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AMARANTHUS tricolor

Image of Amaranthus tricolor

James H. Schutte

Family

Amaranthaceae

Botanical Name

AMARANTHUS tricolor

Plant Common Name

Joseph's Coat

General Description

Grown in flower gardens for its dazzling plumage, this large annual is an important leaf vegetable in tropical Asia, where it is native.

This fast-growing, heat-loving plant bears large, elliptic or oval leaves that are often brilliantly hued when young, forming colorful ruffs atop tall, erect stems. The new leaves may be yellow, red, purple, bronze, ivory, or combinations thereof. The leaves gradually age to medium or dark green. In tropical Asia, where this plant is grown for the flavor rather than color, most cultivated forms have all-green foliage. All forms of Joseph's coat bear insignificant clusters of green or reddish flowers at the stem tips and in the leaf axils in summer. Small capsules containing a single brown or black seed follow the flowers. Plants sometimes self-sow.

Joseph's coat performs best in sun and well-drained soil. It is best sown in place after the soil warms, but can also be started earlier in a warm greenhouse. Mature plants are drought tolerant but grow and flower better if watered during dry spells. This annual thrives in subtropical and tropical regions. Its jaunty leaves lend a bright tropical look to containers and borders. They also make a colorful garnish for salads. Many cultivars have been selected for leaf color and growth habit.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-60" / 45.7cm - 152.4cm

  • Width

    12"-30" / 30.5cm - 76.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Southern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Red, Green

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Burgundy, Bronze, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Burgundy, Bronze, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Burgundy, Bronze, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes