Growing Guide
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New Zealand spinach

Vegetable (Warm Season) - Salad Greens

Also known as tetragonia, ice plant, everbearing spinach, everlasting spinach, perpetual spinach, Della Nuova Zelanda
Tetragonia tetragonoides
Aizoaceae Family
Synonym: Tetragonia expansa

Used like spinach in cooking and salads, this frost-tender plant is ready for harvest when spinach is on the wane, and stays productive throughout summer. Also makes an attractive foliage plant for borders and beds.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
Benefits from light shade in midsummer in warm regions.

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
Tolerates a wide range of conditions, but prefers well-drained, sandy soils, rich in organic matter, pH 6.8 to 7.0. While somewhat drought-tolerant, flavor is best with consistent moisture.

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Tender annual.

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Needs to be started inside in much of New York.

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: spreading mass

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • not native to North America - Native to New Zealand, Australia, southern South America, and some Pacific Islands, including Japan.
Special uses:
  • edible landscaping
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - “Seeds” are actually fruits containing several seeds.

Days to emergence: 14 to 21 - Soak seed 24 hours before planting to speed germination.

Seed can be saved 5 years.

Maintenance and care:
“Seeds” are actually fruits that contain several seeds. Germination is slow and uneven. Soak seed 24 hours before planting to speed germination.

In Zone 6 and warmer, direct seed after last frost about inch deep in hills spaced about 2 feet apart. Plant 3 seeds in each hill and thin to the strongest plant. In cooler zones, start seed inside 3 to 4 weeks before last frost. Transplant about 2 to 3 weeks after last frost.

While drought-tolerant, flavor is best with consistent moisture. Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Browse New Zealand spinach varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.

Most sources offer just the generic species. Occasionally the variety ‘Maori’ is listed.