Amaranthus Caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ (Love-Lies-Bleeding)

Plant: Table of Contents

Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ (Love-Lies-Bleeding): A Fascinating Plant

Plants have always held a special place in human culture, providing not only sustenance and oxygen but also beauty and wonder. The Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, commonly known as Love-Lies-Bleeding, is a unique and fascinating plant that has captured the interest of gardeners, horticulturists, and botanists alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of this intriguing plant, from its characteristics and uses to its cultivation and care.

What is Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ (Love-Lies-Bleeding)?

Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ is a captivating ornamental plant known for its distinctive, cascading tassels of vibrant red flowers. Belonging to the Amaranthaceae family, this annual plant is native to South America but has found its way into gardens and landscapes around the world due to its striking appearance and unique cultural significance.

The common name “Love-Lies-Bleeding” is believed to have originated from the appearance of the plant’s drooping flowers, which resemble blood droplets and are associated with love and heartache in various folklores and myths. This plant has been cultivated for centuries, and its uses extend beyond aesthetics to encompass traditional medicinal and ceremonial purposes in different cultures.

With its eye-catching blooms and rich cultural history, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ has piqued the curiosity of plant enthusiasts and continues to be a focal point in gardens, events, and rituals.

Key Takeaways – Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ (Love-Lies-Bleeding)

Before we delve into the specifics of cultivating and caring for Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, let’s take a moment to highlight some key takeaways about this remarkable plant.

  • Cultural Significance: Love-Lies-Bleeding has a rich history and holds cultural significance in various traditions and folklore.
  • Distinctive Appearance: The cascading tassels of red flowers make it a visually striking addition to gardens and floral arrangements.
  • Traditional Uses: Beyond its ornamental appeal, this plant has been used in traditional medicine and as a decorative element in ceremonies and rituals.

Now, let’s explore each aspect of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ in detail, including its cultivation, uses, care requirements, and interesting facts.


The cultural significance of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ extends across different societies and has been woven into various traditions, myths, and rituals. Understanding the cultural context of this plant adds depth to its appeal and sheds light on its enduring presence in human history.

Symbolism in Various Cultures

Love-Lies-Bleeding holds symbolism in diverse cultures, often associated with themes of love, romance, and heartache. In certain traditions, the plant’s drooping blossoms are said to represent unrequited love or the shedding of tears. It has also been incorporated into ceremonial practices and floral arrangements, carrying symbolic meanings that vary across different regions and beliefs.

Mythological and Folkloric Significance

Within mythology and folklore, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ has been depicted in stories and legends that narrate tales of love, loss, and resilience. Its unique appearance and vibrant hue have captured the imagination of storytellers, leading to its inclusion in folklore and symbolic narratives that continue to resonate with contemporary audiences.


Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ offers a range of uses, from its ornamental value to its historical and contemporary applications in traditional medicine and cultural rituals.

Ornamental Purposes

The striking, cascading flowers of Love-Lies-Bleeding make it a sought-after plant for ornamental purposes. Whether grown in gardens, showcased in floral arrangements, or used as a decorative element in events, the visually captivating blooms of this plant add a touch of drama and elegance to any setting.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

In some cultures, certain parts of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ have been employed for their purported medicinal properties. Ancient traditional healing systems have cited the plant as having potential benefits, leading to its utilization in remedies aimed at addressing specific health concerns. While modern research is ongoing, the plant’s historical use in traditional medicine underscores its cultural significance and potential therapeutic value.

Ceremonial and Ritualistic Role

Love-Lies-Bleeding has been incorporated into ceremonial practices and rituals, playing a symbolic role in various occasions and events. From weddings and festivals to spiritual rites and cultural gatherings, the plant holds a position of cultural reverence and has been used to convey specific meanings and emotions within these contexts.


Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’. Understanding the plant’s water requirements and adopting appropriate watering practices are crucial for achieving optimal growth and blooming.

