Spinach (Malabar) Growing Guide

Basella alba

Spinach (Malabar)

Crop Rotation Group



Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Malabar spinach is a tropical plant that tolerates neither frost nor cold soil.


Mix in a balanced organic fertiliser when preparing the planting site.


Malabar spinach is a vigorous climbing plant that needs a trellis or other support. It will quickly overtake other plants.


Single Plants: 30cm (11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 25cm (9") with 35cm (1' 1") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Plant seeds in late spring, after the soil has warmed. In cool climates, you can give plants a two-week head start indoors. After the first season, look for volunteer seedlings and move them to where you want them to grow.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Malabar spinach is highly ornamental, and is easily trained up a trellis. Some varieties have red stems. Malabar spinach is typically grown on a tower, fence or tepee style trellis. Four trellised plants will occupy a space 18 inches (45cm) square at maturity.


Clip leaves as you need them in the kitchen. When lightly steamed or stir-fried, the leaves resemble a cross between spinach and chard.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Spinach (Malabar)