Amaranths (Chinese Spinach)

Dr. Joe Masabni
Patrick Lillard
Department of Horticulture
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


Amaranths (Chinese Spinach)

Amaranths are green, leafy vegetables and grain crops. Leaves of vegetable amaranths and seeds of grain amaranths are high in protein. More commonly known in the United States is the amaranth used as a bedding plant called

Joseph’s Coat. Amaranth varies greatly in foliage color, leaf shape and plant height. The cloverlike flowers are small but occur in such large numbers that their effects is outstanding.


Amaranths, both vegetable and grain types, are easy to grow. Order specific edible varieties of amaranth to use as greens. If you do not find Amaranth gangeticus, get one of the edible varieties. Some seedsmen promote their varieties as producing edible grain only, while other seedsmen promote their varieties for “greens” or leafy use. This warm season crop grows from 2 to 4 feet or more. The grain varieties are usually erect. Amaranth greens are grown like other green crops. They do well in hot, high light conditions, producing edible foliage in summer conditions. Plant 1/4 ounce of seed for 250 feet of bed to a depth of 1/2 inch or less and cover. Amaranths do best on sunny, raised beds. Thin plants to 6 inches apart. Plants respond to well fertilized soils and irrigation during hot summers.


Harvest greens 5 to 6 weeks after sowing. As with most greens crops, young succulent leaves are preferred for eating. Greens are tied in bunches and sold in cartons by the bunch or by the pound. Keep amaranth greens refrigerated or iced during shipment or storage.

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