Home Gardening

Outdoor Gardening

Organic Gardening

Modern Gardening

Urban Gardening

Gardening Business

Growing Organic Amaranth In Pots, Backyard At Home

Growing organic Amaranth in pots, backyard

Amaranth is a herbaceous annual belonging to the family Amaranthaceae with green or red leaves and branched flower stalks or heads bearing small seeds, variable in colour from cream to gold and pink to shiny black. Amaranths are a popular group of plants and botanically known as genus ‘Amaranthus’ of Family ‘Amaranthaceae’. Amaranths are mostly erect annual herbs and short-lived perennials. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How long does it take to grow amaranth
  • Is Amaranth easy to grow
  • Can Amaranth be grown in containers
  • How to grow organic Amaranth from seed
  • Organic fertilizers for organic Amaranth
  • How do you plant organic Amaranth
  • Tips for growing organic Amaranth plants
  • Growing Amaranth plant problems

A step by step guide to growing organic Amaranth in pots, backyard

Amaranth mainly used as a high-protein grain or as a leafy vegetable. The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain and the leaves are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A, B and C, but fairly low in carbohydrates. Amaranth plant grows to head-high or taller in an array of gorgeous colours and shapes, and it can provide year-round sustenance. Amaranth plant is hardy, easy to grow green vegetable which is cooked and consumed like spinach. There are several varieties with tender leaves, available in green and red colour. Growing Amaranth in the backyard is fun and interesting and adds a little bit of something different to your vegetable garden. Given the right growing conditions, the Amaranth plant can be easily grown and harvested in almost any backyard garden.

Different varieties of Amaranth for organic growing in pots, backyard

When growing Amaranth plant for food, it is best to select varieties of Amaranth that work well as a food crop. If you want to grow Amaranth as a grain, some Amaranth varieties to consider include;

  • Amaranthus caudatus
  • Amaranthus cruentus
  • Amaranthus hypochondriacus
  • Amaranthus retroflexus

If you want to grow Amaranth plants like leafy greens, some Amaranth varieties best suited to this include;

  • Amaranthus cruentus
  • Amaranthus blitum
  • Amaranthus dubius
  • Amaranthus tricolor
  • Amaranthus viridis

Varieties of edible Amaranth for organic growing in pots, backyard

Varieties of Amaranth plant can range from giants topping 8 feet to smaller 1 to 2-foot plants better suited for leaf harvest only. You will want to cultivate larger plants specifically grown for their seeds if you want the Amaranth grain.

  • Red-leaf Amaranth has especially nutritious foliage that tastes like slightly tangy spinach. ‘Molten Fire’ and ‘Joseph’s Coat’ are popular cultivars of this species.
  • Burgundy has purple leaves, red flowers, and white seeds.
  • Hopi Red Dye is an heirloom species that produces excellent protein-rich black seeds.

Soil requirement for growing organic Amaranth in pots and backyard

Amaranth plant grows best in loam or silty-loam soils with good water-holding capacity, but it can grow on a wide range of soil types and soil moisture levels. Amaranth can tolerate a soil pH level from 4.5 to 8. 

To feed the soil, gardeners should restore the resources their gardens consume, by adding organic matter. That includes adding compost, and possibly growing cover crops called green manure and that are tilled back into the soil. You can use compost as a replenishing additive, to make clay and sandy soils more plant-friendly, or as mulch on top of your garden beds.

Plants grown in average garden soil will be 4-feet to 6-feet tall, while those grown in rich soil or compost may reach over 8 feet. Optimum soil is a well-drained loam but plants will do well in all but poorly aerated clay soils. Compost is the microorganism and nutrient-rich soil formed from the aerobic decomposition of organic matter. The garden itself is the source for many of the ingredients in compost, that including grass clipping, plant waste, and shredded leaves in fall. You can add kitchen waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps and peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, and if you wish, chicken, cow, or horse manure.

Amaranth plants grow well in average to rich and well-draining soil with equal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Like many vegetable crops, they need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day to do well. While they grow best in moist but well-drained soil, they will tolerate somewhat dry soil too. Amaranth seeds are fine, so generally, the seeds are sprinkled over a prepared area after the risk of the last frost has passed. Amaranth seeds can be started indoors as well about 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. Once the Amaranth seeds have sprouted, they must be thinned to about 18 inches apart.

Amaranth grows well in average soils and grows adequately in poor soils. Only dense clay soils are likely to be completely unsuitable for Amaranth. Very rich soils are not necessary for Amaranth, and can even hinder their growth. Sow seeds early in the season and then cover lightly with soil. If you’re direct sowing seed, make sure you do so after the threat of frost has passed and the soil has begun to warm up. Generally, Amaranth germinates well when the soil has reached at least 15°C but is not warmer than 32°C.

Seed sowing method for growing organic Amaranth in pots/backyard

Seeds are sown directly in containers by dusting or broadcasting.

Organic Amaranth growing conditions in the backyard

Amaranth plant in backyard.
Amaranth plant in backyard.
  • Amaranth plant grows well in any average well-drained soil, but it will struggle in dense clay soils. Make sure the location you choose has good drainage and air circulation.
  • To ensure continued production, it’s a good idea to stagger planting every 2 to 3 weeks, beginning a week or two after the last frost date in your region. Though Amaranth plants are tall, they aren’t necessarily wide or bushy. So you can get away with growing those 10 to 18 inches apart. Then, the closer you can get them, the better they look once fully grown. At the same time, they want enough space to provide good air circulation.
  • These are easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants.
  • Amaranth plants can tolerate full sunlight as well as partial sunlight.
  • Amaranth plant does best will full sun in the northern part of its range, but in warm southern climates, it appreciates some shade in the afternoon.
  • Amaranth plants have average needs for water (no more than 1 inch per week). Don’t overwater the plant, or you run the risk of root rot or fungal diseases.
  • Unlike other leafy green vegetables, the Amaranth plant is fairly happy in the heat.

