Amaranthus Opopeo

gardenlover(z5/6 OH)March 31, 2006

Anybody have experience with this as a cut?

Is is a cut and come again, or cut once and done?

Any special tips on when to harvest, any special post-harvest care? Any other information?

Thanks

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moonblooms(z8 AL)

I planted this last summer (July) and cut in early November - the beautiful deep burgundy color was perfect for fall arrangements. You'll want to cut right before the seeds start to form. I guess you could cut and let some side branches produce again, but I think you'll need to harvest all at once. The vase life was great, at least 2 weeks for me. You can also dry it by setting the stems in a tall can and letting the blooms droop over the side. I think its much prettier as a fresh cut.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 9:11AM
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flowerfarmer

Wow. You can plant this in July? I have read that if amaranthus is planted too late, it will bloom on stems that are too short. That information was provided by a grower in the South. Maybe her plants were rootbound.

Anyway, you can harvest the main stem and strip the side shoots if you want long stems. If you cut the main stem just a little shorter, you'll have a few lateral stems which are nice for small bouquets. I've also heard that you can pinch the main stem which will force the lateral stems to grow longer. Of course, you'll want to allow enough spacing between plants if this is done.

The last couple of years, we've grown a deeper black-crimson amaranthus. These cuts require special post-harvest care here in the humidity of the Midwest. This is a late season crop for us.

Trish

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 11:06AM
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moonblooms(z8 AL)

Yes, I started the seeds indoors in mid July. The plants grew to about 30". They were slow to start, but took off when the weather cooled down in late October. I guess it's good I didn't know about starting them too late, or else I wouldn't have planted them. Of course, I missed my market opportunties but they sure looked good at Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 12:44PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Opopeo is my favorite amaranth. It's the best performer here of all the kinds I've tried. I'm still planning to grow it, just for myself - only my absolute favorites qualified for that! I imagine I could start them in July, also, if my first frost didn't happen until November or later. Here in the cold-nights Rockies, I have to start them indoors and plant out as soon as frost is past (early June) to get any crop at all before first frost (early September). Here, they don't really grow much until the weather warms up in July (we're only talking 80 degrees here, with no humidity - it doesn't even qualify as heat to most people). Mine don't have time to get very big but they're still quite useful. They were popular in bouquets. I've used them fresh and dried them two different ways, hung upside down so they stay straight and in a dry vase so they dried with a graceful droop. They got the same postharvest treatment most of my flowers got: cut into a home-made preservative solution, cooled, then arranged into fresh solution and kept cool overnight, before market. One year, I tried pinching some of them to get two largish heads, but it backfired on me. That slowed them down enough that the two heads were still quite small when the first frost came. In a more reasonable climate, I'm sure pinching works just fine.

A fellow merchant at market brought a bucket of Opopeo cuts that she had grown in her greenhouse one day. I was astounded at how huge they were! I should be glad mine never got very big - it would be hard to work one of those huge things into any but a big-hotel-lobby-size bouquet. But they were nice all by themselves - two or three would make a big dining-room-table bouquet. Hmm - it just occurred to me that I have extra space in my hoophouse this year that I could put huge pots into. I wonder if it would like to grow in a big pot.....

Jeanne

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 10:46PM
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flowerfarmer

Gardenlover, You've indicated in previous posts that you direct seed. Do you use an Earthway Seeder? To eliminate alot of thinning, some growers have mixed fine sand or corn meal with their seed when using this handy tool.

Moonblooms, Thirty inches is actually stunted for this plant. Most growers have this in the field by mid June. I'd plan to sow before July this season so that you have those nice lateral stems. These add a nice softness to arrangements. I spoke with another specialty cutflower grower; and, she said those laterals produce many stems until frost.

BTW One of my markets is open until the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We could have used some of your nice stems of Opopeo. We do grow in hightunnels for season extension; however, we don't grow Opopeo in any of them.

Best of luck with your growing season.

Trish

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 11:03AM
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