Growing Malabar Spinach in Mumbai

“This dark green beauty grows with zest,

As garden athlete, it’s simply the best”

Related Topics: How to Grow, Growing OrganicallyThe Art of Propagation!

Malabar spinach is a leafing veggie that is very popular in South Indian and Konkan cuisines. It is a nutritious, cheap and versatile green that is also extremely easy to grow and propagate.

SEASONS: Malabar spinach is a perennial. It is very well suited to the tropics and can be easily sown and grown in Mumbai through the year.

PROPAGATING: This plant is very easily propagated from seed or cutting.

GERMINATING: Germinate seeds all year round. However, warmer temperatures and the monsoon humidity is always a better bet. Sow seeds in 1/4 inch holes in soft, compost-rich soil in semi shade and water well. Water daily until seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.

PLANTING OUT: Optimally, these plants should be germinated pre-monsoons and then planted out to grow rapidly through the rains and humidity. Plant out your seedlings when they are sturdy in stem after about 2 weeks of growth. If planting out cuttings, then make an oblique cut at the node of any sturdy stem, strip off foliage and top leaves, and use as a cutting. Seedlings and cuttings can be planted in 4-6 inch deep holes about 6 inches apart, in acidic, well-composted and manured, moisture retaining soil in strong sunlight. They also need to be placed near a vertical support so that your growing Malabar spinach vine will have something to lean on and grow between. Water deeply. Malabar spinach grows well in open plots and in small to medium containers.

NURTURING: Water deeply each day, twice a day in summer. This is a water-retentive, sweetish and succulent plant, and tends to attract leaf-eaters and fungus. Regular harvesting, removal of infected parts and mixed cultivation with marigold, garlic and basil will lower the risk of harmful insects and fungus. Other than that, it is a relatively easy plant to grow and is amazingly fast and productive. It will grow tall very quickly, so train it to grow along a vertical support.

HARVESTING:  Your plant will keep growing, so harvest its tender leaves at any stage of growth. Leaf production will be higher in summers than in winter. Regular harvesting of leaves will delay the onset of flowering. Once flowers are formed, leaves tend to lose their sweetness and the plant can then be used for ornamental purposes, or to collect seeds. If you plan to collect seeds then dry them thoroughly before storing in a cool, dark place. When leaf productivity declines you could cut back the plant for new growth in the monsoons, or change your crop. In the latter case, uproot, compost, replenish your soil and then use that space for growing fruiting or rooting veggies next.

malabar spinach

A healthy Malabar spinach vine, ready for harvesting

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10 thoughts on “Growing Malabar Spinach in Mumbai

  1. Disha.

    Hi liked your article could u please guide me where would i find malabar spinach seed than borage herb seed and the saplings of neem
    Im really trying to fing if u could guide me where can i get it


    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Disha, thanks for writing in. You would get Neem saplingsat most garden shops or government plant nurseries. Herb seeds are best sourced at garden shops or online at Amazon/eBay. Malabar spinach seeds are not easily available. However, if you know someone growing it, then you could get cuttings and propagate very easily. Alternatively, buy fresh, unrefrigerated Malabar spinach from the green grocer and plant the sturdy stalks in well-composted soil immmediately. For more info, pls see this link on growing Malabar spinach


  2. cuttingsomecrap

    Hi thanks very much for the article. I am trying to starta balcony garden in bombay this monsoon. When you say grow malabar spinach with garlic,marigold or basil for reducing infestation risk, do you mean grow in the same pot or in a separate pot next to it. Thanks in advance!


  3. Amaan

    Can u tell me where can I get the fruits of Malabar spinach… If know about it then plzzz tell me where I can get it… In quantity


    1. Mandy Post author

      Not sure what you mean by the fruits of Malabar spinach as this is a leafing veggie. Seeds are not sold commercially but if you could procure cuttings from friends or a nursery then it is very easy to propagate.



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