Sowing Amaranth seeds

  • Sow Amaranth seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost
  • Sow thinly and evenly and then cover with fine seed starting formula.
  • Maintain at a temperature around 60F and seedlings emerge in 10-14 days.
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3 to 4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process as they will get too hot. Most plants need a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3 to 4 weeks old using a starter solution. Transplant after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Before planting in the backyard, plants need to be “hardened off”. Then, young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect the plants from wind and hot sun at first. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Growing organic Amaranth in pots

  • Amaranth plant has longer roots, hence needs a deeper container or pot. It should have 6 inches to 1 ft. depth. Then used a cleaned paint bucket for the same. These are sturdy and lightweight.
  • When planting outdoors, sow seeds about 4 inches apart, barely covering them with soil. Seed germination generally takes 7 to 14 days. As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of about 10 to 18 inches.
  • If starting indoors, use a general seed-starting mix and then make sure to harden off the seedlings before transplanting outdoors. Average outdoor temperatures need to reach about 12°C before planting the seedlings outdoors.
  • Amaranth plant produces enormous quantities of tiny seeds that will rampantly self-seed around the parent plant if you don’t carefully harvest the seed heads when they mature.

Process of growing organic Amaranth in backyard

You may also check this: How To Grow Chilli Plants At Home.

Process of growing organic Amaranth in backyard.
Process of growing organic Amaranth in backyard.

Step 1) Amaranth is easy to start from seed and is best grown when direct sowed into the backyard garden. Amaranth plant prefers warm climates and needs full sun. Water them during dry periods, or once or twice a week as needed. You can fertilize once or twice during the growing season.

Step 2) Plant seeds in rich soil at the end of spring. A mix of about 1 part loamy soil, 1 part compost, and 1 part manure is best. Rake the soil into rows, and plant seeds about ¼ inch deep along the row. As the Amaranth seeds begin to germinate, then the rows to one plant per 6 to 18 inches along the rows. Then, thin seedlings by pulling out the weaker and smaller plants.

Step 3) Water the rows until the soil is moist and water every couple of days as soon as the soil is dry to the touch. Amaranth plant is tolerant of dry conditions once it is established. Water your Amaranth container every day in the form of the light shower by using a watering can.

Step 4) Remove any weeds near the Amaranth seedlings. Once the Amaranth plants reach 1 foot in height, they must begin to grow very quickly, shading out weeds and needing less attention.

Step 5) Harvest Amaranth seed after the flowers have bloomed and around 3 months after seed germination. Gently rub the flower heads to see if any of the Amaranth seeds fall away easily. If they do, then the Amaranth seeds are ready to be harvested.

Step 6) Rub the flower heads of Amaranth together over a bucket to harvest the Amaranth seeds. Once the Amaranth seeds have been collected, they can be shaken over a harvesting screen to remove dust and other dry plant debris.

Step 7) Place the Amaranth seeds on a drying tray and leave it outside in the sun or inside near a heater for 24 hours to dry the Amaranth completely before storing the crop. If the Amaranth seeds are not dried completely, then mould can develop on the seeds.

Organic fertilizers and organic mulch for growing Amaranth in pots, and backyard

Before planting Amaranth, amend the soil with a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer. Mulches help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperature levels. For annuals, an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and then improves the soil as it breaks down in time. And, always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.

Organic pests and disease control for growing Amaranth in pots and backyard

Amaranth can fall prey too many of the same pests and diseases that affect other vegetables. Aphids and flea beetles are common; insecticidal soaps are a good remedy for the former, and floating row covers will protect the Amaranth plants from the latter.

Root rot can be a problem in wet, dense soil or in periods where rainfalls are frequent and copious. Once root rot occurs, the Amaranth plant must be removed.

Amaranthus Pests

Amaranthus can be attacked by the following;

Ants – Lemon juice or chilli garlic spray

Leaf eating caterpillar – The control method is hand pick off the plants and dislodge with jet water spray.

Amaranthus Diseases

Leaf spot – Remove the affected plants in the early stages to control the disease.

Root decay – If the soil is too damp and soggy, you will have to stop watering for a couple of days and replace the topsoil. Ensure that the container has ample holes for proper water drainage and moving the container to bright sunlight helps.

When and how to harvest Amaranth

Your organic colorful Amaranth greens are ready for harvest before they start flowering. You can also cut your Amaranth when it is between 1 and 2 feet tall. You must cut the whole stem, maybe 6 to 10 inches above the ground. Then, the stem will re-shoot and can be harvested again. The time from planting to harvest is about 20 to 30 days from seed. Finally, the hard work pays off and you have the colorful and sweet-smelling greens.

Harvesting Amaranth Leaves – The leaves on an Amaranth plant can be used at any time.

Harvesting Amaranth Grains – Pick individual plant leaves as needed for greens. Younger greens are great for salad; older greens are better cooked as a substitute for spinach. The seed will ripen many weeks before the first hard frost, usually after about three months from planting time. 

If you would like to harvest the Amaranth grain, allow the Amaranth plant to go to flower. Flowering Amaranth plants can still have their leaves harvested to eat, but you can find that the flavor changes after the Amaranth plant flowers. Once the flowers have developed, let the Amaranth flowers grow fully and then watch carefully for the first few flowers to start dying back or browning a bit. At this time, cut all of the flowers off the plant and place them in paper bags to dry the rest of the way. Once the Amaranth flowers are dry, the flowers should be threshed either over a cloth or inside a bag to release the Amaranth grains. Use water or wind to separate the Amaranth grains from their chaff.

In case if you are interested in this: Organic Lettuce Farming, Cultivation Practices.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here