Sometimes coarse weedy plants, but a few ornamental kinds are grown for colorful foliage or flowers. Sow seed in place in early summer; soil temperature must be above 70F for germination. When young and tender, leaves and stems of many species (even some of the weedy ones) can be cooked like spinach in hot weather. Blooms appear in late summer and fall. In some species, seeds look like sesame seeds; they are high in protein and can be used as a grain.
A. caudatus. LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING, TASSEL FLOWER. A sturdy, branching plant 38 ft. high, 13 ft. wide. The light green leaves reach 10 in. long, 4 in. wide. Red flowers become drooping, tassel-like clusters. More a curiosity than a pretty plant, it does produce grain.
A. hypochondriacus. PRINCE'S FEATHER. To 5 ft. high, 2 ft. wide, usually with reddish leaves 16 in. long and 123 in. wide. Red or brownish red flowers in many-branched clusters. Some strains are grown as a spinach substitute or for grain.
A. tricolor. JOSEPH'S COAT. Branching plant 14 ft. high, 11 ft. wide. Leaves 26 in. long, 24 in. wide, blotched in shades of red and green. 'Early Splendor', 'Flaming Fountain', and 'Molten Fire' bear masses of yellow to scarlet foliage at tops of main stems and principal branches. Green-leafed strains are used as a spinach substitute under the name tampala.