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How to Grow New Zealand Spinach

New Zealand Spinach is not a "true" spinach. It shares many of the characteristics of true spinach varieties. It also has some differences. With that said, it's perfectly fine, if you refer to these salad greens as spinach.

The two big differences are:

  1. Regular spinach is a cool weather crop. New Zealand Spinach prefers warm weather.

  2. Regular spinach is hardy, surviving frosts and even freezes. New Zealand spinach is a tender annual, and is killed by frost. 

It also requires a longer growing period, about 70 days to harvest, versus just 45 to 50 days for regular spinach.

Aside from the differences above, grow New Zealand spinach just like any other true spinach variety. You can use it in the same type of recipes, too.

Days to Maturity:

About 70 days.

Sowing Seeds:

Start plants after the last frost date in your area.

Plant seeds in rows. Sow seeds  1/2" to 1" apart. Cover very lightly, 1/2" deep, with soil. Final spacing of the plants should be 2" to 3" apart. Water lightly and daily for three to five days. Heavy watering can wash the seeds out of the soil or wash them too deeply into the soil. Provide 12" between rows.

How to Grow New Zealand Spinach Plants:

Grow plants in full sun. The plants like cool weather and lots of moisture in rich, well drained soil.

Growing spinach at a fast pace, produces the most flavorful, and tender leaves. That means plenty of water, and a healthy dose of fertilizer. Keep plants well weeded, too.

TIP: Use succession planting, by sowing a row or partial row every two to three weeks.

When using succession planting, as the plants age and lose their vigor, the next crop is ready to harvest.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable

Insects and Pests:

A variety of insects, and some animals, including rabbits, like spinach. Use a rabbit fence to keep critters out.

For insects, there are insecticides which can be applied, but require several days before you can harvest eat the spinach leaves. We try to avoid insecticides on leafy vegetables wherever possible.

Try organic sprays, and a willingness to give up some of the harvest to insects, over using pesticides. One reason most of us have gardens, is to avoid the potentially harmful pesticides.


Spinach plants are fairly resistant to most plant diseases.

Plant Problems - Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems.


New Zealand Spinach is killed by frost.

Garden Recipes:

Spinach and Mushroom Recipe

Spinach Soufflé

More of our Garden Recipes


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