2: Fill a pot with clean sand or use the potting mix discussed above.
  • Step3: Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone. At least cover 1-inch stem properly with good quality rooting powder.
  • Step4: Water the soil or sand properly. The pot should be well-drained and completely clean from any pest and fungus. I recommend you to add a pinch of anti-fungal powder with the water to prevent any infestation.
  • Step5: Make some holes in the wet soil mix with the help of a stick or any used pen. The holes should be at least 1-1.5 inch deep.
  • Step6: Place the cutting carefully in the holes. Press the soil mix to make the cuttings stand firm.
  • Step7: Again water the cuttings of gomphrena thoroughly. Keep watering the cuttings regularly for the next 15-20 days.
  • Step8: when you see the development of new leaves and stems in the cutting, it is the time to propagate the gomphrena cutting to new pots.
  • Step9: Carefully takeout the cuttings from the sand or soil mix. Avoid disturbing the root formation. Place the cutting in water until you repot them in-ground or in the container.
  • Step10: Care the new plants for the next 45 days and you will see 100s of beautiful flower bloom in your new gomphrena plant. Wait for the summer season- good luck and happy gardening.

Does globe amaranth reseed itself?

Yes, globe amaranth reseeds itself throughout its life span. In fact, you will notice new plant growth beside the bigger parent plant occasionally every year. It is very common with the plant in the garden.

This is due to the fact that many flowers get dried in the plant itself. The fully mature flower spread the seeds beneath the plant. These seeds will develop into new seedlings. You can also separate them apart if you want. I recommend you to leave only one or two plants in the ground and propagate others to separate spot or in other pots and containers. You can collect the mature seeds if you want them to grow the next season.

How do you plant amaranth seeds from Globes? – Every globe of an Amaranth or gomphrena contains 100s of tiny individual flowers. Generally, we take the globe as a single flower but actually, it is a bunch of flowers grown together. That’s why each globe of amaranth can have up to 50 or more mature seeds. It is very important to note that not all seeds are mature enough to grow.

Common problems with gomphrena

We have already said that gomphrena is a very hardy and drought-resistant plant. You may think of it as free from problems. Generally, this is true, there is no need to take care of a mature gomphrena plant. Still, I can say that there exist several problems that can affect your gomphrena plants.

Other than pest and insects the main problem with gomphrena is overwatering. Overwatering is the ultimate cause of root rot and yellowing of plant in case of gomphrena. I always recommend to let the soil dry completely before watering the next time. Also, water only a bit that is necessary for the plant. If you see that the soil is getting soggy then place it in direct sunlight. Also changing the soil is a good effort to protect the plant. This is why I personally report gomphrena each year.

Though you need not fertilize gomphrena, lack of nutrient can cause damage to the plant sometimes. To solve this problem you should provide liquid fertilizer to the plants once a month.

Slugs, snails, and caterpillars are the major insect problem for the amaranth plant. You can check for these manually or leave the plants in open for the birds to do your jobs.

Gomphrena pests

The main pest that is known to infect or damage gomphrena is the Aphids. Aphids are the tiny pest that sucks the sap from the stem of a plant. It can be green, black or white in color. Especially the green-colored aphid is very common is gomphrena.

You can spray pesticide over the plant including leaves and flowers. These pesticides are harmful to our health so I recommend you to use organic oil or garlic mix and spray it thoroughly. Also, you can spray mild soap and oil mixture to kill the aphids. At last, if there is no way to control the excessive growth of aphids then cut the infected branches or remove the entire plant if necessary.

How do you take care of gomphrena?

Follow the steps to care your gomphrena plants.

  • Step1: Water regularly and never make the soil soggy. Water the plant only when it is needed and keep the soil dry.
  • Step2: Fertilize the plants once or twice a month with liquid fertilizer. You can use homemade liquid fertilizers for this purpose.
  • Step3: look for pest and insects regularly. Clean the plant to keep it healthy.
  • Step4: Spray quality fungicide and pesticide whenever needed. You should use organic pesticide if possible.
  • Step5: Regularly remove dead flowers and branches. This will keep the plant clean and healthy.
  • Step6: Proper pruning and Deadheading is always required to keep the plant in good conditions. Keep reading to know the step for pruning and deadheading the gomphrena plants.

How to make gomphrena bushy?

We all love bush plants. More branches mean more flowers and more flowers means more beauty. So it is always admired to grow a bushy gomphrena plant. You can easily make gomphrena bushy. Just follow these steps carefully.

  • Step1: Pinch the top of each branch of gomphrena once it gets 6 inches tall. You should only pinch the top portion up to one or two leaves.
  • Step2: Repeat this step once every month for the next 4 month. Pinching the top will promote the plant to develop new branches.
  • Step3: Meanwhile keep watering and fertilizing the plant regularly.
  • Step4: Prune the plant whenever needed. I recommend pruning the plant once in every month.
  • Step5: Remove the plant before drying. This is a very special tip, gomphrena flowers don’t seem to dry usually so remove them after 15 days of blooming. I prefer them this way, you can leave them for a few more days.
  • Step6: Deadhead the gomphrena whenever deep dead patches are noticed. It will definitely encourage new branch growth.

