July 18, 2010

'Love (finally), Lies Bleeding'

Or is it, Love Lies Green? Whatever, these 'Love Lies Bleeding ( the green form) have reached 7 feet tall in our intense tropical summer weather, and they finally are starting to drop their flower stems which make them so cool. These stylish green tassels belong to a family of plants related to Celosia called Amaranthus, specifically, Amaranthus caudatus. Growing 'Emerald Tassels' isn't easy, for simply buying a six pack at a garden center will rarely reward you with plants like these 7 foot tall giants. But they are easy enough, as long as you follow two rules. One, Plant the seeds yourself, either in your own plastic pots, or better yet, in the ground where they are to be grown. If started in pots indoors ( as these were), carefully remove them when large to their final growing location, for Amaranthus ( and Celosia) detest transplanting, and if they ever experience stress while in a pot ( be it becoming even ever so slightly root bound, or allowed to dry out even once) they will virtually stop growing.
 I really don't know what I did right this time, but I think it might have more to do with the second rule to growing beautiful Amaranthus, and that is to provide a hot, humid summer ( thanks, no problem), and, a constant supply of moisture and rich soil ( which this bed in front of the greenhouse can't help but provide for some reason).
I ordered my seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds, planted them in April, and transplanted them in mid May. I planted this bed with another new cultivar of Amaranth called 'Hot Biscuits', which, is rather boring in it's browness, but it sounded perfectly ugly ( it is)  and I was tempted to try it. Besides, they had me at the name. Sometimes, colors like this can be exciting to try, for happy accidents can happen, and as a color geek, I am always willing to try odd combinations. The green of the 'Love Lies Bleeding' is awesome, the bisquits? No so much. I may yank them out, because they are now 8 feet tall and shading my new tree peonies.
 The cinnamon colored plumes are Amaranthus 'Hot Biscuits', nearly 8 feet tall. Not a great visual pairing with the green Amaranthus, they might be better my themselves, or with sunflowers for a autumn motif. When viewed in July, they just feel too scare-crowy.

The Agapanthus is just starting to bloom, here, a dark blue cultivar begins to unfurl it's flower heads infront of the greenhouse.

3 comments :

  1. Matt, the hanging Amaranthus looks great!, I've had "Hot Biscuits" too, felt the same way, but they ended up working for some cut stuff in the fall...they took too much space for such an unremarkable color-keep cool!

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  2. Wow! I guess the seed source makes a real difference in amaranths- I got the green A. caudatus from Pine Tree Seeds and they are just barely green- more like off-white with a green tinge. Your plants look marvelous!

    Have you grown amaranths before? If not, a word of warning- get those Hot Biscuits out before they drop any seed, or they'll be coming back for years. I'm quite thrilled with my yearly patch of 'Intense Purple' volunteers, myself.

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  3. It must be a "green" year for you in the garden.

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