Amaranthus tricolor. Callaloo Amaranth seeds are grown all over the Caribbean to cultivate baby leaves for the dish known as Callaloo. There are many regional variations to this dish of cooked greens, some with spicy peppers added, some with meat or fish. Callaloo Amaranth makes excellent micro-greens, but we grow them to the immature size of about 30cm (12") tall, while the leaves are still tender. Left to grow to full maturity, the plants will develop elegant, dangling flower clusters just like our Green Tails. The flowers and seeds are also edible, but may end up in a vase instead.
Matures in 40-60 days. (Open-pollinated seeds)
Whether growing amaranth from seed for its nutritious leaves or its high-protein, gluten-free seeds, it is easy to grow in warm soil with lots of sunlight. Amaranth is closely related to quinoa, but also beets, Swiss chard, and many other food crops. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Amaranth Seeds Guide and grow edible grains.
Amaranthus sp. (Many species are edible).
We Recommend: Burgundy Grain Amaranth (MU551). This variety has very tasty, nutritious immature leaves, but can also be grown to produce grain – and it is very productive in this respect.
Season: Warm season. Amaranth is very much a summer crop.
Exposure: Full sun. Amaranth needs a nice hot summer for its entire growth period of 40-50 days.
Direct sow in late spring, once night time temperatures are steadily above 10°C (50°F). Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-24°C (65-75°F).
Sow seeds 5mm (¼”) deep in well drained soil in full sun. Seeds should germinate in 4 to 10 days. Thin seedlings to 25-35cm (10-14″) apart in rows 50cm (20″) apart.
Days to Maturity
From direct sowing.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7.5. Keep moist until germinated, and then simply keep the area weeded.
Pick baby or mature greens as needed. Simply cut them with scissors as one would with mescluns. The leaves have an appealing, nutty flavour. If growing for seed, choose A. hypochondriacus and provide ample spacing. Seed will ripen in late summer or early fall. Watch for birds visiting the plants. Rub the flower heads between your hands over a bucket or tray. Doing this into paper yard waste bags works well. If the seeds do not fall easily, leave the plants for one more week and try again.
In optimum conditions at least 70% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 1.5M seeds, per acre: 392M seeds.
Diseases & Pests
Watch for slug/snail damage to young plants. Amaranth is not prone to pest damage.
Plant with corn to shade the soil and retain water. Amaranth attracts beneficial predatory ground beetles.
More on Companion Planting.