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OKINAWA SPINACH GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Gynura crepioides
Okinawa spinach, Hong tsoi, Okinawa lettuce
Native to Indonesia
Okinawa Spinach is a dense, low growing plant to 70 cm high. Easily the most low maintenance perennial leaf vegetable;
it is a hardy plant and relatively pest-free. Thriving in warm, wet conditions Okinawa Spinach does best in subtropical
and tropical areas; it is sensitive to frost. An attractive plant with shiny leaves that are green on top and purple
underneath; the flowers are very small and orange. It grows best in full sun to partial shade. It needs ample water,
rich, fertile well-drained soil that is kept mulched and prefers a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.
- Food: It is a very nutritious vegetable, eaten raw or cooked. The leaves and young
shoot tips are steamed, used in stir fry, tempura, stews, and soups. Try not to overcook it as it can become slimy.
The leaves have a crisp, nutty taste with a faint hint of pine. In Okinawa the leaves are often fried and served as
tempura. It can also be steamed with rice if it is added for the last 7 minutes of cooking time. This leafy green is
also known as cholesterol spinach, and there are many claims that it lowers cholesterol. Young leaves have a much
better flavour than the older leaves.
- Edible Landscaping: The vivid leaf colour makes this a good choice as a background
plant in ornamental beds. Okinawa Spinach can be used in landscaping as a groundcover in full sun (with enough water)
or it does well in partial shade. It is very adaptable to container gardening and hanging baskets and will grow inside
on a windowsill with good light.
- Recommended Planting Time: Cuttings are best taken when the soil temperature is at least
25°C. Rooting the cutting in water before planting will improve results. The plant responds well to pruning, rapidly
becoming bushy. Pruning also prolongs its life.
- Planting Depth: Cuttings 10 - 20 cm long should be half buried in potting mix and kept
- Spacing: Space plants at 60 cm apart.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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