Amaranthus caudatus or amaranth is an annual herbaceous, native to South America; to the genus amaranthus belong many species, originating from America, Africa and Asia, some of which are edible and were grown for food. Amaranth, also known as a cat's tail, has an erect habit and very branched stems, which reach 90-100 cm in height; the large leaves, oval or lanceolate, are dark green, opaque, in some varieties they have a reddish or purple color; throughout the summer, until the first autumn colds, it produces particular elongated, pendulous, feathery, red, orange or yellow inflorescences, containing many small dark seeds. These plants can be grown in the garden, as borders, but they are also very suitable to be placed in a container, to better enjoy the pendulous aspect of the inflorescences. The inflorescences of amaranth are used as cut flowers and even dried.
Regarding the ideal place for the cultivation of Amaranthus caudatus, commonly called amaranth, it is advisable to place the specimens of this variety in a sunny position, possibly sheltered from strong winds, which could damage the thin stems and the inflorescences of the plants of cat's tail. This variety is grown as an annual due to the low resistance to the harsh climates that make them unsuitable for outdoor cultivation where the winter climate has low temperatures.
These small shrubs, also known as cat's tail, can withstand short periods of drought, but it is good to water them quite regularly, leaving the soil to dry well between one watering and another. It is important to check that the soil does not allow the formation of water stagnation, because the amaranth plants are very sensitive to their presence and can be irreparably damaged.
In the spring months provide some fertilizer for flowering plants every 15-2 days, mixed with the irrigating water.
The specimens belonging to this original variety prefer loose and very well drained, dry and sandy soils. Place the ground after having worked the soil well, to which it is good to add balanced soil, sand and draining material with coarse grain size, such as pumice stone or lapillus. Water stagnations are very harmful to cat's tail plants and it is good to check that the soil guarantees proper drainage.
The amaranths have a fairly vigorous development, so if you decide to put them in pots, it is good to choose containers that are quite large.
The multiplication of the specimens of Amaranthus caudatus occurs by seed: sow in February-March in seedbeds, which must be kept in a protected place until germination has taken place in order to prevent lower temperatures from compromising their development; in April-May it is possible to plant amaranth directly in the ground, in full ground or in a container.
Cat's tail, Amaranth - Amaranthus caudatus: Pests and diseases
Generally plants of this kind are not affected by pests and diseases, being rather resistant. For greater safety, it is possible to intervene before flowering with the use of broad-spectrum insecticides that will allow greater protection.