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Spinacia oleracea

Spinach is a member of the Spinacia family. Its botanical name is Spinacia oleracea. The scientific name epithet oleracea means 'eaten as a vegetable'.

Spinach is a compact green, loose-leaf plant that grows up to about 30cm tall. It is grown for its oval to triangular leaves, which can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is a cool-season plant.

The leaves may be of three types: savoyed (which means crinkly), semi-savoyed (which means less crinkly) and smooth (which means not crinkly).

Spinach grows as an annual and is an edible vegetable / herb. Being an annual plant, it tends to grow best over the course of a single year. Spinach is known for its spreading habit and growing to a height of approximately 60.0 cm (1.95 feet). Popular varieties of Spinach with home gardeners are Bloomsdale long standing, Bloomsdale, Tyee, Teton Hybrid and Space.

Spinach tends to need a moderate amount of maintenance, so ensuring that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant is quite important to ensure you have a happy and healthy plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Spinach have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Spinach

  • Full Sun

  • Medium

Spinach should be kept evenly watered to ensure good growth. Feed regularily with compost tea or fish emulsion every 10 days or so. When plants are established, mulch to keep moisture levels consistent and to deter weeds.

Plant in a location that enjoys full sun and remember to water moderately. As a guideline, Spinach does best between USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and 9. Spinach needs a loamy soil with a ph of 6.0 to 7.0 (weakly acidic soil - neutral soil). Spinach is generally regarded as a half hardy plant, so remember to protect this plant from frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Spinach to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Spinach from seed

Spinach seeds germinate at relatively low temperatures, so germination does not require greenhousing or heated environments.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 3.12 inches (8.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.49 inches (1.25 cm). For optimal germination, soil temperature should be a minimum of 8°C / 46°F.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Spinach about 60 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Spinach

Spinach doesn’t tend to like being transplanted as seedlings, so sow spinach seeds directly into the ground as soon as the ground can be worked.

For a continuous harvest, try to plant every 2 – 3 weeks. Thin spinach seedlings when they are about 4 inches (10 cm) tall to prevent overcrowding (you can use the cut seedlings in salads).

Spinach is half hardy, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside - as a guideline, the minimum temperature outside should be approximately 0°C / 32°F.

Harvesting Spinach

Harvest spinach leaves as you require them from the outside of the plant – or harvest entire plants when they reach maturity.

Common Spinach problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Spinach plants:

  • Aphids

    Also known as greenfly and blackfly, Aphids are a common sap-sucking garden pest.

  • Beet leafhopper

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

  • Leafminers

  • Slugs

    A snail without a shell. A mollusc with an elongated, soft body with a shiny appearance due to the slime coating.

  • Snails

  • Curly top

  • Damping off

  • Downy mildew

  • Fusarium wilt

  • Leaf Spot

  • Spinach Blight

  • Cabbage Looper

  • Cabbage Worm

  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus

    Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) was first found in Cucumbers, hence its name - however it is not limited to affecting only that plant. Mainly transmitted by Aphids and spread mechanically by humans. Can also be transmitted by seed. Can overwinter in roots of affected plants. Also known as: banana infectious, chlorosis virus, coleus mosaic virus cowpea banding mosaic virus, cowpea, ringspot virus, cucumber virus 1, lily ringspot virus, pea top necrosis virus, peanut yellow mosaic virus, southern celery mosaic virus, soybean stunt virus, spinach blight virus, tomato fern leaf virus, pea western ringspot virus

Other names for Spinach

Spinach perpetual

Misspellings: Spinacea oleracea, Spinacia oleria

Latest Spinach Reviews

See all Spinach reviews and experiences »

Spinach care instructions

How long does Spinach take to grow?

These estimates for how long Spinach takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Spinach?

Our when to plant Spinach estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!


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