Elena’s Rojo Amaranth


Elena’s Rojo is one of the highlights in my garden each year. This grain-type amaranth originated in Guatemala where it is a staple crop. Nearly being destroyed in the civil war, it’s named after the indigenous farmer responsible for the recovery of the variety. Absolutely stunning plumes, my neighbor said it looked like Celosia on steroids. It truly feels as though you’ve escaped to a different land when surrounded by it. I love it mixed with Golden Giant Amaranth. Leaves and the grain produced in the seed head are edible. Leaves are delicious when eaten young, not so much as they mature. In full sun this variety can grow to be easily 10 ft tall.



A gorgeous edible landscaping plant everyone should have in their garden.

This may be one of the easiest crops you grow. Simply scatter the very small seeds across your soil, water them in, and wait for them to grow. When the seedlings have about 5-6 true leaves, thin them to about 6-9 inches apart. Don’t toss out the plants you pull. Grain Amaranth leaves are delicious, when young, and highly nutritious. Taste them before you toss them out into the garden.

The varieties of amaranth I offer grow very tall in full sun so be sure to plant them where you won’t shade out sun loving plants. Mine grew to about 10 feet tall. Amaranth will grow within the confines of the growing conditions. For instance, in part shade, it will grow and produce a beautiful plume, but it won’t be nearly as tall and the seed head won’t be as large. The featured image on the Elena’s Rojo variety is an example of this. An amaranth grown in full sun can produce a seed head that’s over a foot in height and 6-9 inches wide. Not to mention all the side shoots it will also produce.

Grain Amaranth as you guessed it, is a grain. It can be harvested and used in the kitchen. That being said, it is absolutely stunning in the garden as an ornamental. I often pick some of the smaller ones and side shoots for bouquets throughout the summer. I think the large stocks in the fall would be gorgeous in fall displays.You would need a bucket of water for them to sit in so they don’t wilt.

To harvest, look for the plants to lean under the weight of the seed head. Rub the seed head a bit to see if seeds begin to drop. If so, cut your heads with some of the stock. Place somewhere where they can dry out fully. Preferably they hand dry with something under them to catch any seeds that may fall in the process. Alternatively, I’m going to place each head in a paper grocery sack to see if they dry properly without retaining to much moisture, causing them to mold.

Additional information

Plant or Seed

100 seeds