Gomphrena in the Flower Garden
Gomphrena, also called Globe Amaranth, is an easy-to-grow annual for any flower garden and make a great addition to dried bouquets.
By now, your mailbox is probably awash in all the latest seed catalogs for 2015, and you’re starting to think longingly toward spring. As you flip through those vibrant pages, tempted by all you see, you might overlook Gomphrena, a pretty little annual also known as Globe Amaranth, but it’s definitely worth adding to any flower garden. This easy-care bloom has a secret – it dries beautifully, meaning the Gomphrena you grow in the summer can grace your living room all winter in a dried bouquet!
Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) is native to Brazil, Panama, and Guatemala. It’s a member of the Amaranth (Amaranthaceae) family, which is well-known for its long-lasting blooms. The brightly-colored flower heads, which resemble clover flowers, are actually made up of stiff structures called “bracts”; the flowers themselves are very small and tucked into these colorful heads. Butterflies and other small pollinators are drawn to these tiny flowers.
Plant Globe Amaranth in full sun to part shade and water well until established. Some varieties are very compact, growing only 6 inches tall or so, while others can stretch their stems up to two feet in height. Read catalog descriptions plant tags when purchasing to determine where to place this annual in your garden. Gomphrena is easy to start from seed, and will bloom in about 90 days. Try a nice mix of colors like this offering from Burpee, or the popular ‘Strawberry Fields’, which boasts brilliant red bloom heads and silvery foliage.
Gomphrena mixes well with other annuals in the flower garden. Plant shorter versions with marigolds and celosia, and taller varieties among cosmos and zinnias. Gomphrena retains its beautiful color in dried bouquets too. Snip the stems and hang a bunch upside-down in a cool dry place for a few weeks, then display as part of a dried flower arrangement.
Thinking about starting Gomphrena and other plants from seeds for the first time, and feeling a little apprehensive? Check out these Seed Starting Basics to give you confidence!