Grow together - Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach is unusual in being one of the few salad crops that climb. So it has potential to help make most of small spaces.

To grow well, it does like warmth - last time I tried to grow it outside here in Newcastle it died…Indeed, I’ve never really grown it successfully, so this year I thought I’d cheat a bit and try it in the polytunnel at the allotment. But if you live in a warmer climate (even a bit further south like London would probably be OK) it should be ok outside, I think.

I sowed mine ten days ago, here it is just coming up. I’ve got it at home at the moment, inside at night, outside on sunny days. Will let it get a bit bigger before taking up to the polytunnel. Hope it will grow large enough so I can taste it this year!

Anyone else grown or growing Malabar spinach?

They are delicious and well worth it if you can give them space under cover, but definitely tropical, I find. I overwintered three plants under lights indoors in the bedroom, putting up with the sound of the clockwork timer all these months - only to bin them yesterday because they had an incurable bacteriological infection and huge spots on their leaves.

I may sow some more, or I may wait until next year as I’m running out of space in my greenhouse, and they grew so well there last year that I wouldn’t want to try them outside.

The good news is that my greenhouse is full because we’re about to get a polytunnel.


Can you see the two seedlings closest to the broom stick? They are malabar babies.

A friend has a bumper crop of malabar seedlings from her own last-year’s-seed saving. I have about a dozen poles of one sort or another in a fabric, circular planter.

I am so excited, I can’t wait to see how they do. I will be gone for the month of June, so am keeping fingers’s crossed that my neighbor will be able to water them while I’m gone.

Oops, I forgot to identify the basil growing near the malabar. There is also okra growing in this bed, and some lemongrass.


I just noticed this topic. I grew Malabar Spinach last summer and am planning on getting seeds into the ground next week. Last year I planted them in raised planters with 8 foot lattice between them and the sun (we have lots of 100+ days. They weaved in and out of the lattice and grew up past the 8 foot point and then waved their fronds in the sun. Very productive plant.

The malabar spinach has been kept inside - and so far it is doing well, ready to move on this weekend. I think I’ll put two plants in the polytunnel (to be safe) and one outside in the container garden to see how it does…

I probably should have read this thread before planting my Malabar spinach! I started them indoors and moved them out over the last three weeks and after reading this will put them in mini green house thing I’ve inherited.


They look a bit beaten up - I clearly need to step up the slug patrols!

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It’s a little bit yellow as well - which might be due not enough nutrients in the compost or that it hasn’t been able to get enough due to the cold (has is it been cold at night your way?). Hopefully it will come round with a bit of warmth.

Yes, we’ve had real swings in weather - sunny and hot in the day and then sharply cold at night. But I’ll also get some food. Thanks!

Past attempts to grow Malabar spinach outside here in Newcastle have not been very successful. So this year, I’ve put it in the polytunnel.

I wouldn’t say it has taken off yet - but it IS growing slowly. Looking forward to my first harvest.

Oh dear, the malabars aren’t very happy this year, are they! They really do crave warmth. I didn’t grow any this year, but have plenty of seeds and plan to start them off again next year and plant in our new the polytunnel. They did so well the year I grew them (in the greenhouse) that I’m sure they’ll love the polytunnel. Let’s hope they grow better for us all next year!