Amaranthus tricolor: characteristics and most important care

Within the Amaranth plants is the Amaranthus tricolor, also known as parrot wing. What do you know about him? At first glance he looks like a Coleus, but he goes further.

If you want to discover what the characteristics of this plant are, as well as the care you should provide for it to be perfect, this guide will help you with everything. Do you take a look?

How is the Amaranthus tricolor

leaf details

Besides parrot wing, the Amaranthus tricolor is also known, and marketed, as king cape, common parrot or macaw. It is an ornamental plant. In fact, the most beautiful thing about it are its leaves, which can have red, yellow and green tones at the same time. Its origin is in tropical Asia although now it can be found in many more places.

Visually, we are talking about a grass that grows vertically and can easily reach more than a meter in height (and between 30 and 60 centimeters in width). It has a fairly thick stem from which glabous and angular branches branch and grow. These initially produce green leaves, also glabous and hairy. They are quite long (they can measure up to 8 centimeters) and also have a petiolate and oval shape. Now, these leaves are turning into another color, especially the uppermost ones, since they change to red and yellow.

The Amaranthus tricolor also blooms, although in this case the flowers are not as pretty as the leaves are. The flowers are green and occur in globose clusters (where you have both male and female flowers. And after them the fruit is obtained, where you will find small seeds, either black or brown, that you can plant.

The truth is that, both when you see it in person and in the photo, it reminds you of some Coleos, especially those that have the same shade on the leaves. Now, it’s a little easier to care for this one than Coleus.

Amaranthus tricolor care

details of the tricolor leaves

As we have told you before, the Amaranthus tricolor does not cause too many problems when it comes to caring for it. It is true that you must keep in mind what it is like and what it needs to be in good health and develop properly. But overall, It will not be difficult for you to have it at home, either in a pot or in the garden.

We leave you here the most important care as a guide.

location and temperature

We recently told you about another Amaranth. And in that case we told you that better in full sun. Well, with the Amaranthus tricolor we do not recommend putting it in full sun unless you live in a cold climate. If it is temperate or warm, it is best to place it in a partially shaded area so that it is protected from the hottest leaves and has some shade. By having such disparate colors, the plant can have burn problems, especially if the sun falls too much on it. Therefore, it is preferable to avoid it.

Indirect light always, and direct light early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

As for the temperature, it is adaptive, that is, it will get used to the temperature wherever you put it. Although it is better that it be in warm climates, the truth is that nothing will happen with the heat. Another thing is the cold. It does not have a good tolerance and when the temperature drops below 0ºC it can kill it.. For this reason, it is recommended that, if this happens, it is protected in winter (either with a blanket for plants, or if you have it in a pot, taking it to a more protected area.


The Amaranthus tricolor is a plant that, although it can adapt to any land, its ideal is one that is characterized by being fertile, very rich in humus, which maintains humidity and is also well drained. If you give it all that, the plant will grow happily.

For this reason, the best thing we can recommend is that you have a mixture with soil and some drainage such as bark, orchid soil and even perlite (we bet on the first two so that it has more oxygenation).


With what we have told you before, you will have seen that irrigation is important if we must make the earth always wet. Now, it is one of the most important care and, if you go too far with the water, you could kill the plant.

It is also not appropriate that you pour the water right on the trunk of the plantbut it is better to do it around it because that will encourage root growth (the secondary roots) of it and it will establish itself much better in the soil (and grow stronger).


Amaranthus tricolor

Fertilizing this plant is important, because it requires a lot of nutrients. But if you have transplanted it the same year, we do not recommend that you fertilize it (at the end of summer at the most). The subscriber must be constant especially in the spring and summer months, at a rate of once every 15 days. This can be foliar or use one that is soluble in irrigation water.

In addition, before planting it (whether in the garden or in a pot) it is recommended to apply a base of manure or compost and mix a little with the soil that is going to be added.

Plagues and diseases

Amaranths have several pests that must be taken into account. The leaf beetle, as well as caterpillars and snails will wreak havoc on the leaves of thiss, appearing bites, with holes, etc. that will spoil the appearance of the plant. Fortunately, there are remedies (both chemical and natural) that you can use to prevent them from getting anywhere near the plant.

With regard to diseases, these are related to excess or lack of lighting or irrigation.


Finally, we come to the propagation of the Amaranthus tricolor. In this case, the only way for it to work is through the seeds that the plant will give you. You should save them and plant them in spring, when temperatures are already warm.

You will have to do it in seedbeds so that the seedlings begin to grow and only when you see that they have developed a good root can you change them to a pot. It is quite a stressful process for the plants, so it is possible that some do not survive (they also go from almost constant watering, because they require a lot of water, to a more moderate one).

Do you dare to give color to your garden with an Amaranthus tricolor?

Amaranthus tricolor: characteristics and most important care

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: