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Growing Amaranth

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 2:00am

Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

Transcription:

I never thought about growing amaranth on purpose in the garden until today on Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Several years ago, if a gardener told me they had amaranth growing in their landscape, I would have envisioned a weedy mess. My first experience with growing amaranth in the landscape was the variety called summer poinsettia which has foliage colors that actually light up the garden.

Color combinations range from green with creamy white to brilliant burgundy with red orange shades. These plants will reach about two feet or more high. So, expanding my horizons, I’ve learned that amaranth is considered an ancient grain. And the seeds have been harvested through the ages and ground into flour. So it’s fitting that we are now using amaranth as part of the edible landscape.

A unique and striking variety is called Elephant head and is an heirloom brought from Germany in the 1880s. The huge reddish purple heads can take on the appearance resembling its namesake. Hopi red dye amaranth produces the reddest plants. And was traditionally used by the southwestern Hopi Indian Nation. These plants grow to six feet tall and should be staked to make quite a statement in the garden.

A vary pretty amaranth that has good autumnal color is golden giant. The flower heads are a bright golden orange color, and each plant can produce up to one pound of seed. While the older foliage is not edible, it is common to use the younger foliage as colorful microgreens or to use cook like spinach as a great source of vitamins.

I am horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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