Growing spinach at home

How to grow spinach: indoors or outdoors for healthy leaves

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

(Image credit: Poungpeth EyeEm/GettyImages)

It is easy to learn how to grow spinach and the tasty homegrown leaves are packed with nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, iron and calcium and 13 compounds that function as antioxidants and cancer fighting agents – making it an excellent choice to add to your vegetable garden ideas. 

Quick and easy to grow, you could be enjoying spinach leaves within six to eight weeks of planting. With many different varieties to choose from, if you plan carefully, and sow different types successionally, you could enjoy the green nutritious leaves year round. 

An ideal crop for vegetable garden container ideas, spinach can be grown as cut-and-come-again baby leaves to enjoy in salads or sandwiches, or leave the leaves to grow larger and mature to use in cooking, such as to add to pasta dishes or use as a side vegetable. It is a productive and highly versatile crop, making growing spinach a popular choice for small vegetable garden ideas, where every inch of space needs to be used to the best advantage. 

How to grow spinach

(Image credit: Sigmund/Unsplash)

There are a number of options for how to grow spinach. You could grow it indoors or outdoors, in pots on a terrace or courtyard along with other salad leaves such as lettuce, among other crops as part of your kitchen garden ideas, or in raised garden beds. 

'Select from one of three types of spinach. The curly leafed savoy, flat leafed or the slightly curly semi-savoy. The flat leafed types generally have the mildest flavor and their smallest leaves are sold as baby spinach,' explains gardening expert Melinda Myers .

When is the best month to plant spinach?

The best month for growing spinach will depend to a certain extent on the hardiness zone where you live. However, you want to be growing spinach during the cool weather of spring and fall, as it is a cool weather crop.  

Summer spinach cultivars: Plant summer varieties of spinach every few weeks from early until late spring. 

Winter spinach cultivars: Sow hardy winter cultivars from mid summer to early fall. 

The experts at Bonnie Plants provide the following advice for growing spinach twice a year: plant it about four to six weeks before the last frost in the spring, and again six to eight weeks before the first frost in the fall.

By sowing spinach seeds every three to four weeks as part of your planning of when to plant vegetables, you can enjoy a constant supply through the growing season.

How to grow spinach from seed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

First decide on where you want to grow your spinach crops, as some of the smaller varieties are particularly well suited to containers, for instance.  

For success in growing spinach, before sowing the seeds enrich the soil, such as by digging in homemade garden compost and a general fertilizer. This will both help the spinach to grow well, and also prevent the leaves tasting bitter.

'There is no such thing as putting too much compost in garden soil. Mix at least 2-4 inches of compost in the row before planting,' advises Simon Crawford, breeder at Burpee Europe .

'The key to success begins with getting the plants off to a good start. Plant the right varieties in a rich, organic soil. Supply lots of moisture, and don't be shy about fertilizing. Vigorous spinach is tasty spinach,' adds Simon.

Follow these steps for how to grow spinach from seed:

‘Spinach can be cut again and again and last for months and months. I sow seeds deliberately quite thickly as a cut and come again salad crop. It’s important to keep them well watered and that way you will get delicious growth,' advises Monty Don in a video for Gardeners' World .

Growing spinach in raised beds

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Choosing raised beds for growing spinach can get round the problem of your garden having poor soil or the wrong soil type for crops to grow successfully – as spinach prefers a neutral to alkaline soil.

Raised beds offer good drainage and are also easily manageable as a low maintenance garden border idea. You can fill them with rich, organic soil, working in 2-4 inches of compost prior to planting spinach seeds.

As above, sow spinach seeds in a shallow drill about 1 inch deep, each row about 14 inches apart. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to about 3 inches apart. Water and fertilize the plants regularly.

How to grow spinach in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For how to grow spinach in pots, choose a wide pot or trough so that you can space out the spinach plants, and one that is about 6-8 inches deep. Spinach works well growing in pots alongside herb planter ideas.

'One of the great advantages of container growing is that it is easy to extend the growing season. Many plants will benefit from the additional warmth found close to the house,' says Aaron Bertelsen, gardener and cook at Great Dixter and author of Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots: Planting advice and recipes from Great Dixter .

