Alluding to the fact that alternate anthers are usually infertile (Amaranthaceae). Joy weed. Used in the main for foliage effect, these half-hardy shrubby perennials have brightly colored foliage. The flowers are insignificant and are not usually allowed to develop.
Species cultivated A. amoena, 3 inches, leaves, green veined with orange-red blotches; vars. amabilis (leaves orange-scarlet), rosea and spectabilis. A. bettickiana, 3-4 inches, leaves blotched with shades of yellow and red. Has given rise to most popularly grown forms: aurea, golden yellow leaves; magnifica, leaves similar to, though brighter than the species; paronychioides, leaves basically orange-red with olive green tints, red tips on young foliage; spathulata, 6-8 inches, stems and leaves red, underneath bronzy overtones. A. versicolor, 3-4 inches, leaves coppery red.
Cultivation An ordinary garden soil is suitable and a sunny position should be chosen. Plant 2 inches apart for massed effect. Set the plants out in May and lift in September after the first frost, when they are trimmed to 3-4 inches. Store for winter on the dry side in a temperature of 60-65°F (16-18°C). Propagate by division of stored plants in spring, rooted offsets being grown on. Cuttings can be taken in August, rooted with heat in winter and potted in spring.
photo by FD Richards