How to Plant and Grow Foxtail Amaranth

Also called love-lies-bleeding, this annual plant looks especially pretty in dried flower arrangements.

purple foxtail amaranth in garden with pumpkin

Laurie Black

An easy-to-grow annual with a big garden presence, foxtail amaranth may be tricky to find in garden centers but can be easily grown from seed. It's also known as love-lies-bleeding or tassel flower because of its very showy, ropelike flower stalks that appear around midsummer. The flowers hold their color as the ropes of blooms continue growing until frost, extending 12 inches or more toward the ground. They also make beautiful additions to cut flower arrangements. Use this guide to grow foxtail amaranth in your own garden.

Foxtail Amaranth Overview

Genus Name Amaranthus caudatus
Common Name Foxtail Amaranth
Additional Common Names Love-Lies-Bleeding, Tassel Flower
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width 1 to 3 feet
Flower Color Green, Orange, Pink, Red, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed
Problem Solvers Drought Tolerant

Where to Plant Foxtail Amaranth

Foxtail amaranth is a great planting solution for full-sun locations that need a big splash of color. Use this bold annual to add a focal point to containers and garden beds.

Plants grow 2–8 feet tall and spread 1–3 feet wide, depending on the variety so make sure to your amaranth has plenty of space to expand as the season progresses. The plants will take off and grow quickly as soon as daytime temperatures regularly reach 70°F. Even though this plant loves to soak up the sun, it doesn't tolerate drought well, so plant it where you can easily water it.

How to Plant Foxtail Amaranth

Either sow seeds or transplant started seedlings into the garden after all chance of frost has passed in spring. Foxtail amaranth often needs staking when its long flower stalks develop. Sink a 4-foot-tall stake into the soil near the base of the plant at planting time. As the plant grows, loosely tie its stem to the stake.

Foxtail Amaranth Care Tips


Full sun is essential for this plant to thrive. Foxtail amaranth will produce fewer flowers and weak stems when planted in shade.

Soil and Water

Grow foxtail amaranth in moist, well-drained soil.


Start foxtail amaranth from seed inside 6-8 weeks before your area's last frost.

Harvesting Flowers

Love-lies-bleeding is a favorite everlasting flower. Its flowers turn a warm shade of bronze after the stems dry. To harvest stems for drying, cut young, fresh flower stalks. Tie two or three stems together and hang them in a dark, airy, dry place. The stems will dry in about one month and can be added to dried flower arrangements.

Types of Foxtail Amaranth

'Fat Spike' has thick ropes of deep red-purple flowers above green foliage and grows 3–4 feet tall. 'Viridis' has electric green flower stalks on 3- to 4-foot-tall plants. 'Golden Giant' has yellow flower stalks that can grow 6-8 feet tall, making it one of the tallest varieties. Search reputable online retailers for more unique varieties of bold summer annuals.

Foxtail Amaranth Companion Plants


'New Look Red' Celosia

BHG / Kerri Jo

There are few flowers as showy as celosia. Whether you plant the plumed type, which produces striking upright spires, or the crested type, which has a fascinating twisted form, you'll love using celosia in bouquets. The flowers are beautiful fresh, but they also dry well. They bloom in all the colors of a glowing sunset. Plant established seedlings in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Celosia likes rich, well-drained soil with moderate water. Spider mites can sometimes be a problem in hot, dry weather.

Mexican Sunflower

Butterfly on Mexican sunflower
Peter Krumhardt

Attract butterflies and have fun doing it with big, bold, beautiful Mexican sunflower. Sow seeds directly in the ground and watch it soar. It can hit up to 5 feet in just weeks with big, lush foliage and small but showy flowers in sunset colors that butterflies love. Put a cluster of these bodacious beauties in the back of the border to give it height and drama. Many of the taller types need staking to keep them upright. Plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.

Annual Sunflower

Sunflower Helianthus annus 'Holiday'
Greg Ryan

Big, beautiful, and old-fashioned, sunflowers suit most gardens. Plant breeders have been hard at work producing a wide variety, from those that grow 12 feet tall to compact selections that stand only 3 feet tall. The color range is wide, too, with almost every shade of yellow, orange, and red.

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