Okinawa spinach (Gynura bicolor/crepioides) is a perennial spinach that is hardy, super-easy to grow and care for, highly nutritious and beautiful too. It likes warmer climates and is native to Northeastern India, Nepal, Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan and Japan. But it is now much more widely grown around the world and is easily propagated by cutting.
Have a read of this blog to find out my top tips and tricks for growing, cooking and using Okinawa Spinach in various ways.
How to eat Okinawa Spinach
Okinawa spinach is an extremely versatile leafy green. Actually, all parts of the spinach are edible – the leaves, the stems and the roots.
Every day, I harvest some of the Okinawa Spinach in my garden and use it for all sorts of cooking.
Okinawa Spinach is great in:
- miso soup,
- and just about anything that you would normally put spinach in.
It is also delicious in beverages – hot or cold
Okinawa spinach is great when added with other greens into a green juice, or even mixed into a smoothie. The stems and roots can be used to make a tea – just use a strainer as you would with any leaf tea. Enjoy!
My top tip: It is a good idea to add these greens at the end of your cooking – they are best with just a few minutes of cooking. If you overcook it, it tends to become a slimy texture so keep an eye on it.
Makes a great edible ground cover
Okinawa spinach can be used as an edible ground cover or an edible border plant. I recommend using it to make the most of your garden space. This can be done by growing it under taller vegetables like kale, and eggplant and around the edges of fruit trees.
Fun Fact: The Okinawa Spinach is actually considered both a vegetable and a medicinal herb.
Attractive two-tone leaf
It is a very attractive plant to have in a vegetable garden. The shiny leaves have different colours on either side, making them very appealing. The upper side is a deep green and underneath they are purple.
The leaves look great in salad and keep their two-toned look. Unfortunately, they do lose the purple colour when cooked but they still taste great.
Caring for Okinawa Sinach
Once Okinawa Spinach is established, it requires almost no care or attention. I recommend continuing to tip prune the plant, so it creates a lovely large mound of tender edible leaves up to around 70 cms high. Keeping it dense also helps to stop the weeds coming through. Watch the video above to get an idea of what this mound looks like.
Okinawa spinach grows well in full sun and partial shade and is quite heat tolerant, although not very drought tolerant. It does need moisture to thrive and loves a mulched garden. In dry times, it won’t die just stop producing new growth.
Don’t have a garden? Grow it in a Container!
Okinawa spinach grows well in a pot or hanging basket. It can also grow indoors, but be sure it’s put somewhere it has good light – on a windowsill for example.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have found the blog useful. If you have any questions or would like to suggest a topic for me to cover next, please leave a comment below.