top of page

Malabar spinach has many names Phooi leaf, Red Vine spinach, Creeping spinach, Climbing spinach, Indian spinach, Alugbati, Vietnamese Spinach, and Ceylon spinach. This lush vine grows best in tropical and subtropical climates and can reach up to 14'. It has reddish-purple stems, glossy dark green leaves, and grows more rapidly than the green stem variety. The leaves are used like spinach. In cooler areas, it will not over-winter but will produce a good harvest as an annual. Also grown as an ornamental.

⦁    Warm season annual/perennial
⦁    Approx. 4in potted plant
⦁    Maturity: Approx. 60 days
⦁    Planting season: Late spring/early summer

Cultivation: Prepare fertile, well-drained soil. Avoid clay soils. Transfer the potted plant in late spring/early summer (soil temp at least 60°F) in a warm and sunny location. The plant is being grown in the greenhouse for approximately 6 – 8 weeks. Harden off plants carefully before transplanting. Partial shade may increase leaf size. Consistent moisture helps to keep plant from flowering (which can cause bitterness). Fertilize as needed. Train to a sturdy trellis. Harvest by cutting 6-8" young tips and leaves. New growth can be cut throughout the season.

Please note: Maturity, adaptability and disease tolerance may differ under your specific climate and/or growing conditions.

Culinary tips: Malabar spinach has a mucilaginous texture and is mostly used to thicken soups/stews. Use in any recipe that calls for spinach, with noodles and in stir-fries. In Japan, it is cooked in tempura, ohitashi or braised and topped with a sesame dressing.

Malabar Red Stem Spinach - Basella alba ‘Rubra’

bottom of page