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Growing longevity spinach in zone 8

 
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
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I'm going to document my progress trying to grow longevity spinach (Gynura procumbens) here in western Washington. This is a subtropical plant that normally doesn't grow in areas below zone 9.

I just recieved 2 rooted cuttings in the mail today. They were very root bound but otherwise seem nice and healthy.

Despite being a subtropical plant it doesn't really like full sun. This makes it a challenge to grow here since most warm micro-climates rely on the sun to warm them up.

So I decided to plant mine along the south side of my house in a small raised bed next to my tree collards. The tree collards are on the east side of the longevity spinach and provide some shade. On the west side is a chimney that provides some more shade. There is a window where sun will hit the longevity spinach but it's not very long and my tomatoes will provide a bit more shade later in the middle of summer.

But there will still reflected light and heat so I'm hoping that is enough to push the zone up to 9 in that spot.

To help get the plants established I'm using some branches to provide some additional shade. I will remove these once the plants are established.

They will likely die back in winter but should survive and come back in the spring. I will give them some extra mulch at the end of summer to help them out. I'm also going to take some cuttings and root those inside as backup.

If all goes well this will become an abundant perennial green that I can harvest all summer long.

I will post some pictures soon and updates occasionally to track how they're doing.

Wish me luck!
 
Daron Williams
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Time to share some pictures! The following pictures show the 2 plants right after I got them out of most of their packaging, and where I planted them.

I'm trying out something new to protect them from slugs. I've added mint leaves and stems as mulch around them (on top of a layer of wood chips). I saw an interesting video showing slugs avoiding dried mint. Not sure if fresh mint will work but I thought it wouldn't hurt to try and if nothing else perhaps the slugs will eat the mint and leave the longevity spinach alone. I will check later tonight to see if there are any slugs on them.

I put up some sticks and rosemary cuttings to basically make a cage over the 2 plants. The reason is that longevity plants prefer a bit of shade and according to the seller this is especially true for young plants that were just planted. I'm basically using the branches and cuttings as a form of shade cloth. I really hope that the longevity spinach plants will form a ground cover that grow under the other plants that are growing nearby--especially my tree collards.
sheltering-longevity-spinach.jpg
Sticks and rosemary cuttings working as "shade cloth"
Sticks and rosemary cuttings working as "shade cloth"
planted-longevity-spinach.jpg
Hard to see the plants but you can see all the mint leaves and stems I added around them as mulch and to help protect against slugs.
Hard to see the plants but you can see all the mint leaves and stems I added around them as mulch and to help protect against slugs.
longevity-spinach.jpg
My 2 new longevity spinach plants
My 2 new longevity spinach plants
 
pollinator
Posts: 377
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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So many great ideas in this posting, Daron! Where did you get your plants? Have you tasted it? What's it like?
 
pollinator
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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I received a small Longevity Spinach plant from someone in Birmingham over the winter.  I trimmed the tips and planted in small pots and they all grew. I may have messed up by putting them in the full sun.  I still have the main plant in a pot and will plant under a tree.
 
Daron Williams
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
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Diane Kistner wrote:So many great ideas in this posting, Daron! Where did you get your plants? Have you tasted it? What's it like?



Thanks! I got them for Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1933904866

I'm not sure what the taste will be--I haven't tried it yet. Sounds like it tastes a lot like other greens with some people thinking it has a strong taste and other saying it's bland. But seems like it's used a lot by people in salads. I figure I will need to try it out in different meals assuming it grows well. I will let you know what I think of its taste once I have the chance to try it.
 
Daron Williams
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
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Dennis Bangham wrote:I received a small Longevity Spinach plant from someone in Birmingham over the winter.  I trimmed the tips and planted in small pots and they all grew. I may have messed up by putting them in the full sun.  I still have the main plant in a pot and will plant under a tree.



I'm still very new to growing it but it sounds like it prefers shade. If it survives where it's at now I'm going to plant some rooted cuttings nearby but in more shade and see how they do there. I would love for them to form a nice groundcover all along the south side of my house.



Update on slugs... so far no issues. I found 2 slugs on the mint mulch but they weren't eating them and I think they might have already been there just hiding under the wood chips when I put the mint down. I removed them and since then I haven't seen any new slugs. So far all good and no damage to the new plants. They seem happy so far at least. Today has been cloudy with some rains which has been a nice way to transition them to their new home.
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