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Gomphrena

2 orange Gomphrena flowers on the plant
Orange Gomphrena flowers

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)

Globe amaranth is a cute, tough, versatile flower good for fresh cuts and dried flowers. Plants produce prolifically from summer well into fall. From one plant you’ll get plenty of flowers for your home bouquets plus plenty to dry. And they work beautifully in dried floral wreaths! Plan to plant several colors for a nice spectrum in your bouquets.

Gomphrena flowers and plants

Gomphrena plants range from 1 ½ – 2 ft. tall and wide and produce many strong stems from the base.

The flowers are round, about 1 – 1 ½ inches wide. They form a ball of papery bracts and come in a wide range of colors from white, pale pinks, purple, scarlet, carmine, and lately orange and salmon, too! (So great for wreaths and other dried florals!)

They last very long in the vase, two weeks at least. And they hold their color very well when dried. Their stiff stems make them easy to work with as dried flowers.

Gomphrena is typically sold as an annual, but in mild climate some colors may be perennial. So far, orange is proving to be perennial in my area, which is zone 9b. I do get snow and freezing temps. These come back: in later spring they slowly emerge. I’m testing many newer colors this year. So far ‘Raspberry Cream’ does not perennialize.

The colors that are perennial will die back completely in winter and emerge slowly and late in the spring. So if you can grow it as a perennial be careful that you don’t remove it in spring.

Each Gomphrena plant produces quite a few flowers. If you’re truly growing just for home use and a few dried florals for your home, one or two plants of each color you want will give you plenty. More if you want to give many gifts or sell our crafts.

How to grow Gomphrena

Full sun. Average to good garden soil.

They’re ok with average soil but need good drainage. I like to give them fairly good, amended soil; they seem to produce more flowers. They’re fairly drought tolerant once they’re established, so you can put them with other lower water plants if you like. Plan on one inch of rain or irrigation per week.

Plants are easily started by seed in the spring. They bloom at 85 -100 days after planting out plants, so it’s good to get them started early. Plant them in the ground once soil has warmed, and in full sun.

They’re ok with average soil but need good drainage. I like to give them fairly good, amended soil; they seem to produce more flowers. They’re fairly drought tolerant once they’re established, so you can put them with other lower water plants if you like. Plan on one inch of rain or irrigation per week.

No pruning is necessary, but do harvest or deadhead to keep new flowers coming.

How to harvest the flowers

Flowers can be harvested over a long period of time. Harvest when the buds are open, you’ll see the tiny flowers between a few of the bracts. But don’t wait too long. If you do, the flower keeps growing more bracts and elongates. When this happens the lower bracts fall off easily after cutting. You don’t want that. So harvest them early enough, but you do have a forgiving window of harvest time.

The flowers often have a long enough stem so that you don’t need to remove the lower set of buds. For drying, harvest when buds are open and not elongated. You may bundle and hang them upside down. Or I often simply lay them in a flat basket to dry.

Freshly cut carmine Globe amaranth on long stems laying on a table with clippers nearby
Freshly cut carmine globe amaranth

Favorite varieties

I like all of them. I haven’t tried the bicolor rose yet and I’m not interested. But all the others, I really love. These are pink, purple, white, red (Strawberry Fields), orange, and carmine. This year I’m adding salmon to my mix.

Some sources carry the QIS (Quality in Seed) Series and they are known to be the best for cut flowers and stem quality.

Sources for Gomphrena

Most any seed company that carries flower seeds carries Gomphrena seeds.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds: my go-to source for gomphrena. They offer a good variety and many are the QIS Series.

Flowers to go with Gomphrena

Purple statice flowers with a butterfly on them

Statice

Colorful, easy-to-grow annual flowers that are perfect fresh and for drying.

Bright Rose Strawflower

Strawflowers

These brilliant flowers are perfect for fresh bouquets and dried florals.

Orange safflowers on plant

Safflower

Add bright orange flowers to your bouquets and dried arrangements.

Crested rose-colored celosia flower heads

Celosia

These flowers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Fun for bouquets and dried florals.

Basket of dried white German statice flower stems

Perennial Statice

Choose from several perennial statice flowers for filler for fresh and dried use.

Silvery grey dried wreath with Artemesia foliage, german statice, pink gomphrena, and lavender

Silver King Artemisia

Add silvery foliage to your fresh and dried bouquets and wreaths.

Mixed bouquet with Golden Glow and carmine Gomphrena
Mixed bouquet with Golden Glow and carmine Gomphrena
Dried wreath with pink gomphrena, white statice, dark pink celosia, and greenery.
Dried wreath with pink Gomphrena, white statice, dark pink celosia, hops, and bay leaves.