The common name Edible Amaranth indicates that Amaranthus tricolor is edible. In central Europe, it is often used as an ornamental plant. However, its leaves can also be steamed and prepared like spinach, to which it is related. As well as to Beta vulgaris, which includes chard, sugar beet, and beetroot. Another related plant is the popular “superfood” Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa).
There are many varieties of Amaranthus tricolor available, which differ in the shape and color of their leaves. The origin of the wild form is unclear, but according to this source, Edible Amaranth could originate from tropical Asia.
It is an annual plant that dies with the first frost. Depending on the location and variety, it can grow up to 1.5 meters high.
Location: The Edible Amaranth does best in sunny locations, where its leaves can develop intense colors. However, it also tolerates partial shade.
Soil or ubstrate: The soil should be humus-rich to sandy-loamy and evenly moist. For cultivation in pots or containers, peat-free mixes for herbs or vegetables can be used.
Fertilization: If fresh soil is used for pot culture, no additional fertilization is required. Commercial substrates are pre-fertilized.
In the bed, Amaranthus tricolor can receive organic vegetable fertilizer. Compost soil is also suitable.
Winter hardiness: The Edible Amaranth is not hardy and will freeze with the first light frost.
How to grow Edible Amaranth from Seeds
Growing Amaranthus tricolor from seed is not difficult. The germination period is about ten days at 18 to 25°C.
Direct sowing in the bed can be done from mid-May. Sowing in pots can be started indoors from April.
The seeds should only be covered with a thin layer of soil.
Until all the seeds have sprouted, it is helpful to cover the pot with a freezer bag.
The location should be bright to sunny.