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Growing Bachelor’s Buttons

Written by Stephanie on December 2nd, 2015

Bachelor’s Buttons ( Gomphrena globosa) if also known as globe amaranth or Gomphrena.  This annual has green leaves and produces flowers in orange, yellow, white, pink, or violet.  The flowers are really brachs that hide the tiny flower.  They bloom from midsummer until frost, and each plant may have several blossoms on it.  Bachelor’s buttons are very popular as a cut flower because the hold their color when dried.  This plant is from Central America and grows well in the United States.

Bachelor’s buttons require full sun and well drained soil to grow well.  You can improve the drainage of your flower bed by tilling it to a depth of six inches, then covering the tilled area with three inches of compost.  Till that in good and your soil is not only fertile, but drains well.

These plants grow to about two and a half feet tall and spreads half a foot to a foot wide.  You should plant bachelor’s buttons at least ten to twelve inches from each other so that air can circulate an prevent diseases from getting started in your flower bed.

Bachelor’s buttons are heat tolerant and deer resistant.  They attract butterflies to the flowers.

To propagate bachelor’s buttons, bring in some of the cut flowers that are pretty ripe.  Hang them upside down in a cool place to dry.  In the spring, simply crush the flower and you will have a handful of seed.  Start the seeds about six to eight weeks before the first frost.  Use a tray with equal parts sand, potting soil, and peat most in it.  Spread the seed over the surface of the tray.  Bachelor’s buttons need light to germinate, so do not cover the seeds with soil.  Carefully water the tray, preferably from the bottom so as not to disturb the seeds.  Cover the tray with plastic wrap and put in the window.  When the seedlings emerge, remove the plastic wrap and place the tray in a sunny place but out of direct sun.

When the seedlings reach two to three inches tall, plant them in peat pots so they can be readily transplanted outside.  Remember to harden off your seedlings before planting them outside.  This process means placing the seedlings outside for a few hours the first day, then bringing them inside.  Over the course of a week, you gradually leave the seedlings out for longer and longer, until they are out all day.  They are then ready to be planted in a prepared flower bed.  Space them ten to twelve inches apart.

Bachelor’s buttons are fairly low maintenance.  You need to pinch the ends of the stems to promote bushiness.  You also need to deadhead the plant regularly to keep it blooming.  Pinch of the flower and the stem it is on down to the next node in the stem.  You also need to water the bachelor’s button once a week with an inch of water all at once.  Although bachelor’s buttons can tolerate less water, they grow best when given supplemental water.  Water at the base of the plant, as it may get powdery mildew if watered from above.


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