Harvesting gomphrena seeds

You can easily harvest gomphrena seeds anytime throughout the year. The best seed to harvest is that which is dried by itself on the plant. I know it is very hard to wait for 3 to 4 months to get self-dried gomphrena flowers. That’s why I recommend leaving the flowers in the plant that blooms after the first monsoon or rainy season. These flowers will be ready to harvest before the frost. Meanwhile, follow these step to harvest gomphrena.

  • Step1: If harvesting for commercial purpose like for making garlands, then cut the stems of at least 3 inch below the flowers carefully. Gomphrena is an excellent cut flower so, you can place them in the vase for a few months without any need for changing them.
  • Step2: Harvesting gomphrena for seeds needs proper care. Select the flowers that are fully mature and turn pale in color. The faded color indicates the natural drying of globes of amaranth. It should look something light shaded white or gray in color.
  • Step3: After picking dry the flowers again in full sun for 5-7 days. Keep rotating the flowers for drying thoroughly and equally.
  • Step4: Store the seeds in an airtight container with some contact fungicide. The fungicide is used to protect any fungal attack.
  • Step5: Use these seeds for growing new gomphrena plant. The self-life of these seeds is 2 years or 48 months. After that, the seeds lose quality and vitality.

Best gomphrena seeds online

Check the latest price of gomphrena globose, Makhmali, vadamlii in India:

Check the price of Gomphrena globosa world-wide only on Amazon:

How to prune gomphrena

  • Step1: Pruning gomphrena is very easy. Only choose and cut the necessary branches.
  • Step2: choose the branches that seem deformed or makes a dense cluster in a particular spot.
  • Step3: Cut only half or 1-inch portion above the stem.
  • Step4: Remove the branches that don’t look well or are damaged by any means.

How to deadhead gomphrena

  • Step1: Select the dead branches or old mature flowers. Deadheading is simply required to get rid of old branches that are drying. Even the dead flowers don’t look good for the garden.
  • Step2: Cut at least 3 inches from the top or even lower if the branch seems to be dead. It is necessary to remove the dead branch completely. Even the flowers contain 2-3 inch stem below them, so cut them together whenever required.
  • Step3: After deadheading water and fertilize the plant. Care the plant properly to keep it healthy and full of flowers.
  • You should also read – How to deadhead marigolds in summer and winter?

Drying gomphrena

  • Cut the mature flowers.
  • Keep them in direct sun for a few days.
  • Dry the seeds properly.
  • Remove immature seeds. Also, try to remove the underdeveloped flowers. These are of no use.
  • Store the seeds in a proper airtight container.

Why is amaranth banned in the US?

No, it is not. Growing globe Amaranth is not banned in the USA. Actually, Since 1976 Amaranth has been banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a suspected carcinogen.

A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in living tissue. Globe Amaranth was suspected of having carcinogen.

It is only suspected to be harmful to food but practically no harmful indications are recorded or recognized just for growing flowers.

Its use as a food additive is still legal in some countries, notably in the United Kingdom where it is most commonly used to give Glacé cherries their distinctive color.

Though it is banned in the USA, you can easily find its uses in many food items or even baby grips and dietary products.

Globe amaranth tea

Follow the steps to prepare Globe Amaranth Tea by yourself.

  • Step1: Take fresh bloom if possible. The bright purple one is best for the tea.
  • Step2: Wash it thoroughly in clean water.
  • Step3: Boil the flowers for 10-15 minutes at 220 Fahrenheit or at 100 degree Celsius. Without temperature gauge, don’t worry, keep the flame high for 10-15 minutes.
  • Step4: Brew it and filter it in a clean cup.
  • Step5: Add a few drops of lemon juice and two or three mint leaves.
  • Step6: Stir thoroughly and drink it.
  • Step7: Though I don’t like to add sugar to this tea, you can if you like it sweet. Drink it enjoy it.

Try to grow and care gomphrena on your own. Do share your views and opinion with us. If you face any problem then let me know in the comment. I will definitely try to solve the problem. for every beginner, I would suggest starting with classic globosa gomphrena variety. You can purchase a plant from your nearest plant nursery. These are very affordable and low-cost plants. Start with two or three plants for the first time. It is only to increase the chance for success.

Good day and Happy Gardening. Live the Green!

Sukant

Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

One thought on “Gomphrena- Globe Amaranth: How to grow & Care Guide

  1. This was the most informative and extensive article I’ve found on this plant till date. I’ve only recently started growing gomphrena and your knowledge has certainly helped. My plants are doing well. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

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