Amaranthus paniculatus, commonly known as the Foxtail Amaranthus, is the upright form of Love Lies Bleeding. It is a rather splendid ornamental addition to the garden and the vase.
Oeschberg is an amazing deep purple-red amaranth with dark foliage and crimson flower spikes that are very highly branched and grow 25cm (30in) long. They hold their colour longer than other amaranths, making it great for flower arrangements.
Growing to a height of around 60 to 70cm (24 to 28in) tall it is easily grown in even poor soil and can handle a variety of conditions, both humid and dry.
Suitable for use in the border or in containers, the showy red spikes of flowers make an excellent cut flower and make exciting vase material and keep their colour when dried.
For those, however, with more serious matters to worry about, this is a very productive plant that can produce up to half a pound of nutritious seed to the square metre. This species was in use as a food source as early as 4000 BC. In France the leaves are still used in the same way as spinach, they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain; they can be ground into flour, popped like popcorn or cooked into porridge. Use it to replace up to ¼ of the flour in any bread recipe for a protein-rich enhancement. While it is no longer a staple food, it is still grown and sold as a health food.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
In 2009 Amaranthus paniculatus 'Oeschberg' was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
A key indicator that this variety is worth growing in your garden.
Sowing: Sow in late spring or early summer.
Amaranthus seeds can be either sown early indoors or directly where they are to flower. They are susceptible to frost so be sure to sow only after the last chance of frost has past and the soil has warmed a little.
Amaranthus prefers high light levels after germination and prefer a sunny situation. They will tolerate some shade but should receive sun half the day or more.
Seeds may be started indoors at around 21°C (70°F) 6 to 8 weeks before it is safe to plant outside, Sow into pots or trays filled with finely sifted compost. Lightly cover seed with soil, and make sure the seedlings have plenty of light and protection from cold. Germination is usually around 10 to 14 days.
Seedlings should be ready to transplant in three to four weeks depending on cell size. The plants grow quickly and each cell will need to be potted on fairly soon to prevent premature flowering. Transplant to 7cm (3in) pots containing sieved compost to grow on Transplant outdoors in late May or early June into moist, well-drained soil, 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart.
If sowing directly where they are to flower, prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth. If sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of sand and label. Ensure that any weeds are removed, especially during the early stages of growth. In cooler climates they will grow faster under a cloche or plastic tunnel.
Sow in early summer when soil temperatures are above 21°C (70°F). Sow thinly 1mm (¼ in) deep in rows 30cm (12”) apart. Thin out once they have reached 5cm (3in). The seedlings will appear in rows and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Continue to thin the seedlings out so they are finally 30cm (12”) apart by early summer.
Pinch out the centre stem to encourage side branching. Water regularly and fertilise with a water soluble balanced fertiliser. The plants are surprisingly stable for such an apparently top heavy plant, however if grown in an open, more exposed situation, a bit of support will help you to enjoy this plant right through until autumn.
At the end of the season leave a few plants to die down and self seed, others can be pulled up and composted.
The botanical name of Love-Lies-Bleeding derives from Greek and means 'unfading flower'. This is an accurate description as the flowers are very long lasting cut flowers and they can be easily dried to extend the amount of time that you get to enjoy them.
For fresh flower arrangements, cut amaranths when three quarters of the flowers are open on the stem. They will last 7 to 10 days in a vase. If you want to dry them, harvest when the seed begin to set and the flowers are firm to the touch. Cut and hang upside down for at least 10 days preferably in a warm position. High heat during the drying process allows the flowers to better retain their colour.
Amaranthus grows quickly from seed and well grown plants should produced many flowers that will be full of seeds. Hold a container under the flowers and massage the flower heads to collect the seeds. The seeds will pour out providing you with more than you could possibly use. Store in a cool, dry place until you next require them.
Cottage/Informal Gardens or Flowers Borders and Beds. Container planting, Wildlife and Wildflower gardens.
Amaranthus leaves may be eaten as a salad vegetable. In Africa, it is usually cooked as a leafy vegetable. Some gardeners prune larger plants for their tender leaves and tips. Others prefer to time plantings two weeks apart and pull up the young tender plants to eat.
Amaranthus is a broad genus of about 60 species of short-lived herbs that breed mostly in the temperate and tropical regions. It primarily serves as an annual ornamental, and its leaves and seeds are edible with nutritional properties. Members of the genus Amaranthus share many characteristics and uses with members of the closely related Celosia genus.
The genus name Amaranthus originally comes from the Greek word Auapavboc meaning 'one that does not wither' or 'unfading'. The European translation comes from the word amaranton, Nicander’s name for the ‘everlasting’ flowers.
The original spelling is amarant, the more common spelling of amaranth seems to have come from a folk etymology assuming that the final syllable derives from the Greek word anthos (meaning 'flower'), common in botanical names.
The species name caudatus comes from the Latin cauda'ta (cauda'tum/cauda'tus) meaning 'with a tail', referring to the shape of the inflorescence.
Common names include: Drooping Amaranthus, Prince's Feather, Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate, Purple Amaranth, Foxtail Amaranth, Tassel Amaranth, Tassel Flower, Teasel flower.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 250mg Average Seed Count 400 Seeds Family Amaranthaceae Genus Amaranthus Species paniculatus Cultivar Oeschberg Synonym Amaranthus hybridus subsp. cruentus Common Name Foxtail Amaranthus Other Common Names Prince's Feather, Purple Amaranth Flowers Redish Purple. Natural Flower Time June to October. Height 90 to 100cm (36 to 40in) Spread 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) Position Partial Shade to Full Sun Soil Well-drained/light soil Germination 4 to 10 days at 22*C (70*F)