Amaranthus Caudatus Annual. Easily grown in moist, average, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowering in full sun, but appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date or purchase starter plants. When grown from seed, flowers usually don’t appear until approximately 3 months after sowing. Set out plants after last frost date. Space smaller varieties 8-12” apart and larger varieties to 18” apart. Seed may be harvested from garden plants for planting the following year.
Amaranthus caudatus commonly called love-lies-bleeding or tassel flower, gets its unusual common name from its tiny blood red petalless flowers that bloom in narrow, drooping, tassel-like, terminal and axillary panicles throughout the growing season. Panicles typically hang straight down to 12” (infrequently to 24”) long. Native to India, Africa and Peru, this is an annual that usually grows 2-4’ tall in the St. Louis area. Cultivars with yellow-green flowers are also available. Oval, light green leaves (to 6” long). The seeds of this species are edible, and species plants are grown as a grain crop in some parts of South America. This plant is an everlasting whose flowers retain good color when dried for arrangements.
Genus name comes from the Greek word amarantos meaning unfading in reference to the long-lasting flowers of some species.
Specific epithet means having a tail in reference to appearance of the flowers.