My Beautiful 'Red Garnet' Amaranth
Some of you have been asking me about the beautiful tall red flowers I grew last summer. This is one of the amaranth varieties I grow in my garden, called Red Garnet.
Last summer, a new plant completely dominated my kitchen garden as well as the new little cottage garden on Oak Hill. And I couldn't be happier about it! The beautiful deep red flowers really added an extra boost and the tall plumes showed up in my companion planting projects in both locations. A few of you have been asking me about this regal-looking plant, so I wanted to write a bit about it for the coming season.
There are several amaranth varieties out there, and this particular one is called Red Garnet. I decided to go for it at Oak Hill Cottage Garden since both the leaves and the flowers are a deep crimson and I thought it would look nice against the many green plants in the beds. Most of the leaves there are green after all. Watch the video below to see more of my lovely amaranth Red Garnet:
Beautiful and useful
You might actually not believe me when I say that the amaranth is a vegetable. But it is! You can eat the leaves just like spinach (you need to cook the larger ones before eating though), and you can use the seeds instead of quinoa. I haven't tried eating the seeds myself. I heard that the process of drying and processing the seeds takes a lot of work. A bit too much work for that amount of food, in my opinion!
The leaves taste alright and look lovely in a salad, with their bright red color. But I actually prefer growing them purely for aesthetic reasons. I have so many delicious leafy greens to choose between in my garden, and I think that both spinach and chard taste better than amaranth.
Amaranth grows upright and develops several tall and sturdy shoots on each plant. They look very neat, at least in the beginning. Then after a while, the plant develops the beautiful red flowers. These flowers can grow quite heavy and the plant starts to droop. So you might want to support them if you can.
Beautiful amaranth bouquets
The amaranth looks really beautiful in the garden, but it works really well in bouquets too. You can use them both fresh and dried, they look lovely!
If you want to grow really large flowers, the best way to go is to just leave the amaranth alone and not cut it at all. If you prefer smaller flowers though, you might want to prune it a few times so that the plant creates new little shoots.
More about amaranth
- sow amaranth in March (I live in zone 3)
- sow indoors
- transplant to individual pots and plant outside when it gets warm outside
- prune the tops to get a bushier plant
- dry some of the flowers and use in a winter bouquet
Many different varieties
There are plenty of lovely amaranth varieties out there. Just like the flowers, the Red Garnet leaves are red too. The color of the leaves is most intense when the plant is small, the leaves turn greener with time. I also have the Red Tails amaranth in the same bed, with green leaves and droopy flowers.
The amaranth comes in many different sizes, shapes and colors. A really fun plant to explore!
I just love amaranths and plan on growing even more of them this year.