One day if was this beautiful reddish purple and the next it was clear. The leaves can be picked individually (the younger ones toward the top of the vine are the most tender), or you can snip off the tips of the shoots and cook them stems and all. Use leaves and young stems sparingly in salads or stir-fries. How do I get it to flower and then to bear fruit, as I think the berries are just so pretty! For months now, I have been enjoying the leaves in soups. This year it was running loose in my hostas, so it tolerated shade very well. A most attractive vine, climbing up my tomatoes ever so beautifully, I let it go because it is so aesthetic. I am in the Southwest where it is hot with a south facing patio with awning. I have this plant in my home, it is well grown and looks gorgeous. I’m saving any seeds and hope to save the mother vine by bringing it in this winter. Malabar spinach is native to Africa and Southeast Asia and a relative of many tropical vines, such as Madeira vine. Red Malabar spinach plant cannot tolerate frost and its growth is very slow if temperatures are below 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C.). Thank you, Carol. Thank you for the time you spend making us gardeners happy with your wisdom. Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. I also grew it just in reach of my bean trellis but was careful not to get manure too close to the beans and planted a little less malabar so it would not shade and crowd the beans. Thank you. I am delighted to find this forum. You can also use it like spinach in soups and stews. Can you tell me what size would work well? I also stick it into a sandwich in place of lettuce. Is this the normal taste? I live just above Houston, Texas, and this plant is in the ground. A real garden conversation piece. Red Malabar climbing spinach really prefers heat and bright sun, much like me! It’s recommended to use a cabbage leaf at the top to keep the veggies below the brine. We live in Long Island and this year I planted this spinach from seed in March. I am so excited to be growing Malabar spinach. Any more recipes? Is there a green stemmed variety as well? Blended it in with romaine in a salad tonight, and it was great! Easy to grow, versatile in the kitchen, and delicious to eat, this vigorous vine is unrelated to true spinach (Spinacia oleracea) but produces abundant large meaty leaves that are remarkably spinachlike in taste and form. Now it is several meters long shooting off in all directions. 5 weeks later we had a very warm spell and this spinach looks like a monster vine. I am delighted to find this. Fun vine to grow! It has begun to propagate on its own in other spots of my lawn, however, so I would call it an invasive plant. I have it growing in partial shade as I noticed that it does wilt when it is too dry. Believe it or not we get 4-5 cold snaps a winter where it can get to 15%F and stay below freezing for up to two consecutive days. It has consumed the trellis we planted it next to. We were both sure the slugs and snails wouldn’t like it, but they do! The combination knocked my socks off! We had an unusual early and warm spring, but I thought spinach liked it with a little chill. It’s a spectacular addition to my other plantings. Is there anything I need to do to encourage seeds for next year? Thank you. If so, please share! Any other suggested recipes that don’t include coconut? I will put up with it, though, because it is not only a delicious, edible plant, it is absolutely beautiful as well. Native to India and Indonesia (Malabar is a coastal region in southwestern India), the plant is used in traditional cuisines as far westward from its point of origin as Japan and eastward as Africa. So glad to find so many other folks talking about it. I use it in green smoothies and also in stir-fry. Outdoor temperatures at the time of planting were by far the most important factor. Now in early September the plant is magnificent. Malabar spinach excels in warm, tropical areas, where it can easily grow a foot per day. Thank you for answering my question, and yes, I really love this plant! Malabar spinach grows eight to ten feet tall and wide and produces inconspicuous white-tinged pink flowers in its leaf axils. I live in Houston, Texas, and planted some last year. I recently bought property in Old Fort, NC. Have decided to try overwintering them as house plants near a sunny window, as the greenhouse is unheated and gets quite chilly on winter nights. Scarify the seed with some sandpaper to speed up germination. Steamed malabar spinach is great and will yield more than conventional spinach due to its fleshy nature. Here in Chicago my vines will keep growing up through end of October, early November. I’ve never grown it, but thought I knew what it was since I had just ordered seeds for the plant. Do I pinch the plant back to increase larger leaves on vine as well as cause side shoots? Enjoy! We tried to eat it because it was green. In Fact, it can be invasive to a vegetable garden. The Garden has reopened! Is there a risk of this becoming an invasive plant here in southern New Mexico? Should they be removed to give more energy to the foliage? Gratitude For The Garden – Being Grateful For Each Growing Season, 7 Reasons To Do Your Garden Shopping Locally, Thankful Beyond Words – What Represents Gratefulness In My Garden. It has tolerated the heat, full sun, and torrential summer rains great. Thanks! I read somewhere it has hydrogen, it will make problem to health. The plant is also much better suited for summer growing than its better-known namesake. Judith: Try making a web search for recipes using some of the names Basella alba goes by in its native regions. The thick red stems contrast wonderfully with the round, highly textured, two- to four-inch-long dark green leaves. Those of us in northern and temperate climes will be forced to start seeds indoors 6 weeks before our last frost. An interesting tidbit of red-stem spinach info is that it is an heirloom that is not a true spinach. I live in subtropical west Australia and have this vine. Then I purchased the seeds and scored and soaked them and most of them came up! The second planting a couple of weeks later took off like crazy (almost 100% germination). It is also perfectly at home in a container surrounded by annual summer flowers or fragrant trailing herbs. Although the name is confusing, since the plant is not related to spinach, you can use the leaves and stems in the same way. Can anyone tell me if seedlings usually take awhile to get going, or are we missing something to give them what they need to grow well? This is the first year I am growing malabar spinach in my garden (12 to 14 planned). I have them growing on the roof in NYC, where it is about to get very cold. For example, morning glory is a pest to cotton farmers here in the Rio Grande Valley. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Lots of good eating. I would like to know if the afternoon sun would be acceptable. Simply love this plant. This year, little plants sprouted spontaneously from dropped seed once the weather warmed up. A friend gave me a little plant about 10 cm. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and my vine is growing nicely in a pot. Can anyone help steer me where to get them? The resulting garden will knock your socks off with the swaying foliage and interlocking colors. One of my favorite hot-weather vegetables is red-stemmed Malabar spinach, Basella alba 'Rubra'. As a thank you for joining our campaign, we’ll gift you our brand new eBook,. Since red-stemmed Malabar spinach can lose a lot of its red color when cooked, perhaps it is best utilized (visually speaking) in raw dishes. It heals!!! I never water it. It has heaps of berries too. I live in Orlando area and would like to find a few of these plants. They did well, growing long roots. It never wilted in the heat and the bugs hardly touched it. Does anyone know what it is? The foliage is considered to be the palatable part of Malabar spinach, although the fruit is not toxic and is used for coloring food. Any other ideas besides food coloring? Kind regards, Carol. The plant grew very fast and beautiful. Any suggestions? It use to be a nursery, so I’m finding all kinds of plants all over the place. I live in North Texas. The small plants pierced through the soil in about 21 days. Do not let it boil. Has anyone attempted to preserve Malibar leaves for out-of-season use? First year with this plant and I love it! Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. We have eaten in salad, soup, stir fry. I also love using it fresh topped with tuna salad. I would not cook it unless I had more. Temperatures have been dipping to the mid ‘50s at night, and we seem to be getting more rain than sunshine these days.