Growing NZ Spinach, also Warrigal greens

Tetragonia expansa : Aizoaceae / the fig-marigold family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
              S S      
                  T T T

(Best months for growing NZ Spinach in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 64°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 18 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-10 weeks. Pick the tips.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Does better if alone.
  • NZ Spinach

NZ spinach has green, triangulated leaves and a spreading habit.

This is a coastal plant which natively grows on dune edges. It survives salt-spray in coastal gardens.

It can withstand hot, dry summer weather when real spinach tends to die off. Will self-sow and become widespread.

Soak seeds for one or two hours before sowing as the outer skin is hard.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating NZ Spinach

Can be used as a substitute for real spinach in cooking. Pick the growing tips at about 8 - 10 cm (4 - 6 in).

To remove oxalates it's a good idea to blanch the leaves for 3 minutes or so, then rinse the leaves in cold water before using them in salads or for cooking. (ABC TV)

Your comments and tips

12 May 10, Bryan Clark (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
New Zealand Spinach grows well in Alice Springs, but I am finding it difficult to obtain seed for same in Australia.
13 May 10, Grahame (Australia - temperate climate)
Eden seeds have NZ spinach seed (Warragul greens is the other name).
23 Sep 10, Jay (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Thanks Grahame, I so love that people are commenting on Eden seeds. Organic seeds are the only ones to buy. GM seeds are a serious threat to the freedom of gardening. only brands that are organic will re-seed properly and grow again and again. We gardeners must maintain the simple right to grow organic, healthy food.
08 Oct 10, Geoff Clarke (Australia - temperate climate)
I presume Warrigal Green can be propogated from cuttings.Appreciate any advice.
13 Nov 11, Wauker (Australia - temperate climate)
Geoff, just came across this message board. Yes these can be grown from cuttings, like lawn runners in fact. I find this vegetable the same as English spinach, it doesn't leave that metallic taste that the silver beet leaves you with.
19 Oct 10, Jeanie kirk (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a small amount of Warrigal green seeds to give away
28 Oct 12, (Australia - arid climate)
Hi Jeanie I am very interested in your Warrigal seeds. How can this be arranged? My email is bobncol@ and I am in Brisbane Cheers Bob Firth.
13 May 15, Flavia (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I would love some warrigal seeds. Could you post me some? THX Flavia
02 Nov 10, Nina (Australia - temperate climate)
please don't forget that Warrigal greens are poisonous unless blanched.
03 Nov 10, Kate (Australia - arid climate)
? I eat them all the time and don't think I've suffered any ill effects. Also the chickens seem to love them, are they poisonous for hens too?
Showing 1 - 10 of 42 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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