A Guide on Growing and Caring for the Amaranthus Plant at Home, all by Yourself

A Guide on Growing and Caring for the Amaranthus Plant at Home, all by Yourself

Mostly grown for ornamentation

The term Amaranthus or Amaranth refers to a cosmopolitan genus of certain annual or short-living perennial plants. Mostly grown as a decorative flower or as an ornamental plant, the Amaranth plant is also increasingly used for several other uses as well.

The Amaranth plants either grow as herbaceous plants or as shrubs. What makes the plant more interesting is its edibility. It is consumed by a majority of the population as the Amaranths are known to be highly nutritious. The Amaranth is a green crop plant.

Amaranth Flower

Produces beautifully long flowers

The Amaranth flowers are known to be beautifully long. These flowers either grow upright or are trailing as per the variety of the Amaranth. The Amaranth flowers are important as they are the source of the Amaranth grains.

Popular belief attaches the phrase of the unfading flower to Amaranth plants. The Amaranth flowers also find representation in the Garden of Eden as per John Milton’s Christian epic Paradise Lost. Milton also mentions that the Amaranth flowers are said to be removed from heaven as soon as they bloom as they end up shading the fountain of life.

The Many Uses of Amaranthus

Traditionally used in cooking

As mentioned above, the Amaranth plants are not just limited to being grown as decorative plants or just for ornamentation. Here is a look at some of the most common uses of the Amaranth plants by people all over the world.

  • Most of the varieties of the Amaranth plants are known to be quick growers. They are also quite easy to cook.
  • The toasted or powdered Amaranth grains are used as important ingredients in several ritual foods and drinks by different communities.
  • Amaranth seeds are also high in protein content. They are also rich in calcium, dietary minerals, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
  • In several countries, the Amaranth seeds are consumed as a popular snack. They are also consumed with puffed rice or chocolate.
  • The Amaranth grain can be ground and used like any other general flour. They can also be made into oatmeal and even popcorn.
  • Several Amaranth varieties are grown and consumed as leafy vegetables. In some of these, even the stems are edible and thus are cooked.
  • The flowers of the Hopi Red Dye variety are used by several tribal communities as an essential source of red dye.

Growing an Amaranth Plant from Amaranth Seeds

Easy to grow

The Amaranth seeds are more commonly referred to as the Amaranth grains. Around Asia and America, most of the Amaranth plants are grown just for the Amaranth grains. Here is a step-by-step guide on growing Amaranth plants at home from the Amaranth seeds, or the Amaranth grains.

  • You can start by planting around six Amaranth seeds on a Rockwool cube.
  • Make sure that the seeds are at least a few inches apart from each other.
  • Maintain a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage the seeds to germinate within a week.
  • As the Amaranth seeds start germinating, shift them to a spot with exposure to a lot of the bright sunlight.

Once the seedlings are about three inches tall, they are ready to be transplanted into separate planters or containers.

Caring for Amaranth Plants

Easy to care for

As mentioned above, Amaranths are a kind of fast-growing plant. As such, caring for Amaranth plants is not a bone-breaking job. It is quite an effortless task to take care of Amaranth plants and ensure that they experience healthy growth.

Here is a look at some of the basic care requirements of the Amaranth plant that are the key to caring for Amaranth plants.

  • The Ideal Planter:For growing Amaranth plants, an ideal planter is neither too big nor too small as per the current size of the plant. Also, make sure that the planter is deep enough to accumulate the growing roots of the Amaranth plants. Make sure that the planter has enough drainage holes to flush out the excess water that would otherwise pose a serious threat to the plant’s growth.
  • Potting Mix for Amaranths:As other general houseplants, the Amaranth plant too, prefers to grow in some well-draining soil. It is a bonus if the potting mix is rich in organic matter. It is also advisable to add some sand to enhance the draining capability of the soil. Moreover, ensure that the potting mix consists of equal parts of phosphorus and nitrogen.
  • Meeting the Light Needs:The Amaranth plants are a food crop, grown mostly for vegetation. Needless to say, the plant prefers exposure to lots and lots of bright sunlight just like any other food crop. The Amaranth plants love the full sun. Make sure that they are exposed to the bright sunlight for at least 6 hours every day.
  • Watering Amaranth Plants:The Amaranth plants love some moisture in the soil. Having said that, the soil should not be too moist but just damp. Thus, it can be said that the ideal time to water Amaranth plants can be determined by the condition of the soil, watering it as and when the soil starts turning dry. This can amount to once or twice a week in the summer season.
  • Maintaining the Right Temperature:The Amaranth plants grow the best when the range of temperature is well-maintained. Make sure that the temperature is maintained around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius throughout the day, allowing it to drop to fewer degrees during the night hours. Avoid exposing the plant to extremely cold temperatures.
  • Pests and Diseases: Now, this is where we mention one of the most impressive qualities of the Amaranth plants. Yes, the Amaranth plants are quite resistant to pests and diseases of all kinds. The only bother that you might have with the plant is the formation of powdery mildew during warm and humid climates. This can easily be treated by cleaning the plant with some insecticidal soap.