Watering Guidelines

  • Established Plants: Once established, Love-Lies-Bleeding plants generally require consistent moisture to thrive, particularly during periods of heat and dryness. Regular, moderate watering is recommended to ensure that the soil remains evenly moist, allowing the plant to flourish without becoming waterlogged.

  • Container-Grown Plants: When grown in containers, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ may require more frequent watering, as the confined space of the container can lead to faster drying of the soil. Careful monitoring of the soil moisture is essential, and watering should be adjusted based on the specific needs of the plant in its container environment.

  • Avoid Waterlogging: While maintaining adequate moisture is crucial, it is equally important to prevent waterlogging, as excessive water retention can lead to root rot and other detrimental issues. Proper drainage and a balanced watering regimen help safeguard the plant against water-related stress and diseases.


Optimal sunlight exposure is a key factor in promoting healthy growth and flowering in Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’. Understanding the plant’s sunlight requirements allows for strategic placement and ensures that it receives the necessary light for robust development.

Sun Exposure Needs

  • Full Sun to Partial Shade: Love-Lies-Bleeding generally thrives in full sun to partial shade, benefitting from direct sunlight for a significant portion of the day. Adequate exposure to sunlight promotes strong stem development and vibrant flower production, contributing to the plant’s overall vigor and visual appeal.

  • Shade Tolerance: While the plant prefers ample sunlight, it also exhibits some degree of shade tolerance, allowing for flexibility in positioning it within garden beds or landscapes. However, insufficient sunlight may result in reduced flowering and potential legginess in the plant’s growth habit.

  • Shelter from Harsh Afternoon Sun: In particularly hot or arid climates, providing some shelter from the intense afternoon sun can prevent excessive stress on the plant and help maintain its overall health and vitality.


Applying appropriate fertilization can enhance the growth and blooming of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, providing essential nutrients for its development. Understanding the plant’s fertilizer needs and implementing a suitable feeding regimen supports its overall health and ensures robust flowering.

Fertilization Practices

  • Balanced Fertilizer: Using a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer or a formula with slightly higher phosphorus content can support flower production and overall plant vigor. Applying fertilizer with a formulation such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 provides a well-rounded nutrient boost for Love-Lies-Bleeding.

  • Initial Feeding: Incorporating fertilizer into the soil at the time of planting or sowing can supply the plant with essential nutrients from the start, helping it establish strong roots and initiate healthy growth.

  • Mid-Season Boost: Providing additional fertilizer during the growing season, especially as the plant begins to set flower buds, can bolster its blooming capacity and ensure a profusion of vibrant, cascading blooms.

Caution with Excessive Nitrogen

While a balanced fertilizer is beneficial for Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, excessive nitrogen should be avoided, as it can stimulate excessive vegetative growth at the expense of flowering. Moderate and targeted fertilization helps strike the right balance for promoting both foliage and prolific blossoms.


The choice of suitable soil and proper soil preparation are fundamental considerations for cultivating Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’. Providing the plant with an optimal growing medium sets the stage for healthy development and robust blooming.

Soil Requirements

  • Well-Draining Soil: Love-Lies-Bleeding benefits from well-draining soil that prevents waterlogging and allows for adequate aeration of the root system. A loose, friable soil texture promotes healthy root expansion and contributes to overall plant vigor.

  • Nutrient-Rich Soil: Incorporating organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, enriches the soil and supplies the plant with essential nutrients for sustained growth and flowering. Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ responds favorably to nutrient-rich soil, which supports its ornamental and horticultural attributes.

  • Soil pH: The plant thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 being conducive to its growth. Ensuring an appropriate soil pH level facilitates efficient nutrient uptake and fosters an environment where the plant can flourish.


Pruning plays a role in maintaining the shape, health, and blooming performance of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’. Strategic pruning practices help optimize the plant’s appearance and ensure that it continues to produce an abundance of captivating flowers.

