Plants in this genus are annuals and short-lived perennials often used as summer bedding, in containers or hanging baskets, as cut or dried flowers, or as houseplants. They are native to a range of habitats in temperate and tropical regions around the world. Their alternate leaves are often colorful. The large, catkin-like cymes of small red or green flowers are sometimes pendent and sometimes upright, and are followed by often attractive seedheads. There are about 60 species in this genus.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsLeaves, flowers, and seedheads are often colorful.
CareMost species need moderately fertile, humusy, moist soil in full sun, and extra water during dry periods in summer. Indoors, grow in full light with ample water and high humidity.
PropagationSow seed at 68°F in mid-spring. A. caudatus can also be sown in situ.
ProblemsWhite rust, brown rust, Cercospora leaf spot, and Phyllosticta leaf spot affect foliage, and root rot can also be troublesome. Also prone to aster yellows, viruses, and aphids.