Red Malabar Spinach Seed
Red Malabar Spinach
Kitazawa Seed Co
75-100 seeds per packet
days to maturity: 50 days baby; 85 full size
plant spacing: 1 square foot with trellising
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: plant getting huge
harvest notes: harvest giant paddle like leaves directly off of purple stem or clip growing tips for shoot style harvest
Red malabar spinach is a unique tropical vining plant that fits squarely in the “weird spinach-like greens” category of plants that South Floridians grow when its too hot for “normal” greens, like lettuce & arugula. Its native to India, Sri Lanka & Indonesia and is also referred to as Basella Alba, Ceylon Spinach & Libato. This plant is a water loving extremely vigorous vining plant that looks amazing in your garden when trellised properly.
This showy greens variety makes a fast growing rubbery red vine covered in dark green savoyed spinach-like leaves that taste slightly peppery with a hint of citrus. When it flowers it makes white & lavender flowers that produce neon magenta berries whose juice can be used for dyeing when ripe. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and iron, with many other vitamins and minerals in lower quantities. It has over 3 times more vitamin C than spinach, and over 1.5 times more vitamin A than kale. Young shoots are tender enough to be eaten like an asparagus-style vegetable.
Just as with normal spinach, avoid cooking this “mucilaginous” plant too long or it’ll become unpalatable and gooey. Mucilage is a super vital medicinal component and is known to have a beneficial effect on burns, wounds, ulcers, external and internal inflammation and irritations, diarrhea and dysentery, and Mucilaginous plants have a cooling energetic, which is perfectly suited for tropical areas when the days can get so hot.