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Amaranth flowers: Tall and Spiky or  Cascading From Your Arrangement

Bright pink downward pointing flower clusters
Trailing amaranth flower cluster Credit: Manfred Richter from Pixabay

Amaranthus and A. cruentus

Amaranth flowers form tiny seeds that can be used as a grain, its young foliage and stems can be used as a green, raw or cooked, and there are many species of amaranth that are common weeds.

But two varieties have been bred to offer flowers in dramatic shapes and colors.

A. caudatus forms rope-like flower stems that cascade out of a bouquet. They come in bright dark pink, pale pink, soft coral, and pale green.

A. cruentus forms upright clusters usually in a spiky cluster, adding a strong vertical element to a bouquet. These come in dark reds, dark pinks, and pale green.

They’re both big, fast growers that add drama to mid to late summer flower bouquets. They love sun and heat.

And you can eat the seeds and the greens and stems.

Amaranth plants and flowers

Amaranth is an annual that grows 3-6 ft. tall, and sometimes up to 8 ft. 

They grow fast in the heat. If you have way too many plants started, you can harvest the tender young foliage and even the stems for salad greens or a sauté.

There are two forms of flower clusters: trailing and spike. The colors for the trailing types are bright, dark pink, 

There are many, many tiny flowers packed around the flower stem. Their buds and petals are almost indistinguishable, making it hard to tell how open they are.

But you can tell when they’re opening by the pollen dropping from them. So beware, they can get messy with pollen on your table. And soon after, it’s seeds start dropping.

They’re ok for drying. But I don’t like to use them. The seeds in the dried flowers attract mice… I don’t want to bring them into my garage or house.

Mixed bouquet with yellow and orange flowers with spike and pink and green trailing amaranth flowers
Both spike and training amaranth flowers in a mixed late-summer bouquet, which includes: Red spike amaranth, love lies bleeding and emerald tassels trailing amaranth, perennial sunflowers, orange African marigolds, and sweet annie.

How to grow amaranth

Full sun; average to good garden soil, average water. Sow seeds directly into the garden bed or start a little earlier in seed flats or pots. Plant out only after all danger of frost is passed.

60-75 days to maturity.

I have never needed to stake these plants; they grow upright and strong.

How to harvest the flowers

Harvest when about ¾ of the flowers have opened—which can be hard to tell. What I look for is when the flower stems are thick and plump, and after the pollen has dropped out of them but before the seeds are forming. It’s a close call and easy to miss. (Err on the side of later, I think dropping seeds are better than pollen.)

Close up of trailing love-lies-bleeding amaranth flower clusters still on the plant
Trailing love-lies-bleeding amaranth flower clusters still on the plant

Favorite varieties

I like the dark red-pink ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ the best, it has the best formation of the flower clusters along the stem, looking like tassels made of a series of balls.

And for the green trailing type, ‘Viridis’ is my favorite.

The other I like is the ‘Hopi Red Spike’, an upright arrangement that makes a stunning bouquet filler.

Mixed bouquet with green trailing amaranth flowers, with yellow perennial sunflowers, orange African marigolds, and carmine colored alstroemerias, with sweet annie as a filler
Mixed bouquet with green trailing amaranth flowers, with yellow perennial sunflowers, orange African marigolds, and carmine colored alstroemerias, with sweet annie as a filler

Sources for amaranth seeds

Check your local nursery first, because these flowers have become popular enough to be sold in most places. If you can’t find them locally, here are good sources:

Botanical Interests: they have a good assortment of different varieties

Renee’s Seeds: Love lies bleeding and A. tricolor (see more in Special Info below)

Johnny’s Seeds: they have an excellent collection of varieties for cut flowers

Special Info on amaranth flowers

There is a different species of amaranth, A. tricolor, that’s used as an ornamental foliage plant. There are varieties with striking multi-colored foliage. Nice for a summer flower bed (if you don’t have deer).

Flowers that bloom at the same time as amaranth

Yellow flower with many petals

Perennial Sunflower

This perennial flower yields long-stemmed yellow flowers that last very well in the vase.

Full petaled yellow flower

Golden Glow

Tall perennial flower that produces many yellow flowers that last well in the vase.

Yellow sunflower with a dark disk, close-up


Tall sunflowers and tall amaranth are naturals together, and they bloom at the same time.

Bright orange daisy-like flower


Also known as Mexican sunflower, this flower loves the heat and sun, and yields many flowers.

Big round orange marigold

African Marigolds

These marigolds bloom on tall, sturdy stems with bright orange or yellow flowers

Ferny green foliage with tiny ball-shaped flowers dotted throughout

Sweet Annie

Add bright orange flowers to your bouquets and dried And it’s easy to grow.

Burgundy-red spiky amaranth flower cluster on the plant
Hopi Red Spike amaranth… flowering and just about ready for harvesting,