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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

African Spinach, Calalbo, Callaloo, Chinese Amaranth, Chinese Spinach, Indian Kale and Tampala

Latin Name: Amaranthus spp, including A. cruentus, A. dubius, A. gangeticus, A. hypochondriacus, A. hybridus, A. lividus, A. manogostanus, A. spinosus, A. tricolor and A. viridis

Plant Family: Amaranthaceae

Close Relatives: Pigweed

Uses and Markets: Culinary - leaves are a good source of protein, pro-vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre.  Used in Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Mexican, Andean highland, South American, Eastern African, and Caribbean cuisine.

Phomopsisamaranthicola Red and green amaranth
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Seeds, transplants from seeds.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

May to June

Field Transplanting Dates

Beginning of May.

In-row spacing

4-15 cm

Between row spacing

10-50 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Ontario research on mineral soil showed an optimal nitrogen rate between 90 and 120 kg/ha for each crop in a multi-cropping system. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Loam, silt-loam.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

None. Plants tend to bolt as days become shorter.

Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Plants: Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

30-60 days

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting. Continuous harvests are possible with successive plantings.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95-100%

Temperature: 0-2°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 10-14 days

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

Insects and Invertebrates: Striped Flea Beetle, three-spotted flea beetle, 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: Slugs, aphids, leaf-feeding caterpillars (cabbage looper, fall armyworm, cutworm, corn earworm), leafhoppers, grasshoppers, leaf-feeding beetles (e.g. Conotrachelus seniculus), leafminers, spidermites

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 blight (Phomopsis amaranthicola), striped flea beetle. 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.  Varieties differ in susceptibility to:  Phomopsis. This crop is susceptible to many of the same pests as pigweed.  This crop is in Crop group 4: Leafy Vegetables (Except Brassica Vegetables) and subgroup 4A: Leafy Greens Subgroup. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  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.

Phomopsis amaranthicola on leaves and stems of tricolour amaranth Striped flea beetles on amaranth
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Brownbridge, M., Bilal, A., and E. Elford. 2010. World crops variety trials and demonstration. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre/OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  3. McKeown, A.W., Bakker, C. and S. Westerveld. 2011.  Demonstrating agronomic efficiency, apparent nutrient recovery and best management practices in sweet potatoes, Asian vegetables and broccoli. Report to the Ontario Soils and Crops Nutrient Management Program.
  4. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA Herb Demonstration Garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Palada, M.C. and L.C. Chang.  2003.  Suggested Cultural Practices for Vegetable Amaranth. 
  2. Singh, B.P. and W.F. Whitehead. 1996. Management methods for producing vegetable amaranth. p. 511-515. In: J. Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops. ASHS Press, Arlington, VA.