A family of robust, trouble-free tender annuals, with pretty round flower heads. Providing something a little different from the usual summer bedding.
Family: Amaranthaceae (amaranth family)
Botanical Name: Gomphrena
Common Names: Globe amaranth, bachelor's button, globe flower
Foliage: Light green, simple ovate leaves.
Flowers: Clover-like heads of papery petals, in a range of strong colours.
Flowering Period: July to October.
Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in an east, west or south facing aspect.
Habit: Bushy, upright.
Type: Half-hardy Annual.
Origin: Tropics of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
Hardiness: Half-hardy in the UK. Protect from frost.
Plant in any ordinary well-drained soil in a sunny position. Ideal for the front or middle of a mixed border.
They are usually grown from seed but they can also be purchased as spring bedding plants from certain garden centers and nurseries, although you may need to look around to find them. Do not plant outside until late spring, once all danger of frost has passed in your area.
Long lasting as cut flowers. Also useful as dried flowers. To dry: cut the blooms on a dry day, just as they are fully open and hang in bunches upside down, in a cool airy place.
Water well during dry weather.
Requires very little care and attention once established.
Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.
Generally pest and disease free.
Sow the seeds in trays of moist seed compost, under glass, at a temperature of around 20°C in early spring. Just covering seed with a sprinkling of compost. Prick out when large enough to handle. Prick out, pot on, then harden off before planting out in late spring, once all danger of frost has passed.
A rare find in the garden centre but readily available in seed catalogues. Both single and mixed colour strains are available.
Gomphrena globosa is the basic species, which produces clover-like flowers in shades of orange, yellow, purple, pink and white. Height from 6-24in (15-60cm) or more. Good cultivars include: