Gomphrena globosa, or more simply globosa amarantina, is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Amaranthaceae family.
Also called false clover, the Gomphrena, is native to India and Central America, now widespread in much of Europe and Italian gardens, where it is loved mainly for the ease to adapt to any type of terrain.
It is able to reach a maximum height of 60 – 70 cm.
It is a bushy plant with oval leaves of green – greyish colour with a thick white down. The stems are erect and thin but rigid, where, at the apexes, develop the flowers formed by several petals, enclosed in a sort of panicle. The colours are various, pink, red, white and purple.
The plant blooms from the beginning of summer until the first cold and the flowering is long-lasting. For this reason, you can cut the flowers to create a centerpiece, or dry them to create winter decorations.
Let’s see how to sow and take care of the globular Gomphrena.
How and When to Sow
The multiplication of the globular Gomphrena is done by seed. The seeds of this plant can be purchased, or you can take them inside the dried flowers, during the period from September to October, just crumble the dry flower. The seeds are covered with a thick white down, are similar to small cotton balls.
To anticipate the time and have plants ready for transplanting already in spring, it will be necessary to sow the Gomphrena in a greenhouse or seedbed in the period of February, until mid-March.
Let’s get small pots and fill them with peat, a type of soil recommended for sowing. Place two seeds per pot and cover with a light layer of soil. Immediately afterwards, water and wet the soil well with a nebulizer. The jars are ready to be transferred to the seedbed, which we will cover with a special lid.
The ideal temperature of the hotbed should be 18-22°. Wet the soil constantly and keep it always moist, but do not overdo it with the irrigations.
After 4-5 days from sowing, the first shoots will be visible. Leave the small plants in the greenhouse for about a week. After this time, we could take the shoots outside the seedbed. Place the pots in a bright and temperate spot in the house, or provide them with indoor lamps to provide the light necessary for growth. Continue to water constantly with the nebulizer. Leave only the healthiest shoots.
Then, as temperatures rise, we could gradually move the plants outside, first in the shade and slowly in the sun.
To be more successful in sowing, the seedbed or mini greenhouse must be equipped with a heating mat or built-in heater.
If we do not have space, a seedbed or the desire to grow the seedlings at home, we could sow the Gomphrena outside, in the period from April to mid-May. It will be necessary to move the soil, mixing it with a good soil for sowing, spread the seeds and cover them slightly. Water immediately afterwards and constantly wet the soil.
Take Care of the Globular Gomphrena
As soon as the plants of Gomphrena globosa have 5-6 leaves they will be ready for transplanting. This procedure should be done by mid-April onwards, when the night frosts are now averted.
Choose a bright and sunny place, prepare a small hole. Take the selected pots with the healthiest and most vigorous plants, wet the soil well and exert a slight pressure with the palm of your hand, letting out the roots compact with the ground. Place the plant in the hole previously made and cover. Water slightly.
The Gomphrena globosa has a rapid and constant growth, prefers a sunny exposure, which will promote abundant flowering.
The ideal temperature for its development should be 24 – 28 °. It is a rustic and robust plant, it adapts to any terrain, survives hot and hot summers, where it will need a more constant and regular irrigation. If healthy, it keeps away parasites and diseases. In case of water stagnation and wet soils can get sick of fungal diseases such as mildew.
The Gomphrena gives wonderful and long-lasting blooms, from June to October. The bushy plant is able to grow very much and wrapped in an irregular way. This can be avoided by trimming overgrowing branches, together with the more fragile ones, while keeping the bush compact. It is an annual species that does not survive the winter climate, on the contrary, it will die as soon as the temperatures drop below 10°.