Love lies bleeding amaranth

Grab a Shovel and a Tarp: Love Lies Bleeding In Your Backyard

November 22, 2018

Who named these plants? Some emo botanist who’d just been romantically trashed? A winged cherub-turned-serial killer? Sure, its long drooping magenta stalks do make love lies bleeding look like they were at the wrong end of a garden fork, or guest-starred in an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, but come on. Nobody wants to think of their garden being the scene of either an emotional crisis or physical assault.

Especially because Amaranthus caudatus is a gorgeous, unusual plant that could have been named something pleasant, like “pinot keeps pouring.”

While the association with blood does jibe well with the red varieties, there are some A. caudatus types with gold or fuschia flowers. That’s why there are several other common names for A. caudatus, including tassel flower, pendant amaranth, and foxtail amaranth. Amaranthus is derived from the Greek word for “unfading,” while caudatus means “tail,” a nod to the long, ropelike, drooping stalks.

History and Origins

Do you remember Floam? If you’re parents, you know what we’re talking about: that colorful, polystyrene bead-infused goo kids play with the same way some of us grew up with Play-Doh. Well, long before styrofoam came along, Aztecs sculpted effigies of the war god Huitzilopochtli, the Hummingbird of the South (and worst war god spirit animal ever) with amaranth grains and honey. At the end of their worship rituals, they’d break up and eat the statues.

Catholic Spanish conquistadors didn’t much approve of this pagan nonsense, burning Aztec amaranth crops and banning any use of the grain. “In a few remote areas, small amounts of amaranth survived,” according to Ancient Grains. “For a while, it was primarily used to make a traditional sweet called alegria.” Amaranth is native to higher altitudes in Mexico, South America, and Central America, with many different species having been in cultivation for at least 6,500 years. That is, of course, until Cortez and his bullies showed up and ruined things.

Still, renegade amaranth aficionados maintained the plant’s role in the Mexican food culture until present day. George Mateljan, nutrition guru and the author of The World’s Healthiest Foods, claims to have “rediscovered” amaranth, introducing it into the United States in the 1970s. (By using the term “rediscovered,” he really meant “culturally appropriated,” but in this case, we’ll let it slide.)

While we know amaranth has been around in the New World for thousands of years, it’s also reportedly native to Africa and India. Convergent evolution? Carried overseas by birds thousands of years ago? Or maybe it’s been around since the Mesozoic area when all the continents were rafted up like boats at Lake Havasu on Spring Break.

Love Lies Bleeding…In Your Kitchen

Amaranthus caudatus is closely related to the production amaranth grain you’ll find in your local natural foods store. There are about 60 species of amaranth, and the leaves and seeds from all are edible. As Plants for a Future advises, nitrates—which are associated with stomach cancer and blue babies (cyanotic, not Smurf) can concentrate in all members of the genus’ leaves and seeds when it’s grown in soil with excessive levels of nitrogen. “It is inadvisable, therefore,” PFAF warns in what we imagine to be a posh English accent, “to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.” They suggest these nitrate hazards are highest in amaranth crops grown with chemical fertilizers.

On the other hand, one study indicates nitrates from orally-administered amaranth extract actually benefit performance athletes. Another study had similar findings based on green leafy vegetables related to amaranth, which are related to brassicas.

So unless you’re burying bodies in your garden or deluging your beds with off-the-shelf synthetic or organic fertilizer, you shouldn’t worry about toxicity. Amaranth and, specifically, love lies bleeding is family and pet safe, and worth experimenting with in the kitchen. It’s similar to quinoa in its preparation and flavor; you’ll need to soak it overnight and thoroughly rinse it to get rid of the saponins and tannins, which cause that bitter, soapy flavor.

Amaranth seeds, which contain complete proteins, are too tiny to be milled into flour, so they’re typically eaten whole. They have a mild, nutty flavor similar to sesame seeds. The cooked leaves are nutrient-dense, high in manganese, potassium, folate, calcium, and vitamins A and C. They’re also a good source of Omega-6 fatty acids.

Sautéing, steaming, or stir-frying the leaves the same as you would spinach, kale, or collards brings out their flavor without compromising nutrition. Eating love lies bleeding or other amaranth species raw isn’t exactly a pleasant experience, and clearly, there’s a question about whether nitrates are all that good for you in unmeasured quantities.

Here are a few recipes to get you acquainted with cooking love lies bleeding and other amaranth varieties:

  • Amaranth Leaves in Coconut Milk: Since we assume you already know how to stir-fry greens, we’ll throw this one at you for fun.
  • Popped amaranth: This is the foundation for a lot of gluten-free yummies.
  • Alegria: Amaranth and honey candy tastes much like sesame crackers. You can substitute popped amaranth if you’d like.
  • Amaranth breakfast porridge: An excellent recipe that explains the basics of cooking with amaranth seeds.

If you’re into urban foraging, you’ll notice pigweed looks a lot like amaranth. That’s because it is! There are several species that are generally grouped under the common name “pigweed” or “green amaranth,” and they have the same nutritional qualities. Cook them up just as you would any other variety.

Love Lies Bleeding…All Over Your Garden

Now that we know you can eat it, play with it, and offend 15th century Catholics with it, it’s time to find out how love lies bleeding will look in your garden. Unlike most other amaranth species, love lies bleeding’s 1-1/2′ flower stalks flop over in cascades of thousands of bright, tiny, non-petaled flowers. It’s a midsummer-blooming plant, with blooms first appearing by mid-July and then winding down early fall. But even as the stalks begin to grow, they show their colors; it’s fun to watch those stalks elongate over time. At any point in the bloom season, they’re a spectacular ornamental.

Amaranthus caudatus’ oval, yellow-green leaves can grow to 6″ long. The plants themselves have an upright growing habit, and they’re best planted in clusters or rows for the best effect. Some miniature varieties do well in containers, particularly hanging baskets. Standard varieties, though, look best as backdrop plants.

Choosing a Spot

As we’ve mentioned, love lies bleeding is a kissing cousin to pigweed…which means it will grow almost anywhere there’s full sun. You will want to grab a shovel and dig in some compost if your soil is too compacted, and to give depleted soil a bit of a boost and better soil retention. A. caudatus has a broad soil tolerance as long as it’s well-drained. Aim for a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Amaranth needs full sun and sun-warmed soil to thrive. Love lies bleeding is drought-resistant once it gets established, but beds and seedlings should remain moist until they get underway. While the plants have been known to go for a month without water, you’ll have the best foliage and flower sprays if you irrigate established plants weekly through the peak summer heat.

Love lies bleeding is grown as a frost-tender annual in zones 4 through 11, doing best in zones 6 and higher. Fall frost helps to ripen the seeds, but it kills the foliage.

  • Plant Height: Up to 6 feet tall; usually 2 to 5 feet.
  • Plant Width: 1.5 to 2.5-foot spread.
  • Pests & Diseases: Aphids, Japanese beetles, snails, slugs. In rare cases, leaf spot, and root rot.
  • Maintenance: Staking may be required for overly tall plants in unsheltered areas.

Love lies bleeding attracts predatory wasps and beetles, butterflies, ladybugs, honeybees, and bumblebees. Hummingbirds might do a fly-by now and again, too…which may explain the Aztec’s association between the plant and the bird. (We’re still chuckling about the whole war god hummingbird thing.)

Growing Love Lies Bleeding from Seed

It takes 40 to 50 days for Amaranthus caudatus to go from sprout to seed, so if you live in short-season zones, you might want to give your plants a jump on the season by starting them indoors. Be sure to keep your seed pots or trays in a sunny window or under lights, as they need sunlight to germinate.

Since members of the amaranth genus readily self-seed, you won’t have much trouble getting them underway. They germinate when the soil is consistently at daytime temperatures of 70°F, and most successful gardeners tend to hold off until two weeks after the first frost before seeding or transplanting outdoors.

  • When to Plant Indoors: 6 to 8 weeks prior to your last spring frost.
  • Seed Depth: Surface sow. Don’t cover the seeds, but gently press them into or scatter them over the soil.
  • Seed Spacing: Plant or thin 18″ apart.
  • Days to Germination: 7 to 10 days at 70°F.

When growing love lies bleeding from seed, plant the seeds in fine, damp, weed-free topsoil. Water with your spray head’s mist setting or a hand or spray bottle to prevent the seeds from drilling below the surface.

Harvesting Love Lies Bleeding

Once your plants have experienced their first hard frost, cut off the stalks and hang them upside-down to finish drying. For just a few stalks, tie them to a dowel across a large, clean bucket (making sure there’s good air circulation). Once they’re dry, beat them against the inside of the bucket, or roll the stalks between your hands to remove the seeds.

If you went overboard and have a good crop of plants, you might want to line a large cardboard box with a tarp or garbage bag to catch and contain the seeds.

You’ll have bits of dried stems and foliage in the mix; try gently shaking the seeds in a casserole dish or tray while blowing them with a hair dryer on a low setting. Too high and you’ll have a mess on your hands. Store the seeds the same as you would with grains.

By the way, fresh love lies bleeding sprays make a good cut flower for up to five days after cutting.

Source Your Amaranthus caudatus Seeds from Seed Needs

Love lies bleeding is a fantastic multi-purpose plant, serving as a grain substitute, garden ornamental, and vegetable. Finding fresh, non-GMO seeds shouldn’t be murder on your wallet, which is why we balance value with the highest quality, most viable seeds possible. Contact us if you want a killer garden this season. We’ll stand by you and our products one hundred percent. We just won’t help you move a body.


Amaranthus Seed

DAYS TO GERMINATION: 7-10 days at 70-75°F (21-24°C).
SOWING: Support may be necessary.
Transplant: Sow 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Barely cover seed. Bottom water or mist to avoid covering seeds with displaced soil. Harden off by growing at 62-65°F (17-18°C) and transplant outside after last frost.
Direct seed: After last frost, sow thinly, barely covering the seed. When seedlings have first true leaves, thin to 12-15″ apart.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: Well-drained soil.
PLANT SPACING: 12-15″. For upright, plume type, thinner and more manageable stems can be achieved using a tighter spacing of 3-6″.
HARVEST: Fresh: Harvest when at least 3/4 of the flowers on the inflorescence are open.
Dried: Harvest when seed has begun to set and flowers feel firm to the touch. To dry, hang nontrailing varieties upside down. Stand trailing varieties upright in a bucket or other tall container to maintain the draped appearance.
USES: Fresh or dried cut flower, back of bed, accent in borders, and containers.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Amaranthus spp.

Learn More About Love Lies Bleeding Care

Growing love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) can provide an unusual, eye catching specimen in garden beds or borders. Drooping panicles of deep red to crimson purple appear as the love lies bleeding flower blooms in summer. The love lies bleeding flower, also called tassel flower, is an interesting way to utilize open space without a perennial commitment.

Tips for Growing Love Lies Bleeding

Love lies bleeding care is minimal after seeds sprout. Until seedlings are actively growing, they should be kept consistently moist. Once established, the love lies bleeding plant is somewhat drought resistant and needs little looking after until seeds develop.

Love lies bleeding plant should be planted in full sun, after the soil has warmed. Gardeners with short growing seasons may want to start seeds indoors or purchase seedlings, as growth and flowering in maturity may take the better part of the season. Love lies bleeding plant can reach 5 feet in height and 2 feet across, adding bushy texture in the landscape. Perennial performance may occur from this plant in areas that do not experience frost.

