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How to Grow Water Spinach? Step-by-Step Guide With 5 Incredible Tips

Wanna know how to grow water spinach easily at home? If yes, you are at the right spot.

Chinese water spinach is a trendy leafy vegetable in Asian countries. Water spinach gets this name because it grows in damp soil or water.

It is a leafy green vegetable with long, hollow stalks and stems. In Cantonese, it is called “ong choy,” and in Mandarin, it goes by the name “kōng xīn cài,” which means “hollow heart vegetable” in English.

The most common name for water spinach is “kangkong.” Water spinach is most commonly enjoyed as a side dish in Asian cuisine.

This savory vegetable is sautéed, baked, or grilled and served on the side of many dishes. It can also be enjoyed by itself by adding commodities of your choice. However, you like to enjoy this leafy green vegetable; growing it home brings out the best flavor.

Today’s article will teach you how to grow water spinach using the most reliable methods.

Water spinach in a dish—how to grow water spinach?
Want to know how to grow water spinach and make great dishes? Stay with me till the end of this article—Image via Jason Goh.

How to Grow Water Spinach from Seeds?

You can easily sow water spinach with the help of seeds. You can easily buy seeds from your local nursery or an online store. You can buy the water spinach seeds from the following link. Now follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to grow and harvest water spinach.

Sowing the Seeds

You can grow water spinach in pots and gardens, but it can also thrive near water bodies like lakes or ponds.

It is usually advised to start growing the seeds indoors in a seed growing tray. Once the plants have grown to a certain height and established roots, replant them outdoors.

STEPS:

  • To grow the seedlings, sow the seeds in the growing tray about 5 to 10 mm deep.
  • Use a good quality potting mix and provide adequate water for the growing seeds.
  • Let the seedlings grow about 10 to 15 cm tall with at least four leaves.

When the seedlings reach this height, they are ready to be replanted.

  • To obtain the highest yield, space the plants 15 cm away.
  • Grow the seedlings in rows spacing 30 cm apart and leave a length of about 20 cm between all plants.

Planting the Water Spinach

If your garden’s soil has a high moisture level, use raised beds to plant seedlings.

You can either directly sow the water spinach seeds or replant the seedlings. The plants of water spinach grow roots rapidly from cutting, so it is probably the ideal way to grow water spinach.

Though using cuttings is a fast and reliable method, using seeds is just as good.

STEPS:

  • You need to ensure that the seeds aren’t older than two years.
  • Before sowing the seeds, soak them in water for at least 24 hours to encourage germination.
  • After soaking the seeds, scatter them on the garden bed or sowing trays and cover them with a 5 cm thick layer of potting mix.
  • Once your seedlings reach a height of 4 to 6 inches, they are ready to be replanted.
  • It is best to plant these seedlings in rows to encourage healthier growth.

Plant the seedlings about 6 inches apart from each other. Maintain a temperature of 20 degrees which is optimal for the germination of seeds.

Essential Tips to Remember

  • Choose a gardening site that receives full to partial sunlight throughout the day. Use healthy drainage soil to grow your plants.
  • Before planting, prepare the soil with aged manure. It is advised to prepare your soil during the autumn season so that it is ready to be cultivated in the coming spring season.
  • Even though you can start the seeds indoors, it is recommended to germinate them outdoors as replanting the seedlings is quite difficult.
  • Sow the seeds about half an inch or one inch deep and cover them lightly with soil.
  • Water your plants regularly during the growing season (spring).

Germination Time

Water spinach seeds will grow quite rapidly when you use a suitable growing medium and provide optimal conditions for growth.

It will take approximately 5 to 9 days for the seeds to germinate.

Try sowing the seeds over different intervals to achieve a longer harvest period.

Ong choy water spinach—how to grow water spinach?
How to grow water spinach? Well, by now, you must know how to grow water spinach. Now it’s time for harvest—Image via Yamaguchi.

Harvesting the Water Spinach

The water spinach plants should be harvested before they start flowering.

The first harvest of healthy water spinach is usually ready after about 4 to 6 weeks of planting the seeds, depending upon the climatic conditions.

STEPS:

  • Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the leaves.
  • Cut the mature leaves from the top of the whole plant with the stem leaving 1/3rd of the plant behind. It will allow the plant to regrow.

Avoid pulling or cutting the plant with your bare hands as it may affect its roots, leading to death.

  • Using scissors to harvest may take a little longer, but it will save your plants from root shock and give a cleaner cut that won’t kill them.
  • Harvesting the more prominent and mature leaves will allow the smaller leaves to grow. The small leaves will grow much faster and be ready to be harvested soon after the first harvest.

Growing Conditions for Water Spinach

Certain conditions must be met to ensure that your plant has healthy growth and produces a good harvest.

Providing your plant with the following optimal conditions will help you grow healthy water spinach having the perfect fresh earthy taste.

Soil Requirements

Water spinach grows best in moist soil with good drainage, high nutrition, wetness, and pH ranging between 6.0 to 7.0.

Related Article: How to Make the Best Potting Mix for Indoor Plants?

Temperature Requirements

Water spinach is a tropical plant that is not adapted to colder climates.

Climates with an average temperature below 10 degrees Celsius cannot sustain the growth of water spinach. The optimal temperature range for growing water spinach is between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.

In tropical lands, the water spinach grows all year round.

Water spinach is a perennial plant in warmer climates; however, it acts as an annual grower in slightly colder climates. Water spinach can survive heavy rainfalls, but it cannot survive frosts.

Sunlight

Since the water spinach is native to tropical and sub-tropical lands, it requires a good amount of sunlight and warmth to grow.

Exposure to full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours of the day is essential, though the water spinach plants can also grow in partial shade.

Fertilization

If you are growing water spinach in the ground, then fertilization is unnecessary as long as you treat your soil with manure.

However, liquid nitrogen-based fertilizer is recommended every other week if the soil has low nutrients or you are growing in containers.

Use a balanced fertilizer, check the package, and follow the steps mentioned.

Water spinach—how to grow water spinach?
How to grow water spinach? Follow the essential tips to grow water spinach like a pro—Image via Paresh Biswas.

Conclusion

Water spinach or kangkong is a popular vegetable in Southeast Asia and many countries worldwide.

There are a hundred ways to enjoy this vegetable, be it on the side of your main dish or the main dish itself. As gardeners, we know nothing beats the enriched flavors and freshness of your home-grown vegetables.

We have put together this article to help you learn all the tips on growing water spinach. By following our additional care requirements, you are sure to have a bountiful harvest. Tell us what your plants tasted like in the comments below!

Regards,
Happy planting!