Pruning Techniques

  • Deadheading Spent Flowers: Regularly removing spent flowers, or deadheading, encourages continuous blooming and prevents the plant from expending energy on seed production. By deadheading, gardeners can promote a prolonged flowering season and a tidier appearance for Love-Lies-Bleeding.

  • Controlling Vigorous Growth: If the plant exhibits excessive vegetative growth or becomes too leggy, selective pruning can help manage its form and encourage a more compact, bushier habit. Trimming back overgrown stems and foliage can rejuvenate the plant and redirect its energy toward flowering.

  • Seasonal Maintenance: Conducting light pruning and grooming in late summer or early fall can help maintain the plant’s shape and prepare it for the coming season, setting the stage for robust growth and blooming in subsequent years.

Pruning Considerations

While pruning can be beneficial for Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, it’s important to exercise care in the process, ensuring that the plant’s natural form and aesthetic appeal are preserved. Avoiding excessive pruning and maintaining a balanced approach to trimming contribute to the plant’s overall health and visual impact.


The propagation of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ offers an opportunity to increase the presence of this captivating plant in gardens and landscapes. Understanding the various propagation methods empowers gardeners to expand their Love-Lies-Bleeding collection and share the plant with others.

Propagation Techniques

  • Seed Propagation: Propagating Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ from seeds is a straightforward approach that allows for the mass production of new plants. Seed sowing can be carried out directly in the garden soil or started indoors, with subsequent transplantation of seedlings into the desired growing locations.

  • Cutting Propagation: Stem cuttings provide an alternative method of propagating Love-Lies-Bleeding, offering a means to clone the plant and reproduce desirable traits. Selecting healthy, young stems and rooting them under controlled conditions can yield new plants that are genetically identical to the parent specimen.

  • Division: For established Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ clumps, dividing the plants enables the creation of multiple individual specimens from a single, mature plant. Dividing the root system and crown allows each new division to establish itself as an independent plant, expanding the population of Love-Lies-Bleeding in the garden.

Propagation Considerations

When propagating Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, attention to environmental conditions and timing is crucial to ensure successful establishment of new plants. Providing appropriate moisture, temperature, and care during the propagation process contributes to the viability of propagated specimens and supports their transition to independent growth.

Container Popularity

The versatility and ornamental appeal of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ make it a popular choice for container gardening. Cultivating Love-Lies-Bleeding in containers offers a range of benefits and allows for creative expression in limited spaces.

Advantages of Container Gardening

  • Space Optimization: Containers provide an opportunity to grow Love-Lies-Bleeding in areas where traditional gardening may not be feasible, such as balconies, patios, or small urban spaces. The compact nature of containers enables gardeners to expand their growing options and incorporate the plant into diverse settings.

  • Aesthetic Flexibility: Container gardening allows for greater control over the visual presentation of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, offering the chance to position the plant as a focal point in outdoor spaces or as part of thematic arrangements and designs. The ability to elevate, relocate, or group containers gives gardeners the freedom to experiment with creative displays.

  • Maintenance Convenience: Managing the care and maintenance of Love-Lies-Bleeding in containers can be more convenient, as containers offer mobility and facilitate targeted attention to the plant’s needs. Additionally, containerized plants can be protected from adverse weather conditions and potential pests with relative ease.

Common Diseases

While Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ is generally resilient, it is susceptible to certain diseases and disorders that can impact its health and appearance. Familiarizing oneself with common diseases and their management is essential for safeguarding the plant’s well-being.

Disease Diagnosis

  • Powdery Mildew: A fungal disease characterized by the appearance of powdery, white patches on the leaves and stems of the plant. Powdery mildew can inhibit photosynthesis and weaken the plant if left untreated.

  • Leaf Spot: Caused by fungal pathogens, leaf spot manifests as dark, circular lesions on the plant’s foliage. Leaf spot can lead to premature leaf drop and reduced aesthetic appeal of Love-Lies-Bleeding.

  • Stem Rot: Excessive moisture and poor drainage can contribute to the development of stem rot, which causes the plant’s stems to become dark, mushy, and eventually collapse. Proper watering and soil management are essential for averting stem rot.