How to grow spinach indoors

(Image credit: Angèle Kamp/ Unsplash)

It is easy to grow spinach indoors on a windowsill. If you are growing herbs indoors then place your spinach crops by these so you can tend to them all at the same time.

If planting in fall, place the pots on a sunnier windowsill as there are fewer hours of sunlight. Do not allow the plants to get too cold or too hot – so do not place directly above a radiator, for instance.

If planting spinach in spring, then position the pot where it will get some shade. 

Sow spinach seeds in a pot at least 6 inches deep, and plant seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch, with each plant spaced about 3 inches apart. Keep the spinach plants well watered, although do not allow the soil to get waterlogged.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How often should you water spinach?

You should water and fertilize spinach plants regularly, but try to avoid getting the leaves wet. The is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Regular watering is especially important in periods of warm weather to prevent the plants from 'bolting' or producing flowers – if they do so the leaves will taste bitter.

Other ways to care for spinach include:

Harvesting spinach

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You can harvest spinach between 6 to 10 weeks after sowing. If you sow successionally in spring and fall, you can have spinach to harvest throughout the year. 

Summer spinach cultivars – you can generally pick summer varieties of spinach from May to October, depending on the climate in the area where you live.

Winter spinach cultivars – these can be harvested between October and April. 

'Harvest a few leaves at a time from each plant. This will allow the plants to continue producing all season,' advises Simon Crawford. 

This makes spinach a great crop to grow when gardening with children as they can continue to enjoy the fruits of their labors. This is the same as for other cut-and-come-again salad leaves, or if you're growing basil, or other leafy herbs.

Others gardening experts advise to harvest every alternate plant for use in the kitchen, giving the rest more room to grow.

Keep an eye on spinach crops as the plants usually grow quicker in warmer weather.

There are options for how to pick the leaves for a later harvest, much in the same way as when harvesting swiss chard. 'You can cut individual outer leaves when the plants are 3 inches tall and allow the inner leaves to continue to grow for later harvests. Or cut the whole head when the plant is 6 inches tall and wait several weeks for regrowth and a second harvest,' advises Melinda Myers, 

Baby spinach leaves are great for use in salads, whereas mature leaves can be wilted into soups, stews, pasta or risotto dishes, to name but a few. 

Leaves are ideally used directly after harvesting for the best flavor, and any extras can be stored in the fridge for up to 14 days.

Is spinach easy to grow?

If you've ever wondered if spinach is easy to grow, the simple answer is, yes. Like beets, it is a cool weather crop and requires minimal fuss. 

It can be grown all year round if you choose the right spinach varieties and works well in containers, too. While the most cost effective method is to grow spinach from seed, you can buy transplants often at local nurseries, or online, too, in the main growing seasons. 'These young plants will already be well on their way to maturity when you put them in your garden,' explains the experts at Bonnie Plants . 

How long does it take to grow spinach?

Spinach takes about six weeks to grow from being sown to harvesting. 

There are both winter cultivars and summer cultivars of spinach, which are sown and harvested at different times. Choose a variety of each to sow and you can enjoy the leaves all through the year.

'A fast-growing plant, spinach yields many leaves in a short time in the mild weather of spring and fall. The main trick in how to grow spinach lies in making it last as long as possible, especially in the spring, when lengthening days shorten its life,' explain the Bonnie Plants experts.

Does spinach like full sun?

If you are growing winter cultivars of spinach in fall then these prefer full sun to grow well. Summer varieties prefer partial shade as otherwise the leaves can get scorched by hot sun in summer.

Will spinach regrow after cutting?

Spinach will regrow after cutting and if you keep harvesting the leaves, a few at a time, it will continue producing leaves through the season.

Rachel is senior content editor, and writes and commissions gardening content for, Homes & Gardens magazine, and its sister titles Period Living Magazine and Country Homes & Interiors. She has written for lifestyle magazines for many years, with a particular focus on gardening, historic houses and arts and crafts, but started out her journalism career in BBC radio, where she enjoyed reporting on and writing programme scripts for all manner of stories. Rachel then moved into regional lifestyle magazines, where the topics she wrote about, and people she interviewed, were as varied and eclectic as they were on radio. Always harboring a passion for homes and gardens, she jumped at the opportunity to work on The English Home and The English Garden magazines for a number of years, before joining the Period Living team, then the wider Homes & Gardens team, specializing in gardens.