Amaranth Varieties/ Amaranthus Colors

Offers a host of varieties and colours

There are different Amaranth varieties. Some varieties of the plant are used as leafy vegetables, some others are used as pseudocereals while a lot of the others are grown just for decoration or ornamental purposes.

Each of these Amaranth varieties is different, be it in terms of size, colour or texture. The vast availability of Amaranth varieties has made the different Amaranthuscolours a lot popular.

  • AmaranthusCaudatus: The AmaranthusCaudatus is more popularly referred to as the Love-Lies-Bleeding and even as the Tassel Flower. As the name suggests, the AmaranthusCausatus has some petalless, blood-red flowers that bloom in a narrow and tassel-like manner.
  • Chinese Amaranth: The Chinese Amaranth is also popularly referred to as the Amaranth Greens and also as the Chinese Spinach. The Chinese Amaranths are mostly green but are also available in purplish-pink flowers.
  • Globe Amaranth Flowers: The Globe Amaranth plant or the Globe Amaranth flowers are scientifically referred to as the GomphrenaGlobosa. Native to Central America, the round blooms of the Globe Amaranth flowers are known to attract butterflies and many other pollinators.
  • Green Amaranth Plant: Commonly known as Slender Amaranth, the Green Amaranth plant is scientifically referred to as the AmaranthusViridis. The Green Amaranth plant is edible and known to be rich in antioxidants, gallic acid and vanillic acid.
  • Red Amaranth: Scientifically referred to as the AmaranthusCruentus, the Red Amaranth is commonly known by names such as Blood Amaranth, Prince’s Feather and Purple Amaranth. The Red Amaranth is a popular medicinal plant.
  • Tropical Amaranth: The Tropical Amaranth is scientifically referred to as the AmaranthusPolygonoides. Also referred to as Smartweed Amaranth, the Tropical Amaranth can grow just around 35 centimetres tall.
  • Wild Amaranth: The term wild Amaranth is used to refer to the Amaranth plants that grow in a particular habitat, all by themselves, and without any kind of human interference whatsoever. Wild Amaranths are also edible.

Red Amaranth Seeds

The Red Amaranth seeds or the Red Amaranth Spinach seeds are popularly known as the LalChaulai seeds or just the Chaulai seeds. The Red amaranth seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition and are often consumed as pseudocereals.

Black Amaranth Seeds

The Black Amaranth seeds are rich in the quality and quantity of protein. It is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin C. The black Amaranth seeds are beneficial for diabetic people as they are known to stabilize glucose levels in the human body.

FAQS

Why is Amaranth banned in the USA?

Amaranth is banned in the USA. This is because the Food and Drug Administration of USA believes the Amaranth dye to be a suspected carcinogen, an element that can cause cancer in living tissues.

How healthy is Amaranth?

Amaranth is a healthy plant. They are a powerhouse of nutrition and high in protein content. They are also rich in calcium, dietary minerals, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

What are Amaranth seeds (rajgira) called in Telugu?

In Telugu, the Amaranth seeds are known as Tota Kura, ChailakaThota-Kura, Ettamulugoranta, Peddathotakura or Keikera.

What is an amaranth flower?

The Amaranth flowers are known to be beautifully long. These flowers either grow upright or are trailing as per the variety of the Amaranth. The Amaranth flowers are important as they are the source of the Amaranth grains.

What are Amaranth Greens' health benefits?

The Amaranth Greens are healthy as they are a source of carotenoids, proteins and several essential amino acids.

Is AmaranthusViridis edible?

Yes, AmaranthusViridis is certainly edible.

 

 


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