A Small Vine For The Edible Landscape

Sep 16, 2017 | Love This!

Name: Basella rubra aka Malabar spinach

Type of Plant: A tropical vine that can grow to about 6 feet tall in one growing season. Although this is not really a spinach, it has leaves that taste and cook up like that leafy vegetable, hence the common name.

Why I love this: This is a small vine that is decorative and appropriate for obelisks and trellises. A great plant for the edible landscape because it’s both ornamental and tasty!

A Word to the Wise: Because this is a tropical plant, it doesn’t really get going until the temperatures rise and the hours of daylight are long. Therefore, if you want it to grow and produce leaves more quickly, start it in a greenhouse or another very bright, protected location in late-April and plant outside in the garden at the end of May.

Early in the season this is how Malabar spinach looks. These leaves grow larger as the season goes on, and can be harvested to use in any dish you would cook with regular spinach.

Basella rubra has red stems – B. alba has green stems. They are both attractive and decorative in the garden.

This plant flowers in response to decreasing hours of daylight. So now, in mid-September it’s filled with these sweet blooms.


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