Plant Tips – Love Lies Bleeding/Growing, Harvesting & Crafting

Amaranthus caudatus, Love-Lies-Bleeding, is an old-fashioned flower garden plant once again being offered as seed through catalogs and garden stores. I grow it for its oddball characteristics, long, droopy flower stalks covered with blossoms that range in color from pink to deep crimson. I think the amaranthus is a perfect choice for this week’s Cee’s Oddball Challenge.

My Love-Lies-Bleeding plants have grown to near four foot tall. During the last torrential rainstorm, the largest fell over and kissed the ground; precautionary staking would have been a good idea. I have mixed feelings about staking ornamental garden plants, an ugly support is an awkward eyesore and inevitably robs the plant of its natural flow of growth. I tend to stake a plant after-the-fact of leaning or falling over.

My husband remarked that the flower stalks reminded him of hair. I agreed and told him I would cut a few and use them to make an Autumn display. I am planning ahead even now on how I can create a pumpkin/gourd person or scarecrow and use these flowers as the hair. What fun!

I cut the blossoms from the plant that fell and hung them in a dark closet to dry. I laid the stem against the clothes rack in the same way the plant curved outdoors. This will give me dried locks of hair with a more natural spread, rather than if I hung them straight and upside-down.

One drawback I’ve found is the leaves are attractive to insects as food. What a surprise to learn as I wrote this post that most varieties of Amaranthus are edible for humans too. I’m afraid the insects haven’t left me many unscathed leaves to sample in recipes.

No worries…I pressed the lacy leaves between book pages. In artwork, they make terrific stencils for a random pattern, something I find hard to accomplish…I tend to be rather orderly and that’s a no-no in creative art.

Growing amaranthus is easy, they can be started early indoors, or sown directly in the soil after the danger of frost. My current crop was direct-sown and seems hardier than those I’ve sown indoors. At the end of summer, I will collect the seeds (there will be hundreds) and set some aside to dry and package up for next year. I will also give them a season of chilling in the refrigerator. In late October, early November, I will sprinkle some of the seeds directly into the garden beds and hope for volunteers next year. I’m really pleased with this flower in my garden. If you have a chance and the room give it a try.

Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus)
Height 3 – 4 feet (in my NJ garden)
My plants get about 6-8 hours of full sun every day. No special care needed. I don’t use non-organic pesticides so I put up with the lacework of insects on my leaves.
Here’s a terrific article on growing amaranthus: The Spruce-Growing an Edible Armaranth Harvest.

14 thoughts on “Plant Tips – Love Lies Bleeding/Growing, Harvesting & Crafting

  1. Hi Kathy
    I didn’t think Amaranthus grew in the US. Thanks for sharing this.
    Amaranthus leaves are used like spinach as they are full of iron, in curries with lentils or even by themselves as a dry vegetable accompaniment to pita bread.
    Amaranthus seeds collected from the dryad’s hair – little black seeds- are a health food. If you could find a white paper and shake these long hair like structures on the paper, you will find these seeds. They are low calorie and add a crunch to many dishes and can be used to make sweets too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Timelesslady

      Thanks Susie. I have a sheet of computer paper underneath the amarathus hanging in the closet. If you shake it ever so gently the seeds drop straight down onto the paper. didn’t think to use them for crunchiness though…didn’t really know you could eat the seeds too. Thanks so much! Kathy

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Timelesslady

      It’s very tall. The plant’s fronds are going to make great decorations in an Autumn arrangement in the front garden. I’m saving all of them.


    1. Timelesslady

      What a terrific idea. I will definitely try that tip…I have hair spray in the bathroom cabinet that I use every so often…but it lays around for years…this will put is to good use.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Timelesslady

          I think you’ll like it. There are many varieties too. For several years I grew a different type that was just a big spike. It was a gorgeous color. I think I like this one better just because it is so different from other garden plants. It’s very tall now, and great for the back of a border. I find it amazing something that looks like this is also edible.

          Liked by 1 person

Thanks so much for your comments. They fill my life with sunshine.

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