Cultivars of the Love Lies Bleeding Flower

Foliage of the love lies bleeding plant is an attractive, pale green in many cases. The love lies bleeding Amaranthus cultivar ‘Tricolor’ has striking, multi-colored foliage and is sometimes calls ‘Joseph’s Coat‘. ‘Viridis’ and ‘Green Thumb’ cultivars of the love lies bleeding flower offer green tassels.

Growing love lies bleeding in the landscape attracts butterflies and numerous pollinators. The love lies bleeding flower is long-lasting and has the best color when planted in poor soil.

If there is no spot in the landscape to accommodate this large annual flower, the love lies bleeding flower can be grown in containers and is particularly attractive in hanging baskets. Tassels of the love lies bleeding plant may be used in dried arrangements as well.

The exception to minimal love lies bleeding care is removing seeds before they spill to the ground and create a plethora of love lies bleeding. Amaranthus, of which this plant is a family member, is sometimes said to be invasive and even noxious in some areas. If prolific sprouting occurs next year, weed out the seedlings before they become established.

Love Lies Bleeding

Brightly colored foliage in yellow, red, and orange is the appeal of various ornamental varieties of A. tricolor, hence the common name of “Joseph’s coat.” A. caudatus is known as “love lies bleeding” for its brightly colored ropes of flowers in red, white, or bright green.

Description of love lies bleeding: These tropical foliage and flowering plants, with their bright plumage, vary in different, visually stimulating ways. Because they grow rapidly in hot weather, choose different love lies bleeding for specific needs of color and texture.


How to grow love lies bleeding: Plant in warm soil after all chance of frost has passed and in full sun to develop the most vibrant color. love lies bleeding tolerate poor soil, heat, and drought. However, poor drainage or excessively wet soil may cause root rot.

Propagating love lies bleeding: By seed. Start indoors at 70 degrees Fahrenheit 6 weeks prior to planting out or sow directly in place.

Uses for love lies bleeding: Because of its height, A. tricolor makes a good background plant. The shorter A. caudatus is useful grouped in mid-border. Several plants together will effectively highlight their tassels. They make striking container plants. The flowers may also be cut and dried.

Love lies bleeding related species: Prince’s feather (A. cruentus) has purple or red spikes that will reach 5 feet by season’s end.

Love lies bleeding related varieties: Plants of A. tricolor can grow to 4 feet high and spread 2 feet wide. Varieties include ‘Flaming Fountains,’ with long, willowy, crimson leaves; ‘Joseph’s Coat,’ with yellow, scarlet, and green foliage; and ‘Illumination,’ which adds bronze to the previous colors. Varieties of A. caudatus are shorter, up to 2 or 3 feet high with a 2-foot spread, and include ‘Green Thumb,’ with upright, green spikes, and ‘Love Lies Bleeding,’ with blood-red flowers.

Scientific name for: Amaranthus tricolor, A. caudatus

Want more gardening information? Try:

  • Annual Flowers: Learn more about annuals and their glorious, must-have summer colors.
  • Annuals: Find out how annuals can enhance your garden.
  • Perennial Flowers: Find out more about how to grow and care for perennial flowers, which come in all thinkable shapes, sizes and colors.
  • Gardening: Read our helpful articles and get tips and ideas for your garden.

Sunflower and Love-Lies-Bleeding:
A Study in Spiritual Surrender

by Richard Katz

As the full summer sun began its descent to fall, I prepared two flower essences in the Terra Flora biodynamic gardens. Towering Sunflowers gloried in the late August heat, soon to bow their swollen heads to the Earth. Meanwhile, closer to the ground, stood the red and robust Love-Lies-Bleeding, with cascades of tiny red-magenta blossoms falling toward the Earth.

Both of these plants have been well known in the repertory of FES flower essences for several decades. Yet each time we make an essence or sit with a plant, we try to approach it with “beginner’s mind.” We want to see and experience anew just how the form, color, growth pattern, and other characteristics of the plant express its essential qualities, what we call the “gesture” of the plant (in the tradition of the natural science of Johann v. Goethe).

Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Asteraceae (aka Compositae) Family

What appears to us as a single large blossom is truly a field of flowers. The “composite” flower consists of a central mass of disk florets, surrounded by ray florets, which appear as petals. Within this intricate multiplicity there emerges a lawful singularity, totally symmetrical and geometrical. In its patterns, the rhythms of time are captured in space.

The spring-green center, compact at its origin, grows outward in dual Fibonacci spirals, interweaving as they expand into light. They become yellow buds, then circles of disk florets with points of light, while outer rings of arching stamens send their yellow essence into the world. Surrounding all is the crowning aura of the ray florets, linear and leaf-like, yet brilliant in solar yellow. They encircle the central disk, then curve out with three distinct veins, forming a magnificent circumference. This flowering head of the Sunflower is borne on a sturdy, fibrous stalk in an upright, stately manner, the plants in our garden growing up to 12 feet tall.

Yet, with all its majestic grandeur, the Sunflower is not exempt from the law of gravity. As the disk florets ripen, Sunflower heads bulge with hundreds of seeds, and the top-heavy weight becomes too much for the stalk to bear. In a gesture of surrender, the Sunflower bends with its weight into the bosom of the Earth, bearing its prodigious gift of seeds for the future (and for our bird friends!).

Beholding the signature of the Sunflower helps us understand how it speaks as a flower essence to the human soul. The Sunflower essence is a catalyst for developing one’s personal identity in relation to a larger spiritual Self. It is helpful for those whose sense of self is weakly developed and cannot shine. As well, the Sunflower balances the insecure ego that tries to be too grand or, literally, “aggrandizing.” Sunflower is the picture of the healthy, integrated individuality, with a vertical alignment of soul that is inwardly radiant and self-assured. Yet the realized Sunflower archetype also knows that there is a higher light, a higher collectivity to whom one “bends” in service and sacrifice.

This is a teaching of all great spiritual traditions: One’s strength of self would become only inflated personality unless aligned with a higher spiritual Self. The personal “I” must meet a greater “I am.” While making the Sunflower essence, I was reminded of the poem by Juan Ramón Jiménez, Yo no soy yo (I am not I).

Amaranthus caudatus
Amaranthaceae Family

This impressive species of Amaranthus shares the hardiness of its aggressive cousin, the Pigweed Amaranthus retroflexus. Its sturdy, succulent stems and prolific seeds make this plant a dynamic addition to the garden. The mature plant is characterized by long, pendulous catkins with thousands of tiny red-magenta blossoms. The flowers are tightly packed, each with just a fringe at the top and a few stamens that protrude from their enclosures. Individually the flower seems insignificant, but en masse they form a torrent of red, like waterfalls tumbling in spirals down to the Earth.

The entire gesture of Love-Lies-Bleeding is downward, each plant forming sweeping arches that embrace the Earth. The color of the plant is also effusive, with magenta red impregnating the stems, the seeds, and nearly all of the plant. In fact, a related species, Hopi Dye Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentas), was used by native peoples for its strong penetrating color.

The “bleeding out” of the Amaranthus caudatus relates to its quality as a flower essence. Love-Lies-Bleeding essence has proven to be a powerful balm for those undergoing great physical and psychic pain. When the soul has been stretched to the breaking point, it can enter another dimension of spiritual awareness.

The Love-Lies-Bleeding plant, in its gesture of letting go, reminds us of the healing power of spiritual surrender. Describing Sweet Chestnut essence, Dr. Bach emphasized the surrender of one meeting the “dark night of the soul.” Love-Lies-Bleeding addresses suffering and pain that has penetrated even more deeply into the psyche and body, often approaching the threshold of death. This is a theme in many spiritual traditions, epitomized in the prayer Christ offered in the garden of Gethsemane: “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” By allowing a process of surrender, the soul can experience the reality of a Higher Will working within it.

