Grow Annual Gomphrena in Your Flower Garden

Gomphrena, also called globe amaranth, is an easy-care annual that anyone can grow. It also makes a great addition to dried bouquets.

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Benefits of Growing Gomphrena

gomphrena or globe amaranth and monarch butterflyCourtesy Monica Slack
Monarch butterfly feeding on globe amaranth

By now, your mailbox is probably awash in all the latest seed catalogs, 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 annual 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!

gomphrenaCourtesy Richard Shay
Gomphrena planted among the dark foliage of Persian shield

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.

Check out the top 10 annuals that attract hummingbirds.

Gomphrena Care

Gomphrena in the Flower GardenJill Staake
The stiff flower heads look like clover and dry well for arrangements.

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 2 feet in height. Read catalog descriptions and 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.

Need annual flowers for shade? Try disease-resistant Beacon Impatiens.

Gomphrena Companion Plants

Gomphrena in the Flower Garden MixJill Staake
Mix globe amaranth with other colorful annual flowers.

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 them as part of a dried flower arrangement.

Next, check out more butterfly flowers that are easy to grow from seed.

Jill Staake
Jill Staake's lifelong love of nature turned into a career during the years she spent working with native Florida butterflies, caterpillars, and other wildlife at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, Florida. During this time, she helped to maintain 30+ acres of gardens and backwoods, all carefully cultivated to support the more than 20 species of butterflies displayed indoors and out. She now writes for a variety of publications and sites on topics like gardening and birding, among others.