The Gomphrena [gom-FREE-nuh] is a genus of flowering plant species commonly known as Globe Amaranth.
These plants belong to the Amaranth plant family Amaranthaceae and consist of around six species and numerous varieties.
Common names include:
… the blooms on the plants are their pride and glory.
They look like tiny, bright firecracker-like explosions, dotting bright green foliage.
The species are endemic to Central America, found in various regions across Brazil, Panama, and Guatemala.
In the United States, it is native to New Mexico and Texas, which accounts for its heat-tolerant abilities.
Gomphrena Globe Amaranth Plant Care
Size & Growth
Under the right growing conditions, you will see spectacular growth in these compact annuals.
They grow up to 12” to 24” inches tall in upright positions.
Besides the long-lasting evergreen flowers, the plant produces narrow, elliptic green leaves, creating a great contrast with the flower heads.
Flowering and Fragrance
The showy flowers of the Bachelor’s Button plants are the reason for its popularity.
They are round-shaped and borne in a variety of colors including white, magenta, pink, lilac, red, and orange.
The globe-like appearance comes from stiff, papery bracts making up the flower head.
Consider them as modified leaves supporting the real flowers, which are inconspicuous and barely visible.
If you want a splash of red, ‘Strawberry Fields variant is your choice and ‘Fireworks is the way to go for hot pink blooms.
For something in the orange shade, Gomphrena Haageana is perfect.
Regardless of which species or variety you choose, the flowers are great for pollinator gardens and landscaping.
Light & Temperature
Position your Makhmali plants in the full sun as they thrive in sunshine.
They are tolerant of partial shade but it too much shade can reduce the blooming and make the growth lanky.
Hence, sunny locations are optimal for a profusion of showy flowers.
These heat-tolerant plants are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 10.
They are great for Northern California gardens and produce flowers by the dozen with proper care.
Watering and Feeding
These drought-tolerant plants thrive in wet and dry conditions.
However, they love a sprinkle to keep the roots moist.
Water when the topsoil feels dry to the touch.
Regular watering is appropriate when you have young plants or are having an extremely dry summer.
One important note: water the plants at ground level and don’t wet the leaves as it may lead to leaf spot.
If you mulch your globe amaranths with compost, there is no need for fertilization as these plants are light feeders.
If you haven’t mulched your plants, do it in the summer.
Spread a thin (approx. 2” inch thick) layer of organic compost.
If the soil quality of your garden or potting mix is very poor, feed the plants with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
Use an NKP ratio of 14-14-14 in the soil when you’re planting seedlings.
Alternatively, use a water-soluble formula every few weeks.
Soil & Transplanting
The Gomphrena genus is not too picky about the soil it grows in but they do their best in well-drained, average soil.
It should have enough moisture retention to keep the roots hydrated throughout the growing season.
When the seedlings you started indoors are long enough to be handled, transplant them to a sunny location in your garden.
Grooming and Maintenance
As the plant’s bloom time arrives, it puts on a great show without requiring deadheading.
However, you probably want to use the blooms as cut flowers, so cut away.
As for pruning the foliage, trimming the growth in early spring encourages bushier exterior spread.
Some plants may require staking to ensure upright growth.
Besides these care requirements, the plants are pretty low-maintenance.
How To Propagate Gomphrena Plants
The plants are propagated with Gomphrena seeds.
It may take the plant up to 8 weeks to flower.
Start the plants in late winter, sowing them in individual pots indoors.
This will result in early season flowering.
If you don’t mind late flowering, start them outdoors once the last frost has passed.
Make sure you sow more seeds than required as germination rates are low for globe amaranth plants.
Gomphrena Plants Pest or Diseases
Bachelor’s button plants are typically free of serious health and disease problems.
There is some susceptibility to mildew, especially in drought-strained and crowded plants.
Improving soil moisture and spacing the plants further may resolve the issue.
If mildew persists, consult your local gardening center or nursery.
Gomphrena Globe Amaranth Plant Uses
The spectacular globular flowers are a great addition to any garden.
Often grown as evergreens, these plants are great in landscaping as they add vivid colors and whimsical beauty.
They look great garden borders, rock gardens, annual flower beds, in containers, and even as an edger.
Plant them in cutting gardens and use the blooms to make flower arrangements for your home.
In Hawaii and Nepal, these flowers are used to make leis as they last longer than other flowers even, retaining their shape and color even after drying.
The roots, flowers, and other parts of the plants are believed to have various medicinal benefits.
Based on this belief, the Gomphrena globosa species is used in Trinidadian herbal medicine practice.