Gomphrena globosa, or Globe Amaranth, is an upright annual native to Central America. The narrow oblong leaves are opposite, 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) long. Leaves at first are wooly white, becoming sparsely white and hairy as they age. Plants will reach 1-2 feet (0.30-0.60 m) tall and about 1 foot (0.30 m) wide. They are one of the old fashioned bedding plants that aren’t used much any more. They are very easy to grow, whether in container or in the landscape. In the landscape, they make a very striking border plant and are very drought tolerant. Since they are annuals, they can be grown in most USDA zones.
Blooming: The clover-like flower heads are borne on stiff upright branches and will bloom from summer to fall. The actual flowers are trumpet-shaped and very small. On close inspection, they can be seen amidst the colorful bracts. Flower bracts come in pink, purple and white. These colorful heads can be collected and dried for use in dried flower arrangements.
Culture: Gomphrena globosa need full sun to partial shade. They are not fussy about soil type and will even grow in very poor soils. In containers we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand. Even though they are very drought tolerant plants in container, they do best with regular watering and fertilizer application. We fertilize our plants once a month during the flowering season. Once plant flowering has ceased in the greenhouse, we stop all watering and collect seed for the next generation.
Propagation: Gomphrena globosa is very easy to grow from seed. Seed should be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing. Seed will germinate in 7-14 days from sowing.
Gomphrena globosa was featured as Plant of the Week February 6-12, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.