Amaranthus caudatus – Love-Lies-Bleeding has a broad native range – including India, Africa and Peru. As the name implies it bears dramatic pendent blooms of crimson-red. Both the leaves and seeds are commonly used as a food source in South America and India. It can be used as a cut flower and turns light brown when dried. Grows 2-4′ high by 1-2′ wide. Annual.
Amaranthus cruentus ‘Copperhead’ (syn. ‘Giant Copperhead’) – This Amaranth or Amaranthus was a food staple of the Aztecs, with the seeds being a source of high protein. The foliage is also edible when cooked like spinach or a pot herb. It bears very attractive coppery-coloured flower heads that mature to golden grain clusters. Grows 4-5′ high with ideal conditions. Annual.
Amaranthus tricolor ‘Splendens’ (syn. ‘Splendens Perfecta’) – Joseph’s Coat is a native of South America but can be commonly found in many tropical regions where the leaves are steamed and eaten. As the name implies, it features stunning foliar tones of red, yellow, burgundy and green held in whorled clusters. Drought tolerant. Grows 3-4′ high by 18″ wide. Annual.
Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’ – This is essentially the lime green version of Love-Lies-Bleeding, with pendulous flowers that fade to cream as they age. The plumes may trail up to 24″ long (longer under ideal conditions) and make excellent fillers in cut flower arrangements. As with the red-flowered species, both the leaves and seeds are edible. Grows 3-4′ high by 1-2′ wide. Annual.
Amaranthus hypochondriacus ‘Pygmy Torch’ – The upright 12″ high burgundy-red flower spikes (borne all summer) really catch the eye at a distance and can be used in both fresh and dried arrangements. It readily fits into mixed bedding schemes and is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner. Sow seed after danger of frost has passed. Grows 20-24″ high by 18-24″ wide. Annual.