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Growing Malabar Spinach from Seeds: Tips for Successful Planting and Harvesting

If you are looking to add some color and flavor to your garden, then consider growing malabar spinach. This climbing plant is not only full of nutrients, but it also produces a rich-colored dye from its purple flesh berry. Learn more about how to properly manage and grow this warm season vegetable in your garden with our helpful guide.

Growing and Harvesting Malabar Spinach

  • Malabar spinach is an easy vegetable to grow from seed.
  • The small rounded seeds can be used to begin the growing process of this warm season vegetable.
  • Planting Malabar spinach outdoors should not be done until a few weeks after the danger of frost has subsided.
  • To ensure successful growth, it is best to start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.
  • It will only take 10 days to 3 weeks for the seeds to start sprouting.

Growing Red Malabar Spinach Indoors

  • Red Malabar spinach can also be grown indoors, with the same seeding process.
  • The seeds should be planted shallowly at a spacing of 6 inches in a pot.
  • This will provide an attractive addition to any indoor garden.

Propagation

  • In addition to seeds, Malabar spinach can be propagated by dropping berries.
  • These will reseed and allow for volunteer seedlings to grow in the garden.
  • These seedlings can then be transplanted where desired.
  • The purple flesh of the ‘Basella rubra’ berry can also be used to create a rich-colored dye.
  • This is an excellent way to add color and texture to any craft project or textile.

Growing Conditions

  • Malabar spinach prefers full sun and moist soil with a PH level of between 6.5 and 6.8.
  • The plant can be grown in pots or in a garden with a trellis or up a wall to provide support for the climbing vines.

Harvesting

  • When it comes to harvesting Malabar spinach, all summer and into the fall, or until the plant begins to bloom, you can continue to pick the leaves.
  • There are a lot of dark purple berry flowers that will eventually appear at the end of each stem.
  • The question then becomes: should you let these flowers bloom?
Growing Malabar Spinach
Easy to grow from seed
Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost
Plant outdoors after danger of frost has subsided
Red Malabar spinach can be grown indoors
Propagate by dropping berries
Malabar spinach prefers full sun and moist soil
Harvest leaves all summer and into fall

Harnessing the Benefits of Malabar Spinach Seeds

The answer to this question is yes, because the Malabar spinach seeds are also a valuable resource. What is Malabar spinach seeds used for? Agar (vegetable “gelatine”) dishes, sweets, and pastries use this natural food colorant. The Malabar spinach thrives in warm, tropical areas, where it can easily grow one foot each day.

To harvest the seeds, wait until they have turned brown and dry on the vine. Collect them into a bag or basket and hang them upside down in a cool place with plenty of air circulation until they are completely dried out before storing them away for future planting or cooking purposes.

Using these natural resources of Malabar spinach can be beneficial to any gardener or cook looking for an interesting flavor boost to their recipes!

Benefits of Malabar Spinach Seeds
Natural food colorant
Thrives in warm, tropical areas
Can grow one foot each day
Valuable resource for gardeners and cooks
Seeds can be harvested and stored for future use

Is Malabar Spinach a Nightshade?

One of the most common questions asked about Malabar spinach is whether or not it is a nightshade. The term Malabar nightshade,” which is also known as “Malabar spinach,” refers to twining herbaceous vines from the genus Basella (family Basellaceae). This species of plant does not belong to the Solanaceae family, commonly referred to as the “nightshades.” As such, Malabar spinach does not contain any of the toxic alkaloids that are found in true nightshades.

This means that people who are sensitive or allergic to other members of this family can safely enjoy Malabar spinach without having any adverse reactions.

Planting and Harvesting Malabar Spinach

When planting Malabar spinach, it is important to know what not to plant with it. A wonderful companion to Brassicas, eggplants, leeks, lettuces, peas and radishes is Malabar Spinach. However, they won’t do well if planted next to potatoes. Additionally, they should be planted in moist soil and full sun with a pH level of between 6.5 and 6.8 for optimal growth and health of the plant itself.

It is also important to note that this vegetable should not be harvested too early or too late as it can affect the flavor of the leaves as well as its nutritional content – harvesting when the leaves are young will provide more tender leaves that are richer in vitamins A & C than mature ones would be!

Planting Recommendations

When planting Malabar Spinach, it is recommended to plant it with the following vegetables:

  • Brassicas
  • Eggplants
  • Leeks
  • Lettuces
  • Peas
  • Radishes

It is also important to avoid planting Malabar Spinach with potatoes.

Optimal Growing Conditions

For optimal growth and health of the plant, Malabar Spinach should be planted in:

  • Moist soil
  • Full sun
  • Soil with a pH level of between 6.5 and 6.8

Harvesting Tips

To ensure the best flavor and nutritional content, it is recommended to harvest Malabar Spinach when the leaves are young. Mature leaves may be tougher and less rich in vitamins A & C.

The Legal Status of Malabar Spinach

Another important factor to consider when growing Malabar spinach is whether or not it is an invasive species. Due to its ability to self-seed easily, if not managed properly the plant can become quite invasive. To prevent this from happening, you should either remove the berries or prevent the vines from flowering. This way, you will be able to enjoy fresh Malabar spinach without having it take over your garden!

It is also worth noting that with proper management and attention, Malabar spinach can be a great addition to any garden as it provides excellent flavor and nutrition in addition to being aesthetically pleasing.

In recent years, there have been attempts to make Malabar spinach legal in certain states including Georgia. According to Ayesha Rascoe, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, “An Asian staple called water spinach is illegal in most states because it’s considered an invasive species. A decades-long effort to make leafy green legal in Georgia is succeeding.” This would be a major step forward for the cultivation of Malabar spinach as it would give gardeners more freedom to grow and enjoy this nutritious vegetable without fear of breaking the law.

Tips for Growing Malabar Spinach

To prevent Malabar spinach from becoming invasive, follow these tips:

  • Remove the berries
  • Prevent the vines from flowering

By doing so, you can enjoy fresh Malabar spinach without having it take over your garden.

How to Promote Bushier Growth in Malabar Spinach

In addition to its legal status, another question that is often asked about Malabar spinach is how to make it bushier. Pruning and pinching the vines can help promote bushier growth with more edible leaves. The best way to do this is by using scissors or a knife to cut the leaves and tender new stems 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) long. Aggressive pruning by Malabar will not harm the plant, and picking a lot of the plant will signal that it will become even bushier as it grows.

Here are some tips to promote bushier growth in Malabar spinach:

Tips
Use scissors or a knife to cut the leaves and tender new stems 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) long.
Aggressive pruning by Malabar will not harm the plant.
Picking a lot of the plant will signal that it will become even bushier as it grows.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a bushier and more productive Malabar spinach plant.

Conclusion

Malabar spinach is a wonderful plant to grow indoors or outdoors. It is easy to grow and has a lot of uses. It is important to keep in mind that it can become an invasive species if not managed correctly. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the plant and remove berries or prevent the vines from flowering. If you want to grow this plant, it is best to start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost and then transplant them to the garden. With proper management, Malabar spinach can be a great addition to any garden.