Malabar spinach is a beautiful edible plant that you can easily grow indoors here in the UK! You can start it from seeds initially and after that you’ll be able to take cuttings to propagate this spinach. Although it isn’t really a true spinach, it certainly tastes like it with its generously fleshy leaves. I loved growing Malabar spinach last year, by sowing seeds in spring and harvesting the leaves right through summer and winter.
The young leaves can be chopped in a mixed salad, and will give it a lemony peppery taste. However, I really love adding it to my cooking especially curries!
There are two varieties, one is green and the other red. I chose red for the colour and I must say the deep, almost purple stems and tinged leaves make it a gorgeous vining and edible plant in your home.
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Growing Malabar Spinach from Seeds
Malabar seeds can be bought online. I like to use sowing compost for starting my seeds but use any new compost that you may have. I have found that soaking my seeds overnight helps them to germinate more easily.
I sow my soaked seeds 1 cm deep in a pot with holes at the bottom for good water drainage. Water generously, cover and place in a warm spot. You can use a clean plastic bag to cover or any lid to retain the moisture and humidity. Not sure if I mentioned it but they love warmth!
The seeds will germinate in a week or two so keep an eye as they could start popping up earlier. As soon as you as spot them, remove the cover and place them on a bright warm windowsill. Keep the compost moist and they will grow very quickly!
As soon as they grow their second set of leaves, also called true leaves, you can transplant them into their own pots. Fill the pots with new multipurpose compost for the Malabar seedlings. I have found that they prefer to grow in their own individual pots.
They will need support as they grow because these are vining plants. You can trail them around a window or patio door too as long as it has a sunny spot, it’ll thrive. I love my handmade trellis and it was perfect for my indoor Malabar spinach last season!
Harvesting Malabar Spinach
You can start picking as soon as they have about 8-10 leaves. Pick the largest ones so that the smaller younger ones will keep growing. You can also let the plant grow and take a larger harvest from your plant as it matures.
The trick is not to let it flower, pretty as they are! Snip the flowering stems off. Preventing Malabar spinach from flowering will allow it to keep producing leaves for harvesting and eating. My one plant gave me so many harvests over summer and the colder months that I only let it go to flower in early spring.
The flowers are gorgeous which turn into deep purple seeds .. almost black with a pink centre! These can be easily be dried indoors for more seeds to sow the following season.
Growing from Cuttings
These root so easily, it’s almost child’s play! Simply cut part of the growing vine and leave in a jar of water. Refresh the water every few days and within a week or two the cuttings will root. Plant these in some multipurpose compost and you will have new plants for your home or share with friends and family. They’ll love you for it!
So I hope you’ll be adding Malabar Spinach to your list this season for a beautiful indoor plant that you can enjoy eating!