Disease Management

  • Cultural Practices: Maintaining good air circulation around the plant, avoiding overhead watering, and removing plant debris can help reduce the risk of disease development and spread.

  • Fungicidal Treatments: In severe cases of fungal diseases, targeted fungicidal treatments may be applied to address the specific pathogens involved and mitigate their impact on the plant.

  • Soil Improvement: Enhancing soil drainage and promoting overall soil health through organic amendments and proper watering practices can contribute to disease prevention and resilience in Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’.

Common Pests

Pests can pose a threat to the well-being of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, requiring vigilance and proactive measures to mitigate their impact on the plant. Identifying common pests and employing effective control methods are essential for protecting the plant from infestation.

Pest Identification

  • Aphids: Small, sap-sucking insects that congregate on the undersides of leaves, causing damage to the plant and excreting honeydew. Aphids can weaken the plant and facilitate the spread of fungal diseases.

  • Spider Mites: Tiny arachnids that feed on the plant’s sap, leading to stippled leaves and webbing in severe cases. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions and can rapidly infest Love-Lies-Bleeding.

  • Beetles: Certain beetle species may target the foliage and flowers of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, causing visible feeding damage and compromising the plant’s aesthetic appeal.

Pest Control Strategies

  • Mechanical Removal: Handpicking and physically removing pests from the plant can be an effective means of pest control, particularly in cases of localized infestations or limited pest numbers.

  • Natural Predators: Encouraging the presence of natural predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings, in the garden can help manage pest populations and maintain a balanced ecosystem.

  • Horticultural Oils and Soaps: Applying horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps can suffocate and disrupt the feeding activity of certain pests, providing a targeted and low-impact pest control solution.

Botanist’s Tips

As a botanist, I have observed and studied the captivating traits of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ and accumulated insights that can aid in the successful cultivation and enjoyment of this remarkable plant. Here are some of my tips based on botanical knowledge and experience.

Cultural Considerations

  • Embrace the Symbolism: Recognize and appreciate the cultural and symbolic significance of Love-Lies-Bleeding, allowing its rich history to deepen your connection with the plant.

  • Explore Folklore and Mythology: Delve into the folklore and mythology surrounding Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, uncovering the stories and narratives that have contributed to its enduring allure.

Horticultural Practices

  • Balanced Care: Strive for a balanced approach to caring for the plant, addressing its needs for water, sunlight, and nutrients while respecting its natural growth habits and flowering patterns.

  • Observation and Adaptation: Regularly observe the plant’s growth and response to its environment, making adjustments to care practices based on its individual performance and requirements.

Curiosity and Discovery

  • Botanical Exploration: Foster a sense of curiosity and exploration when engaging with Love-Lies-Bleeding, seeking to understand its botanical attributes and ecological interactions.

  • Learning from Diversity: Appreciate the diverse varieties and forms of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, recognizing the beauty and significance of each unique expression of the plant.

Fun Facts

In addition to its cultural, horticultural, and botanical aspects, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ presents a range of fun and intriguing facts that contribute to its allure and fascination.

Fascinating Tidbits

  • Edible Uses: Certain varieties of Love-Lies-Bleeding are cultivated for their edible leaves and seeds, contributing to culinary traditions and gastronomic exploration.

  • Historical Presence: The plant has been documented in historical records and artworks, showcasing its enduring presence in human cultural and artistic expression.

  • Global Relevance: Love-Lies-Bleeding is celebrated in various parts of the world, illustrating its cross-cultural resonance and appeal.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration and in-depth information on Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’ and related topics, I recommend accessing the following external resources:

  1. Royal Horticultural Society – Amaranthus caudatus
  2. The Plant List – Amaranthus caudatus
  3. University of Florida – Amaranthus Production Guide

Each of these resources provides valuable insights and comprehensive perspectives on Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, thereby enriching the understanding and appreciation of this captivating plant.

In conclusion

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.