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Malabar spinach

Basella alba

Vine Spinach, Red Vine Spinach, Climbing Spinach, Creeping Spinach, Buffalo Spinach, Ceylon Spinach (Eng.), Rank spinasie (Afr.)

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Good choice for a small space garden as it grows vertically. Although named spinach, it is not in the spinach family but is eaten and prepared similarly. The plant can overgrow other plants and are considered invasive - make sure to plant where you can control it!

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Harvest tender, new leaves throughout the season. Do not let the plant flower, as this can lead to bitter tasting leaves.

Propagation

Cuttings
Make softwood cuttings during the growing season - dip in rooting hormone powder and keep moist while rooting.
Seed
Sowing time should be during spring or summer. Space seeds 30 cm apart. Germinate in 10 - 21 days. In colder areas, start seeds indoors and transplant only well after the last frost.
Layering
If a part of the growing plant touch soil, it easily roots and can be separated to plant a new plant.

Special features

Indoor plant
Grows best indoor in cold areas.
Hedge plant
Quickly rambles up any frame and can serve as hedge screen.

Geography

Origin
East Asia and India
Natural climate
Tropical

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Medicinal
High in Vitamin A, C, iron and Calsium.
Edible
Using Malabar spinach is just like using regular spinach greens. It holds better than regular spinach and does not wilt as rapidly.

Personality

Family
Basellaceae
Flower colour
Pink and White
Scent
None

Problems

Pests are few, occasionally aphids can affect the leaves. Try washing them off with a steady stream of water or, for a more severe infestation, use a systemic bug control.
Aphids
Aphids
Aphidoidea spp.

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