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How to Grow Malabar Climbing Spinach Flowers

malabar climbing spinach flower, seeds, plant

Annual / Perennial, Basella Rubra

Looking for a climbing ornamental flower that is also edible!? Climbing Spinach is for you. This climber will reward you, growing up to 8-10 feet in a single season. As it grows, you can pick young, tender leaves for salads. The leaves have a pepper-lemon flavor.

The plant has dark green leaves with burgundy vines and flower buds.  Make sure to provide a support for this plant to climb on. It will look great, climbing up a trellis or along a fence.

The plants produce small, white flowers, from summer into fall. The spent blooms will produce berries, in areas with a longer growing period.

Most gardeners will grow Malabar Climbing Spinach as a annual. In warmer weather, it can be grown as a perennial.

While Malabar Climbing Spinach is not a true spinach, it tastes great in salads, soups and stir-fries.

Plant Propagation:

Here's how to grow Climbing Spinach plants from seeds:

For an early start, sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. We recommend a heated germination mat, to increase  the speed of germination, and for a higher germination rate.

Keep the soil moist, not wet, after planting.

Germination Tip: Soak seeds overnight, prior to planting.

Seeds can also be directly sowed outdoors after the last frost date for your area.

Planting Depth: 1/4"

Days to Germination: 10 - 15 days.

Plant Spacing: 10-12" apart.

Plant Height: 8' to 10'.

How to Grow Malabar Climbing Spinach Plants:

Select a growing location that is in full sun, and where there is a trellis or fence for the vines to climb. It can be planted in a container, and grown down from a deck,

While the plants like warm weather, choose an area with partial shade in hotter areas of the country.

The plants need a rich, loose soil to help fuel growth. Mix in plenty of compost to the planting site. The soil should be able to retain water, but also be well drained.  

Give plants a regular dose of fertilizer, every 3-4 weeks.

Plants grow best in warm, rainy periods. Keep the soil moist. Water plants during dry spells, and especially in hot weather.

Mulch around plants to keep weeds down, and to retain soil moisture.

If your space, height or width, is limited, trim back plants from time to time.

Flowers Bloom: Summer through Fall

Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are infrequent. If you are using the edible leaves, avoid insecticides and fungicides.

Harvesting Spinach Leaves:

You can begin to harvest leaves for the kitchen, as soon as the plant is established, and the vine is growing well.

Young, tender leaves have the best taste and texture.


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