As I contemplated both of these plants, reaching their peak blossom at the same time in late summer, I was impressed by their perfect companionship in the garden. One could sense that each plant had a message that supported the other in a complimentary manner. The Sunflower and Loves-Lies-Bleeding give us images of the masculine and feminine aspects of surrender. Like the Sunflower, it is necessary to develop a radiant, upright ego structure, but we must then learn to bend, to give the fruit of that spiritual strength to others in a gesture of humility and selflessness. On the other hand, the Love-Lies-Bleeding, with its curving and graceful form, is the picture of feminine surrender. When we surrender the self by allowing suffering to find its way to spiritual transcendence, a greater awareness and strength of the true spiritual Self is anchored in the soul.

Back to the Autumn 2018 Online E-Journal

Amaranth, Love-Lies-Bleeding Seeds – (Amaranthus caudatus)

Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth – Ropes of Beauty

Often seen as an adorable, old-fashioned, cottage garden flower with its long, graceful wine-red ropes of tiny burgundy blossoms, Love Lies Bleeding belongs to an ancient plant family with a dramatic history. Known as “Huaútli” (wow-tlee) in the native Aztec Nahuatl language, amaranth was grown as food, revered in sacred rites, and valued as tribute payments as long as 6,000 – 8,000 years ago.

The word amaranth comes from the Greek amárantos, meaning “unfading” with the Greek word for flower ánthos, forming amaranth, or unfading flower.

Today it is also commonly called pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth, and quilete.

They are easy to grow, adding vibrant, eye-catching color and drama to any garden, and cut bunches of the colorful tassels make riveting decorative vase flowers. Depending on the soil fertility, love lies bleeding can grow from 2 – 8’ tall with multiple 2’ long ropes of flowers, each made up of hundreds of individual tiny flowers. It is very hardy once established, capable of producing a crop of seeds with up to 40 days of no rain. It is drought tolerant once growing and thrives in full sun. Frost helps dry the seeds, preparing them for harvest.

Both the seeds and young leaves are edible and quite tasty. The seeds have a nutty flavor and are toasted like sesame seeds, cooked like oatmeal, popped like popcorn, and ground into flour. Young leaves and stems are used like spinach or stir-fried in Asian countries.


Banned by the Spanish conquistadors and the Catholic church in 1519 because of its use in religious ceremonies. Victorians collected this “exotic” plant, fell in love with the tall, graceful stalks with the striking flowers and made it a popular garden flower. They named it Love Lies Bleeding, giving it a place in the Victorian language of flowers to represent hopeless love.

Grown by Thomas Jefferson as early as 1786. Sometimes called Inca wheat, Amaranthus caudatus was a staple grain for the Incas and Aztecs. Nearly as important in their diets and as widespread in tropical areas of America as was maize (corn).


The cereal-like grain (about the size of a poppy seed) is high in protein, and high in lysine, an amino acid usually deficient in vegetables. In fact, amaranth seeds are extremely nutritious, with more protein than most cereals and a better balance of amino acids for the human diet than any other plant. The species is still cultivated in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, and now in India for its young leaves and seeds.

Growing Tip

Achieves best color in full sun and poor soils.

From the soil to the seed to the food you eat – we’ll help you grow your best garden!

Growing Amaranth As A Food Plant

Don’t expect the cultivated leaf amaranth species to look as stunning as Love Lies Bleeding or some grain amaranths. The leaf amaranth flowers are usually much smaller, and creamy or greenish in colour. You grow those for food only, not for looks.

How to grow Amaranth

Well, there really isn’t much to it. Amaranth seed is very fine. If you grow leaf amaranth you want a large number of plants because you will likely harvest the whole plant while it is still young. There is no point starting it in punnets.

(Unless you only have a few seeds. Then you can start your first plants in pots or something. But do collect enough seeds for the next planting to save that step. See below.)

Thinly sprinkle the seed on the ground and rake it in.

Like all fast growing leafy greens amaranth loves rich soil with steady moisture and a good supply of nutrients, especially nitrogen. But it isn’t as fussed as spinach or silverbeet would be. Amaranth is much hardier. It can cope with heat and dry conditions a lot better than any other leafy green. (One more good reason for this lazy gardener to grow it!)

If you are frustrated with trying to grow tasty, leafy greens in the tropic, amaranth is a plant you should start growing today.

Harvesting, using and cooking amaranth

Photo by Steevo2005

Harvest leaf amaranth whenever you like. Ok, harvest it as early as you like and definitely before it flowers (you can eat the buds though).

The youngest leaves have a milder flavour and are good to use in salads, the mature leaves are better cooked like spinach. Anything you would use spinach for, just use amaranth leaves exactly the same way.

You can use the young stems as well. (Older stems would need peeling and I sure won’t bother with that…)

I usually cut my amaranth when it is between one and two feet tall. I just cut the whole stem, maybe six to ten inches above the ground. The stem will reshoot and I may harvest that again (unless by then the bugs demolished it).

Photo by Post406

I always leave the two or three biggest, healthies amaranth plants in a bed alone and let them go to seed.

Once the flower head has mostly dried up I cut that and shake the seeds out into a paper bag. That gives me thousands of amaranth seeds for the next few plantings. Seeds also drop on the ground as the seed heads ripen and during harvesting.

After shaking out the seeds into the bag I crunch up the left over, dry seed head (which still contains seeds) and spread the remains over some other areas.

And if I’m about to move the mobile chicken pen I throw it in there for the chickens to spread.

As a result there is always amaranth growing here somewhere, even when I don’t get around to planting it properly.

I grow three amaranth varieties. One ornamental variety, two metres tall with massive red flower heads, one leaf amaranth, and weed amaranth :-). And I eat all of them. I eat whatever is closest to the kitchen and ready.

Despite amaranth being one of the precious few grains that is actually feasible for home growing, I don’t grow grain amaranth. I don’t eat grains anyway, plus harvesting and cleaning enough grain to make it worthwhile sounds like a lot of work. I also can’t see myself getting into making my own amaranth flour or popping the seeds for cereal etc.

I can’t give you tips for harvesting and using the grain, but if you have any, please do share them! (Through the contact page.)

Thank you to Nancy and Rosita for doing just that:
Harvesting Amaranth Seeds
Cooking Amaranth Grains

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Return from Amaranth Plants to The Tropical Permaculture Garden

medicinal herbsLove Lies BleedingAmaranthus caudatus

Herb: Love Lies Bleeding

Latin name: Amaranthus caudatus

Synonyms: Amaranthus edulis, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Amaranthus mantegazzianus

Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family, Pigweed Family)

Medicinal use of Love Lies Bleeding:

The plant is astringent, anthelmintic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of stranguary and is applied externally to scrofulous sores.

Description of the plant:




2 m
(6 1/2 foot)


July to

Habitat of the herb:

A weed of cultivated ground.

Edible parts of Love Lies Bleeding:

Leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach or added to soups etc. The mild flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. Seed – cooked. Very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious, individual plants can bear up to 100, 000 seeds. It is eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used in baking. The seed can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated. The seed is very nutritious and contains 13 – 18% of a very high quality protein that is rich in the amino acid lysine. It also contains good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and the vitamin B complex. A red food colouring called “betalaina” is obtained from red cultivars.

Other uses of the herb:

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.

Propagation of Love Lies Bleeding:

Seed – sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination. Cuttings of growing plants root easily.

Cultivation of the herb:

A weed of cultivated ground.

Known hazards of Amaranthus caudatus:

No members of this genus are known to be poisonous, but when grown on nitrogen-rich soils they are known to concentrate nitrates in the leaves. This is especially noticeable on land where chemical fertilizers are used. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers, blue babies and some other health problems. It is inadvisable, therefore, to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.

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