Skip to content.

Some features of this website require Javascript to be enabled for best usibility. Please enable Javascript to run.


Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include: Grain Amaranth

Latin Name: Amaranthus ssp (A. caudatus,  A. cruentus and Amaranthus hypochondriachus)

Plant Family: Amaranthacea

Close Relatives: Pigweed

Uses and Markets: Culinary: Grain amaranth is used in products such as cereal, crackers, bread and other baked goods.  Grain amaranth is also commonly used as a forage crop in tropical countries.  Amaranth grain is gaining popularity in North America, but grain amaranth markets remain small and fragile.

Stand of Amaranthus. cruentus var.Golden Giant in Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.Stand of Amaranthus. caudatus var Love-Lies-Bleeding in Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.Stand of Amaranthus. hypochondriacus in Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.Amaranthus. cruentus var.Golden Giant grain head, Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.Amaranthus. caudatus var Love-Lies-Bleeding grain head, Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.Amaranthus. hypochondriacus grain head, Norfolk county, Ontario. 2011.
AgronomicsProduction Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Availability of seed for commercial scale plantings may be limited.  Early season weed control is critical for obtaining good seed yields.

Propagation method


Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Mid May to mid June.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

10 cm (grain yield is not affected by seeding rate due to amaranth’s ability to compensate for in-row planting density).

Between row spacing

55 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

18-24 °C


No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from the U.S. indicates maximum amaranth yields can be obtained with 90 kg N/ha, but different varieties respond.  Excessive nitrogen fertilization can lead to increased plant height and lodging, both of which negatively affect harvestability.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils.  Loose soils high in organic matter.  Avoid heavy clay soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate 25°C.

Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive

Irrigation requirements

Grain amaranth is drought-tolerant, but irrigation immediately after planting may be beneficial.

Days to harvest

100-120 days

Specialized equipment:

Amaranth grain is very small.  Appropriately sized screens will be required on the combine used for harvesting.

Harvest Scheduling

Single Harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Mechanical harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Proper planting density will ensure grain heads do not become too large.  Large seed heads do not dry properly making them difficult to combine.  A killing frost aids with crop drying, but grain amaranth should be harvested within 10 days after the frost kill.  Row headers perform better than reel headers.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Clean seeds before drying seed to 8% moisture for storage.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): Low

Temperature: Low

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: Not known

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates:  Tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris), flea beetles, aphids

Diseases: Leaf and stem blights (Phomopsis amaranthicola, Alternaria spp.), root rots


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Amaranth weevil (Conotrachelus seniculus), slugs, leafminers, spider mites, leaf-feeding beetles and caterpillars, leafhoppers, grasshoppers

Diseases: Damping off (Pythium, Rhizoctonia), white rust (Albugo candida)


*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: leaf and stem bligh (Phomopsis amaranthicola), tarnished plant bug.  Grain amaranth can tolerate considerable leaf feeding before yields are affected, however tarnished plant bug may be more of a problem because it feeds on flowers and seeds. The impact of fungal diseases of leaves and stems on grain yields is not known for Ontario. Varieties can differ significantly in susceptibility to pests. This crop is susceptible to many of the same pests as pigweed. Weed pressure is a major concern in production of this crop, particularly for young, establishing plants because amaranth is small-seeded and slow to germinate.  Since few to no herbicides are registered on this crop in Ontario, frequent cultivation, hand-hoeing or mulches (where applicable) will be required, especially during crop establishment. 

Amaranth grown for grain production is not in a crop group.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Pesticides registered for use on leafy amaranth may not be used on grain amaranth. There are few to no pest control products registered for use on this crop in Ontario. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Tarnished plant bugs will feed on seeds and flower heads Phomopsis amaranthicola on leaves and stems of amaranthStriped flea beetles on amaranth
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E.M.A., Todd, J., Draves, J., and N. Betts. 2011. Sand Plains Super Foods 4 Health. Sand Plains Community Development Fund, unpublished.

  1. Myers, R.L. 1996.  Amaranth: New Crop Opportunity.  P207-220.  In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Progress in New Crops. ASHA Press, Alexandria, VA
  2. Putnam, D.H., E.S. Oplinger, J.D. Doll and E.M. Schulte.  1989.  Amaranth. In:  Alternative Field Crops Manual.  University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service.  Madison, WI.
  3. Stallknecht, G.F. and J.R. Schulz-Schaeffer.  1993.  Amaranth Rediscovered.  P 211-218.  In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), New Crops.  Wiley, New York.