How to grow Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach growing vine of the genus Basella also known as Basella alba. Malabar spinach evergreen perennial but in cold climate grow as annual plant also used as ornamental plant, grow in mediterranean, subtropics, temperate, tropics climate and growing in hardiness zone 11+ as perennial, 6+ as annual.

Malabar spinach leaves

Leaves edible, the size 2-20 cm, structure is fleshy thick, oval to heart shape, the color in the green cultivar is light green in the red cultivar it’s dark red.

Stem edible recommend using the young stems because the older stem become fibrous.

Flower edible small white with pink.

Fruit edible small purple black fruit with big seed in the middle the fruits are edible and tasteless

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Requirements for Malabar spinach growing and care:


What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Seed/ Vegetative Reproduction

Is it necessary to use vegetative reproduction?
No but it’s possible

Difficulties or problems when growing:
Very aggressive

Planting season:
Spring as annual (spring to autumn)

Pests and diseases:

Pruning season:
All year

How to prune:
When the stem start to grow into other stems it become hard to collect the leaves

Size of the plant?
2-8 m, 6-24 feet

Growth speed in optimal condition:
Fast growing

Water requirement:
Average amount of water / big amount of water

Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun / Half Shade

Is it possible to grow as houseplant?

Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:

Blooming information

Bloom season:
Spring / Summer / Autumn

General information about the flower
Small flower white with pink

Thinning the bloom:
Recommend to thinning the flower but it’s a lot of work

Pollination is done by:
Bees, fly

Edible Fruits

Fruit harvest season:
Spring / Summer / Autumn

Fruits pests or diseases:
Bird / pigeon

What can be done with big quantities of Malabar spinach fruits?
Juice, eaten raw

Work requirements on the fruit:
No special requirement

How long does it take to bear fruit?
1-2 month

Grow from seeds

Sowing requirement:
Black-gray seeds, 2-4 mm, clean the seeds from fruit leftover

Saving seeds until sowing:
Room temperature, dark and dry place

Sowing season:

Planting spacing:
10 cm, can be less

Depth of Sowing:
1-2 cm

Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist, rich soil

Watering requires for Seeds:
Big amount of water

Germination time:
2-10 weeks

Condition of seedling:
Moist, sun,

Do the seeds require burying?

Vegetative Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction Method:
Cutting, bending a branch over and covering it with soil

Preferred time for vegetative reproduction:
Spring / Summer / Autumn

Time to grow roots in vegetative reproduction:
1-4 weeks

Treatment for vegetative reproduction:
take branch with 3 wood knot cut the leaves, put the stem in the water and change the water every day, or put it in the moist soil and keep it wet, bend the branch into the soil break it little but keep the connection with the mother plant

Edible leaves

Leaves harvesting season:
Spring / Summer / Autumn (in tropic all year)

How to harvest the leaves?
Next to the steam, young leaves can cut with the stems

Information about leaves:
Oval to heart shape, the color in the green cultivar is light green in the red cultivar it’s dark red

Uses of Malabar spinach leaves:
Eat raw, salad, cooked, Casserole, soup

Scientific name:

Basella alba

Blooming Seasons

Edible Parts

Culinary Uses

Flower Colors


Harvest season

Ornamental parts

Plant growing speed

Plant life-form

Plant uses

Planting season

Plants sun exposure

Watering plants

Hardiness zone