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A Floridata Plant Profile #705 Gomphrena globosa
Common Names: globe amaranth, gomphrena, bachelor's buttons
Family: Amaranthaceae (amaranth Family)
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Annual   Attracts Butterflies Drought Tolerant Flowers Useful for fresh and/or dried arrangements

globe amaranth
This compact globe amaranth cultivar called 'Buddy' handsomely sports brilliantly colored purple flowerheads.
Description
Globe amaranth is an annual bedding plant that grows 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6- m) tall with a spread of about 1 ft (0.3 m). The branched stems are erect and stiff and the plant has a bushy appearance. The leaves are opposite, oblong, 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long, and wooly-white when young, becoming sparsely white-hairy as they age. Cloverlike flowerheads, 1.5 in (3.8 cm) long, are borne on upright spikes from summer until frost. The individual flowers within the flowerheads are inconspicuous, but the stiff, papery bracts that form the bulk of the structure are colorful and showy and come in shades of white, pink and purple.

globe amaranth
Here's a beautiful bed of butterfly plants featuring the gomphrena hybrid 'Strawberry Fields'.
'Buddy' is smaller, to 9 in (23 cm) high, and has bright intensely purple flowerheads. 'Cissy' also is smaller and has white flowerheads. Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' is a hybrid with bright red flowerheads to 2 in (5 cm) long.

Location
Globe amaranth is native to Panama and Guatemala in Central America.

Culture
Pinch back the tips of young plants to encourage branching. Globe amaranth benefits from mulching in hot, dry weather.
Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Globe amaranth will survive drought, but performs best with regular watering, especially during hot weather.
Hardiness: Globe amaranth is an annual grown as a summer bedding plant. It cannot tolerate frost, but it is quite tolerant of summer heat.
Propagation: Plant globe amaranth seeds in spring after all danger of frost has past. Many gardeners set out 6-8 week old seedlings for a head start on the season. Seeds should be soaked in water for a day or two before planting and will take about a week or two to germinate at 70ºF (21 ºC).

globe amaranth
Use low growing globe amaranth selections at the front of beds and as edging.

Usage
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.

Features
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.

Steve Christman 6/19/00; updated 9/25/03, 3/22/05




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