Amaranthaceae, Amaranthus caudatus

Amaranthus Caudatus: A Vibrant and Versatile Ornamental Plant

Overview: Amaranthus caudatus, commonly known as Love-Lies-Bleeding, is a stunning annual or biennial flowering plant that belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. Renowned for its long tassel-like racemes of tiny crimson flowers, this plant adds a touch of drama and elegance to any garden. With its attractive foliage, versatility, and multiple uses, Amaranthus caudatus is a popular choice among gardeners and cultivators alike.

Background: Amaranthus caudatus has a rich history dating back to its native region of South America. Cultivated for both ornamental and culinary purposes, this plant has gained recognition across the globe for its striking appearance and nutritional value. Over time, it has acquired various common names, including Pendant Amaranth, Tassel Flower, Velvet Flower, and Love-Lies-Bleeding.

Family: Amaranthus caudatus belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, which encompasses a diverse range of plants, including nutritious crops like quinoa and spinach. This plant family is known for its resilience and adaptability to different climates and growing conditions.


Amaranthus caudatus stands tall, reaching heights of 3-8 feet (90-240 cm) with a spread of 1-3 feet (30-90 cm). It displays dark green, ovate leaves measuring up to 10 inches (25 cm) in length. The most notable feature of this plant is its unique tassel-like racemes of tiny crimson flowers, which emerge in summer and continue into fall. These eye-catching blossoms provide a vivid contrast against the foliage, creating a visually striking display.

Flowers and Leaves: The tiny flowers of Amaranthus caudatus grow densely on elongated racemes, exuding an exotic charm. Their vibrant crimson hue adds a splash of color to any garden or floral arrangement. Additionally, these flowers possess a high content of betacyanins, enhancing their visual appeal.

The large, bright green ovate leaves of Amaranthus caudatus contribute to its overall attractiveness. With their smooth texture and lush appearance, they provide a beautiful backdrop to the striking flowers, making this plant an excellent choice for the back of borders or as a filler.

Origin and Other Names: Native to South America, Amaranthus caudatus has spread its popularity worldwide. Apart from Love-Lies-Bleeding, it is known by several other names, including Quilete, Cat Tail, Chenile Plant, Floramor, Thrumwort, Tumbleweed, Inca Wheat, Lady’s Riding Whip, Careless, Teasel Flower, and Tassel Flower. These diverse names reflect the plant’s cultural significance and wide-ranging usage across different regions.

Love-Lies-Bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Love Lies Bleeding at Kew Gardens

Growing Amaranthus caudatus:

Cultivating Amaranthus caudatus is a rewarding experience. With proper care and attention, this plant thrives and offers an array of benefits. Here are essential factors to consider when growing Amaranthus caudatus:

Sunlight: Amaranthus caudatus performs best in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, in hot summer climates, it appreciates some afternoon shade to protect it from excessive heat. Select a sheltered location that provides the ideal balance of sun and shade for optimal growth.

Watering: While Amaranthus caudatus is relatively drought-tolerant once established, it benefits from regular watering, particularly during dry periods in summer. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged to ensure healthy growth and prevent dehydration.

Fertilization: Feed your Amaranthus caudatus plant once a month with a balanced fertilizer. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and abundant flowering.

Deadheading: Deadhead the plant regularly by removing faded or spent flowers. This practice encourages new growth and promotes continuous blooming. Simply snip off the old flowers just above a leaf node or branching point.

Pruning: After the flowers have finished blooming, you can cut the plant down to the ground. This helps maintain the plant’s shape and encourages fresh growth. Pruning also prevents self-seeding if you prefer to control the spread of the plant.

Pest and Disease Control: While Amaranthus caudatus is generally disease-free, it can occasionally be susceptible to aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, powdery mildew, and rust. Monitor your plant regularly for any signs of pests or diseases. If detected, treat them with appropriate measures such as insecticidal soap or neem oil for pests and fungicides for diseases. Removing affected leaves promptly can also help prevent the spread of diseases.


If you’re growing Amaranthus caudatus for its edible leaves, harvest them when they are young and tender. The leaves can be cooked or enjoyed raw in salads. Harvesting the leaves regularly will also encourage new leaf growth.

Seed Harvest: The seeds of Amaranthus caudatus can be harvested when they are dry and brown. Cut the seed heads and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area to allow them to dry completely. Once dry, shake the seed heads to release the seeds. These seeds can be cooked like rice or ground into flour for various culinary uses.

Amaranthus caudatus
Foxtail Amaranthus
Amaranthaceae, Amaranthus caudatus
Amaranthus caudatus

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