Gomphrena 'Fireworks', Globe Amaranth
Annual flowers for sale as 'potted colour' have been bred to be compact and neat so as to look good on the bench at the retail Nursery or Garden Centre , as well as to solve 'ease of handling' issues at the growing end before they even get to the market.
Many terrific annual flowers which reach a metre or more in height go largely unnoticed because they are just too difficult to present well in a pot. One such plant which I grew for sale this summer and autumn was Gomphrena 'Fireworks'.
In a large pot (20cm) it required constant tip pruning to make it appear more bushy as its natural habit is to have fairly sparse growth and few leaves. This is actually a part of its drought beating water saving strategy in the wild. Then comes the flowers which appear on the end of 30 to 45cm brittle stems. When the stems happen to cross over with each other or snag on a neighbouring plant they snap off......... so you are left with half an unsaleable plant looking dreadful. Never mind all this, as growing something new is good fun and meanwhile the 'Fireworks' planted in the garden are still going strong. The papery flower heads are long lived and last well into winter without any trouble. It is also unaffected by plant pests or diseases, so what more can you ask for. Further information can be found at the following:Fireworks gomphrena dazzles at plant trials (08-20-2009)