Amaranthus tricolour ‘Early Splendour’ is grown for its beautiful foliage, the large bronzy-green leaves turn to rosy red leaves as the season progresses. It gives colour up to two weeks before 'Splendens' or other strains. Incorporating a few bright foliage plants into the garden means that you won’t be been disappointed with borders after spring blooms have faded.
Also known as ‘Summer Poinsettia’ due to the similarity of the bracts, this highly ornamental plant is easy and fast growing. It adds an explosion of colour to the garden and is utterly breathtaking in mass plantings and very useful as a temporary shrub. Ideal for the border but also thrives in containers on a sunny patio.
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.
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 pot size. Transplant to 7cm (3in) pots containing sieved compost. Amaranth is difficult to transplant except when the seedlings are very small so don't leave them too long.
Amaranthus prefers high light levels after germination. Transplant outdoors in late May or early June into moist, well-drained soil, 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart. They should receive sun half the day or more.
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 the centre to encourage side branching. Water regularly and fertilise with a water soluble balanced fertiliser. At then end of the season leave a few plants to die down and self seed, others can be pulled up and composted.
Cottage/Informal Gardens or Flowers Borders and Beds. Container planting.
The leaves of A. tricolour 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 means 'Unfading' and comes from the word a-marainw or amaranton Nicander’s name for the ‘everlasting’ flowers.
The original spelling is amarant; the more common spelling 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 tricolour means 'of three colours.
This plant is called A.gangeticus var. melancholicus in older books, referring to the time-honoured history of this plants medicinal uses in the treatment of choleric disorders
- Additional Information
Packet Size 35mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Family Amaranthaceae Genus Amaranthus Species tricolor Cultivar Early Splendour Synonym A.gangeticus var. melancholicus, Amaranthus gangeticus Common Name Also sold as Amaranthus 'Molten Fire' Flowers Bronze-green turning to rosy-red bracts Height 90-120cm (36-48”) Spread 45cm (18”) Position Full sun for best colour. Soil Fertile. Well-drained/light soil Germination 10 to 14 days at 21*C (70*F)