Summer Spinach Seeds - Malabar, Red Stemmed


Basella alba v. rubra

Thick glossy leaves grow in the heat of summer on this annual vine, keeping up a steady supply of delicious leafy greens when all the others are bolting. This is the red-stemmed variety of Malabar, known as 'Rubra.' Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting. Harvest leaves and shoots for cooking like spinach or swiss chard. Train up a trellis, stake, or fence for an edible wall! These frost intolerant plants are not true spinach, but they will satisfy a mid-summer craving for nutrient dense greens when it’s too hot for most other plants.
  • Planting Information
  • How to Grow


Approx. seeds / packetAverage packet weight
Seeds / gram
Average seeds / oz
3 grams 
Planting SeasonIdeal Soil TempSunFrost Tolerance
After Last Frost50-85°FFull/PartFrost Sensitive
Sowing MethodSeed DepthDirect Seed SpacingDays to Harvest
Transplant or Direct Seed1/4-1/2"1/2"70
Mature SpacingDays to SproutProduction CycleSeed Viability
6"14-21Annual3-4 years

Greens come in different varieties ranging in color, texture, and shape of leaves. These varying types of greens come from different regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Southeastern US. Most greens grow best in moist, rich soil. To prepare the soil for planting, spread compost over the planting area, about 3” thick. Carefully turn the compost into the ground with a digging fork, loosening the soil. With a few exceptions like molokhia, amaranth, and summer spinach, all other varieties of greens (sold by Sow True Seed) thrive in cooler temperatures and do not grow well in summer. Aim to start seeds about four weeks before the last frost. Fall plantings can tolerate frost, which actually contributes to a sweeter flavor to the greens. Plant seeds just under the soil, about a half an inch apart. Once the seedlings sprout and grow their first leaves, thin them to about 8-12” apart. Your baby greens are delicious, eat your thinnings! Keep soil moist as they grow, at least an inch of water per week. Greens can be eaten at any stage, for cut and come again harvesting, pull a few leaves at a time from the outside of your plants and allow the main plants to continue to grow. When the plants are fully mature, you should cut the whole head at the base with a sharp knife. Your spring plantings will likely get bitter and/or bolt in the heat of summer, so harvest before that time and use the garden space for something else.