pretty petals – amaranthus

September 19, 2013

Welcome to week twenty of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week we are checking out amaranthus – they are at their peak right now in all the local gardens!

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Amaranthus, commonly known as amaranth, can be found in both annual and perennial forms. Amaranth derives from the Greek word amarantos, meaning “unfading”, and anthos, the word for flower, developing the word “amaranth.” The foliage of the amaranth plant comes in a variety of colours including purple, red, green and gold – the flower part can be found in shades of red and green. There are approximately 60 species of amaranth available.

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This plant is a useful one for two major industries. The agricultural industry grows amaranth as leaf vegetables and cereals . The flower industry values the amaranth for its exotic flower mass.

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At Living Fresh, we enjoy every opportunity to use this spectacular flower because it can play different roles in a vast variety of design styles. The hanging amaranthus is a perfect element in the creation of a cascade and/or waterfall styled piece – whether the design is an uber contemporary one or a gardeny style, this flower accommodates both fashions. The upright plants provide a wonderful linear element for all floral styles. Amaranth is also synonymous with texture. While its leaves are smooth and colourful, the flower masses are the leaves fuzzy counterpart. Amaranthus is a joy to work with – we anticipate its local growing season every year. Amaranthus is also available to flower shops during the cold months here in Canada, but it is imported from Holland or South America and has a hefty price tag attached.

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Amaranth flowers have a remarkable vase life because the flower will dry, remaining almost exactly the same as when they were fresh, with only slight colour fading. The leaves, on the other hand, tend to wilt much more quickly.

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Take a moment to walk through your neighbourhood and enjoy these 3 to 8 foot plants! Perhaps consider growing them next summer. In the meantime, call your local florist and order some to enjoy inside!