Carmine gomphrena can give a dazzling appearance
when mass planted.
Rio Grande globe amaranth should be coming to a garden
center near you, thanks to a new series called Qis
Gomphrena. It is tough-as-nails, beautiful and attracts
butterflies and pollinators.
would think that a common name like Rio Grande globe
amaranth and even flashy named varieties like Strawberry
Fields would make it a staple at the garden center but
this simply hasnít been the case. The Qis series will
be different in that greenhouse producers will find it
easy to grow, so that will give gardeners everywhere a
chance to try it in the landscape.
species known botanically as Gomphrena haageana has
great bones as it is native to Texas and New Mexico. The
Qis series will come in the traditional red, carmine,
orange, purple and a mix with more colors surely on the
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we are growing the
Qis Carmine, and I am beyond thrilled. The plants reach
around 24 to 36 inches in height with a 12- to 15-inch
spread and just keep blooming.
you find yours, select a site in full sun with fertile,
well-drained soil. I have seen many fine gomphrenas in
part sun, but blooms are more prolific in full sun.
Those blooms will also bring in butterflies.
working soil, incorporate 2 pounds of fertilizer per 100
square feet of bed space. I like to use a 12-6-6 ratio
when I can easily find it, but a balanced one that
contains a slow-release form of nitrogen will do just
fine. Work in the fertilizer and 3 to 4 inches of
organic matter, tilling 6 to 8 inches deep.
effort put into loosening the soil with organic matter
will pay off when frequent rains make good drainage
mandatory. Once the drier season arrives, established
plants will become drought-tolerant.
seed companies are recommending a 5- to-6 inch spacing,
but I think 8 to 12 might be the best in the Deep South.
Just be sure to plant them at the same depth they are
growing in the container. Add a layer of mulch to
conserve moisture and retard weed growth.
old flowers to keep the plant tidy and to keep those
little, round flowers coming, too. Feed plants about
every six weeks with the same fertilizer used in bed
preparation. In addition to being good in vases, they
are superior dried flowers, and many gardeners use the
little ball-shaped flowers around the home in potpourri
are growing ours in pollinator gardens with lantanas,
mistflowers, milkweeds and a host of other butterfly
magnets. The Qis carmine we are growing seems to be a
favorite of the little skippers, and it seems to be a
preferred perch for hunting dragonflies.
I have seen them grown in the middle of Red Head coleus
for a most distinctive partnership. We have spot planted
ours and have grouped a few others in clusters of three,
but I have seen professionally landscaped beds that were
mass planted, and they are amazing.
Qis should be at a garden center near you along with a
lot of other wonderful gomphrena, such as Pinball, All
Around Purple and Fireworks. They are sure to perform
until now until the first freeze. I hope you give them a