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Malabar Spinach

Botanical Name
Basella alba
Min Zone
10
Height
2 to 6 feet
Width
2 to 3 feet
Flowers
Inconspicuous, purple-white, flowering occurs with less than 12 hours of daylight or in dry conditions
Fruit
Purple to black drupe
Light
Full sun
Soil
Moist, well-drained, fertile
Planting & Care
  • In zone 7 and warmer, direct sow 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost date
  • In colder zones or to get an earlier crop, start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost date
  • Scarify seeds by nicking the seed coat to speed germination, which can take up to 3 weeks or more
  • Wait until all danger of frost has passed before transplanting seedlings into the garden
  • Space transplants 12 inches apart
  • Train onto a sturdy trellis or other support
  • Provide consistent moisture to prevent flowering and bitter tasting leaves
  • Well adapted to high temperatures
  • Does not perform well when daytime temperatures remain below 80°F or if night time temperatures consistently dip below 59°F
Problems
None serious
Varieties

Rubra or Red Stem - very ornamental, burgundy stems, leaves have pink veins

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