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Gynura crepioides, Okinawa Spinach

Short Description

Super low maintenance perennial leaf vegetable, groundcover and houseplant, all in one!

Full Description

A new type of “spinach”, Okinawa spinach is not a true spinach, but a perennial leafy green, Gynura crepioides. Native to Indonesia, it doubles as an ornamental and edible plant, forming a dense, non-vining groundcover in full sun or partial shade. Adaptable to tropical climates it requires little, if any, maintenance. The leaves have a handsome purplish underside and are heat resistant. As a food, it makes a nice addition to salads, and the leaves and young shoots may also be steamed or used in stir-fries or tempura, soups and stews. It makes a great spinach substitute, both the stems and the leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. This green vegetable is also known as “cholesterol spinach”, and may help lower cholesterol. The leaves have a crisp, nutty taste with a faint hint of pine, and are best consumed when young. In cooler areas grow Okinawa spinach as a house plant in a sunny window. Trim the leaves as you need them. ‘Okinawa Spinach’ also makes and excellent and attractive patio plant, outside in the summer, indoors in the winter. In Japan, this bicolor vegetable is called “Handama”, “Suizenjigusa” and “Okinawa Spinach”. It is grown commercially as a vegetable in China.
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Gynura crepioides, Okinawa Spinach
Gynura crepioides, Okinawa Spinach, , large
Item #: 24323
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

30-40 days

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun, Part Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

16-18 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

26-28 inches

Planting Time The recommended time of the year in which this product should be planted.


Sow Time This is the recommended time to sow the seed for this product.

After Last Frost

Plant Shipping Information

Plants ship in Spring at proper planting time (Click here for Spring Shipping Schedule)


Item 24323 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
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How To Direct Sow Seeds
How To Direct Sow Seeds
Learn how to direct sow seeds from Burpee's expert horticulturist.
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Growing Spinach
Growing Spinach
Quick and easy growing as both a spring crop and a fall crop. Deliciously tangy, fresh or cooked.
Watch video

How to Sow

  • For optimum flavor, grow in cool weather.
  • Sow in rich soil early in spring when the ground can be worked.
  • Sow in rows 6-8 inches apart. Seeds can be broadcast thinly along rows or wide bands.  Sow ¼ inch deep. Firm lightly and keep soil evenly moist.
  • Seedlings emerge in 10-14 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
  • For continuous crops, resow every other week until the weather gets too warm.
  • In hot weather, provide shade to slow bolting.
  • For a mature harvest, thin to stand to 6 inches apart when 1-2 inches high. If growing as a baby leaf, do not thin.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
  • Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • Quick and easy to harvest.
  • Most can be cut in 30-55 days. Radicchios take up to 90 days to harvest.
  • Harvest baby leaves when 4-6 inches long.
  • Fresh salad greens can be cut at your own leisure, shortly before preparing salads.
  • Great for salads! Pick and choose leaves to combine colors, crispness and flavors from different varieties.
  • Cut when leaves are crisp, in the cool morning. Avoid harvest during times of intense heat.
  • Refrigerate the harvest to preserve until used.
Days To Maturity
30-40 days
Full Sun, Part Sun
16-18 inches
26-28 inches
Planting Time
Sow Time
After Last Frost
16 inches
Life Cycle