Gomphrena: globe amaranth
Height 15-60cm (6-24in)
Planting distance 15-23cm (6-9in)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Globe amaranths grow in the wild in India; in Britain they thrive if they are treated as half-hardy annuals and given a sunny position in the garden.
One species and its varieties are generally grown. Botanically known as Gomphrena globosa, it bears clover-likein bright orange, yellow, purple, pink and white, accompanied by hairy, light green leaves. The 30cm (1ft) high stems are upright, and the flowers last well, making them excellent for dried flower arrangements. In the garden use them in bedding schemes.
Single and mixed colour strains are available: ‘Buddy’ is a compact, dwarf form reaching 15cm (6in) high. Its flowers are a vivid deep purple. ‘Full Mix’ is a mixture with orange, purple, pink, red, lavender or white flowers. Also available as single colours. The plants reach 45-60cm (1-½-2ft) high.
Sow the seeds in pots or pans of seed compost in early spring under glass and keep at a temperature of 15-18°C (59-64°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into boxes. Harden off before planting out in late spring when danger of frost has passed.
Plant them in ordinary well-drained garden soil in a sunny position.
For dried flowers, cut the blooms just before they are fully open and hang to dry in bunches upside down in a cool airy place. Gather the blooms in dry weather.
Pests and diseases