Amaranths are a popular group of plants, botanically known as genus ‘Amaranthus’ of Family ‘Amaranthaceae’. Amaranths are mostly erect annual herbs or short-lived perennials. Approximately 60 species are recognised, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple, through red and green to gold. Amaranth can be grown throughout the year in India. It grows well in hot Indian summers.
Amaranthus is called cosmopolitan genus because of the number of species are known for their wide range of usefulness and economic importance. Many Amaranths are traditional leafy vegetables, grains of some Amaranth species are consumed as cereals, There are some beautiful flowering & foliage decorative Amaranths, and then there are so many Amaranth species that are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as Pigweed.
Amaranths as leafy vegetables: Amaranth is hardy, easy to grow green vegetable which is cooked and consumed like spinach. There are many varieties with tender leaves, available in green and red colour. Popularly known as ‘Chauli’ & ‘Math’ in India. Cooked amaranth leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, manganese, and folic acid.
Amaranth grains: Amaranth has been cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years. The yield of grain amaranth is comparable to rice or maize. It was a staple food in many parts of the world. In India, Amaranth grains are popularly known as Rajgira. The popped Rajgira is mixed with melted jaggery in proper proportion to make iron and energy-rich ‘laddus’ or ‘Chikki’.
Amaranths as ornamental plants: This group comprises some useful garden annuals, with bright foliage, or blooms or both. All the ornamental Amaranths are good as pot plants. They are suitable for growing groups or in rows in an annual border.
Amaranth as a weed: Many Amaranth species have escaped from gardens and have naturalised in most of the world as weeds. Amaranth weeds are found growing all over India in farmlands, roadsides & gardens thriving even in summers.
Following are the tips for growing leafy vegetable amaranth in containers. These tips can be followed for ‘Math’, ‘Red Math’ & ‘Chawli’.
Note: Amaranth plants are very hardy & can tolerate common conditions. They need minimal care.
Sowing season of Amaranth: Throughout the year. Best grown in summers.
Growing container for Amaranth: A Shallow container with a minimum depth of 5 inches & bigger spread area (according to available space & your requirement) like Trays or crates.
Potting mixture for Amaranths: 2 part garden soil mixed with 1 part any organic manure. (cow-dung manure)
Amaranth seed sowing method: Seeds are sown directly in containers by dusting or broadcasting.
Sunlight requirement for Amaranths: Amaranth can tolerate full sunlight as well as partial sunlight.
Watering technique for Amaranths: Water your Amaranth container every day in the form of the light shower by using a watering can.
Harvesting: Leaves can be harvested after 30-35 days & harvesting can continue for next 2-3 months.
Microgreens: Amaranths are best suitable as microgreens especially the red ones. Grow it indoors in flat containers. Sow-scatter the seeds in a crowded manner. You can harvest it in 10-15 days by uprooting the baby plants.