Video: Gomphrena Types & Tips | from Johnny's Selected Seeds

Plant habit, color palette, and harvesting tips for Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth)

Hi — I'm Joy. I'm here at Johnny's Selected Seeds, in our gomphrena trial. The trial is looking really good this year, so we wanted to show what we have, and also talk about the two different species of gomphrena that we offer. I'm going to start with just a few notes about gomphrena.

In general this is a crop that's really great for fresh cuts and for dried use. Some of the things that are really nice about it is that it has a long harvest window, so if you aren't able to harvest this as soon as it starts blooming, that's fine — you have time. These plants that I'm standing next to have been in the field for almost 4 months now, and you can see that there are still a lot of fresh blooms coming off of them.

For cultural considerations for gomphrena, this is a crop that we do not pinch. It's naturally really densely branching, so we don't pinch. We just let them go in the field, and we also do not provide any additional support, or anything, for the most part. They grow pretty uprightly, and we find that we do not need to give support to them.

The globosa types are what you see here, behind me.

This particular variety is 'Audray White'. These are really dense, vegetative plants, almost like a small shrub here, at this point. You can see there is a lot of vegetative growth.

There are a lot of blooms coming off of here, multiple blooms per stem for a lot of these. The blooms are going to be at different stages of growth or maturity on an individual stalk, too. So that's something that you're going to find, if you're harvesting for fresh or for dried use. You're probably going to come away with blooms that are at different stages of maturity.

This is an example of a few different stages of maturity on one stem. Here you have a very immature bloom. The neck is pretty weak on that, the flower is not fully developed. That is not going to last after you've harvested it.

These two, right here, are at a good harvest stage. You can see a little bit of the the flowers actually opening within the bracts, but they're not fully open. Both of these would be a good harvest stage.

Then this, right here, is an example of one that is past the ideal harvest stage. You can see that some of the bracts have already started to fall off of this bloom, and it's starting to shatter pretty easily. That will just continue to happen once it's harvested.

What we typically do to harvest is strip off the leaves, and then you're usually left with a few blooms at the top of the stem that fall within the range of acceptable maturity for either fresh or for dried use.

Then, this is an example of what a full bunch of 'Audray White' would look like. One of the things that's great about this variety are the long, sturdy clean stems. They do have a tendency to snap at the "knuckles" (nodes), here, so you do have to take a little bit of care when you're harvesting. But overall, this is a really great, uniform variety.

The globosa types in general have a range of colors from white, with a different pink and rose and pastel shades, all the way to a brilliant magenta color that you can see here. This is 'Audray Purple-Red' — much darker and more vibrant. A lot of of good color options. They hold their color well when they're dried, and they have a very vigorous, upright, densely vegetative growth habit.

Now I'm standing in front of our plots of Gomphrena haageana.

This is a different species from Gomphrena globosa, and, hopefully, you can see a little bit of that difference in the plant habit here. It's a less vegetative plant habit, with a little less leaf growth, and also lower growing. These do have a tendency to topple and lean as the season goes on. But they still grow upright enough that you can continue to harvest them well into the season.

This also has a long harvest window, and right here, in this shot, we have the 3 different colors of Gomphrena haageana that we offer:

All really nice rich, dark, saturated colors in the Gomphrena haageana species. That makes one of the differences between these and the Gomphrena globosa — the color range is definitely different: a little bit louder and brighter in this species.

And you may also notice the bloom shape — the flowers tend to be a little more elongate and a little less globe-shaped.

And then, along with the differences in the vegetative growth, you typically only get one bloom on top of each stem for Gomphrena haageana. So it's a little bit easier to harvest a single flower per stem at the maturity that you want with this species.

But the guidelines for harvesting maturity are similar to Gomphrena globosa — you want to harvest when the plants are developed enough so that they aren't floppy and weak, like that, and where they have started to show some of the flowers opening up inside the bracts, but before they get to the stage where they are shattering and losing petals. So that's the same for both species.

Then I wanted to show a comparative example.

This is 'QIS Carmine' — what a bunch looks like — really nice, clean, long stems, compared to a Gomphrena globosa variety: this is 'Audray White' and 'QIS Carmine'. Again, you can see some of the differences in growth habit, what the differences look like between the bunches.

Both are excellent options for dried or fresh cuts.

View all our Gomphrena varieties…