Gomphrena: characteristics and cultivation from seeds

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Gomphrena (lat. Gomphrena ) is a bright representative of the Amaranth family. Under natural conditions, it grows in the South American tropics. This dicotyledonous flowering plant was first described in Pliny’s Natural History.

In this article, you will get acquainted with the photo and description of gomphrenia of various types and varieties, as well as learn when to plant and how to grow this flower in a flower bed!


This genus includes annual and perennial plants with straight or decumbent stems. Their height is from 15 to 45 cm. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, oval, with entire edges, up to 15 cm long, up to 4-6 cm wide. Young foliage has a light pubescence on the upper part, with time it disappears in some species . The color of the leaf plates can be dark and light green.

Inflorescences – heads of saturated color with a predominance of purple, violet, pink tones. Flowering occurs in early – mid-summer, lasts until frost. The fruit is an achene with flat dark brown seeds inside.

Species and varieties

Globular gomphrena ( Gomphrena globosa ). This species is especially popular among gardeners because of its brightness and beauty. The height of the plant varies from 20 to 40 cm. The leaves are oval, elongated, entire, with a white light pile on the surface, attached to short petioles. Inflorescences – rounded heads with a diameter of 40 mm. They can be of different shades with a predominance of rich pink tones. Flowering begins in the first half of July, ends after the onset of cold weather.


“Bright Border” is a very beautiful variety with a height of 25 – 40 cm, with capitate inflorescences of a rich pink color scheme. Often used to decorate garden paths.

“Buddy” – a dwarf shrub 10 – 15 cm high with white and raspberry inflorescences.

Gomphrena Haage ( Gomphrena haageana ). Relatively new variety with numerous large orange inflorescences. Differs in thermophilicity. In cold summers, it may not form buds.

Gomphrena scattered ( Gomphrena serrata ). It is a wide spread shrub with creeping stems. The leaves are oblong-oval, bright green, fleecy. Inflorescences spherical, yellow-orange. The most popular variety of this species, Pink Pinheads, has piercing pink inflorescences that remain decorative even after drying.

Gomphrena purple. One of the most beautiful types of gomphrena with large purple head inflorescences and rich green foliage. The plant reaches a height of 20 – 30 cm. It grows rapidly in width, which is why it occupies large areas.

Gomphrena strawberry. Exotic variety. Bush with branching shoots reaches 30 – 40 cm in height. The leaves are oval, elongated, dark green, with a smooth surface. Inflorescences globose, bright red.

Planting seeds for seedlings

In the middle latitudes of our country, it is possible to grow gomphrenia only with the help of seedlings, since seeds planted immediately on the site may not sprout. Seed material is prepared for planting seedlings in early March. Before sowing, stratification is carried out for 7 to 10 days.

To do this, the seed is poured into a glass container, poured with warm water. This procedure is repeated over the next two days. On the fourth day, the water is drained, the jar is covered with a lid, put in the refrigerator for the remaining time.

When growing gomphrenes for sowing seeds for seedlings, small pots are taken, filled with a substrate with the addition of sand or vermiculite. After moistening the soil, the seeds are distributed over its surface, slightly pressing with the palm of your hand.

From above, the crops are covered with polyethylene or a glass cover in order to create conditions close to greenhouse ones. They are cleaned on a windowsill well lit by the sun, where diffused light will fall on them.

Direct rays are detrimental to seedlings. The first shoots will appear on the soil surface in 3-4 weeks. After that, the film / glass must be removed. Grown plants need to dive into separate pots and continue to care for them in the form of watering.

On the second week after picking, you will need to feed the seedlings with a liquid mineral complex, diluted in a low concentration. When watering young plants, it is important to observe moderation, otherwise their root system will rot.

Planting seedlings in the ground

Planting grown seedlings on the site should be carried out on warm days. The soil should warm up well by this time. The best period for planting is the end of May – the beginning of June. Usually at the indicated time, spring frosts no longer return.

When choosing a place to grow this crop, you need to be guided by its tropical origin. That is, an open sunny area, protected from gusty winds and drafts, is suitable.

The composition of the substrate does not play a special role for gomphrena, but the flower will feel most comfortable on moderately nutritious soils with neutral acidity.

Before planting the seedlings, the site intended for the day is dug up, leveled, holes are made of such depth that the root system fits freely in them in a straightened state. The distance between the bushes should be 30 – 40 cm, as they tend to grow strongly.

Planting is carried out by transshipment of seedlings, taking them out of the pots along with a clod of earth. This will help avoid injury to the roots. After placing the seedlings in the holes, the voids are covered with earth, rammed, watered.


Gomphrena care after planting in open ground is very simple, since this plant is extremely unassuming. When breeding, a minimum of work will be required in order for the culture to bloom and retain its decorative effect. It is enough to perform standard procedures and a flowerbed with gomphrens will delight with its beauty before the onset of frost.

  • Watering. Watering should be moderate, as the flower does not need frequent soil moisture. It is enough to irrigate it as it dries. It should be borne in mind that this crop will more easily endure dry days without watering than excess moisture.
  • Topdressing. Fertilizers should also be applied sparingly, the plant thrives in areas with low nutrient content. On the contrary, an excess of fertilizers, especially nitrogen, will provoke an abundant formation of foliage, and it will not be possible to wait for buds at all.
  • Wintering. When breeding perennial gomphrena in regions with cold winters, you will have to take care of shelter for the cold season. To do this, cut off the shoots, leaving 5 – 10 cm from the surface of the earth, cover with a layer of mulch from dry foliage or straw, cover with dense material and film. Shelter can be removed after the return frost has passed.

Some gardeners dig up a plant for the winter and, together with an earthy clod, place it in a pot for wintering in a room with a temperature of 8 – 14 degrees.

Fight against diseases and pests. In good conditions, gomphrena is rarely exposed to diseases and invasion of harmful insects. The affected bush can be saved if measures are taken in a timely manner.

If the stems have turned black and the leaf blades have lost their elasticity, this indicates a disease such as a black leg. Having discovered the disease, you should stop watering. Wait until the area around the bush dries well, loosen the soil, then sprinkle with wood ash.

Cercosporosis affects the leaves. As a result of this disease, the foliage is deformed. Dark spots form on its surface. If the bush is treated with a fungicide in the early stages of the disease, it can be saved.

Aphids are insects that attack the plant. A sticky coating appears on the stems and leaves. Spraying with soapy water or insecticide will help eliminate the insect.

Application in landscape design

A wide variety of varieties of this culture allows it to be widely used on the site for the preparation of colorful compositions. Low-growing varieties are used to decorate garden paths, borders, planted in the foreground of flower beds.

With their help, they create ridges, decorate empty places in the garden. Due to the ability of gomphrena to grow quickly and occupy large spaces, with its help they hide unsightly territories, add bright colors to nondescript areas.

Tall varieties are used in rockeries, mixborders, planted in places of voids between shrubs and garden trees. Many varieties are suitable for growing in hanging containers and planters. Often this culture is bred on window sills.

Decorative undying dried flower is used to create bouquets. With the onset of autumn, the flowers are cut, tied in bunches of several pieces, hung down with buds in a well-ventilated area. After the flowers dry, they are used to make bouquets.

Gomphrena harmoniously combines with zinnias, English roses, craspedia and many other bright flowers.

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