How to Plant, Care, and Grow Spinach

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an annual leafy green vegetable that grows best in cool weather. There are many different varieties of spinach that range in appearance. Often the leaves are smooth and medium to dark green in color. Spinach plants have an erect growth habit and will produce small yellow-green flowers on spikes in hot weather before going to seed. Spinach is fast-growing and can be ready to harvest in as little as one month after it's planted as seed. In most climates, it grows best when planted in the spring or fall.

Botanical Name Spinach
Common Name Spinacia oleracea
Family Amaranthaceae
Plant Type Annual, vegetable
Size 6–12 in. tall and wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial sun
Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline (6.5 to 8)
Bloom Time Summer
Hardiness Zones 2–11 (USDA)
Native Area North America, Central America, South America, Asia

How to Plant Spinach

When to Plant

Spinach needs around six weeks of cool temperatures to grow from seed to maturity. That means you should plant seeds in the garden as soon as the soil is workable in the spring. The soil must be cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit for germination. Likewise, you can plant in the fall once the temperature cools, as long as you have six weeks where the soil temperature will remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You also can reseed every couple weeks in the spring or fall to extend your harvest.

Selecting a Planting Site

The ideal planting site for spinach is fairly sunny with good soil drainage. Container growth is also an option. As the weather warms, spinach plants will bolt, or send up a flower spike and go to seed. You can slightly delay this by planting in the partial shade of taller plants.

Spacing, Depth, and Support

Seeds can be planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep in rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Once seedlings have grown their first set of true leaves, thin the plants to around 6 inches apart. No support structure will be necessary.

Spinach Plant Care


Plant spinach where it will receive full sun to partial shade. That means it needs at least three to four hours of direct sun on most days, though it could use some protection from strong afternoon sun.


Spinach likes a loamy, organically rich, well-draining soil. And it prefers a fairly neutral soil pH.


Water spinach frequently to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Regular watering is essential in warm weather to prevent bolting. In general, spinach needs around 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. Rather than a weekly deep watering, it's better to water several times a week. Adding a layer of mulch around the plants also can help to maintain soil moisture.

Temperature and Humidity

Spinach prefers to grow in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate a light frost, but heavy freezes will kill the plant. Plus, hot weather will make it bolt and cause the remaining foliage to become bitter. Humidity typically isn't an issue as long as its soil moisture needs are met and there's air flow around the plants.  


Because it is such a fast grower, spinach is also a heavy feeder. When planting, mix a fertilizer that's high in nitrogen into the soil, following label instructions. This will help to promote healthy foliage growth. Continue to fertilize throughout the season, following your product's instructions. Fish emulsion and soy meal are good organic choices for spinach.


Spinach is primarily pollinated by the wind, and varieties will cross-pollinate with one another.

The Spruce / Kara Riley

The Spruce / Kara Riley

The Spruce / Kara Riley

The Spruce / Kara Riley

Types of Spinach

Spinach vs. Kale

Spinach and kale have similar growing requirements, both liking cooler weather and taking around the same time from planting to harvesting. However, they have some clear differences. Kale leaves are typically ruffled with spinach is often smooth. And kale can have a slightly bitter taste while spinach is sweeter. 

Harvesting Spinach

Typically, you can harvest spinach four to six weeks after planting seeds. Begin harvesting whenever the leaves are large enough for your taste. Spinach can be harvested in the "cut and come again" method. Trim off individual leaves with garden scissors, starting with the oldest outer leaves and letting the young inner leaves remain to continue growing for a later harvest. You also can cut down the whole plant at once if you want a large harvest. If you cut about an inch above the crown, or base of the plant, it is likely the plant will send out a new flush of leaves.

Spinach can be eaten fresh or cooked. The leaves are sensitive to ethylene gas given off by many fruits, so don't store spinach in the refrigerator in the same container as apples, melons, or tomatoes. Keep it in an airtight container on its own. Spinach also can be frozen for later use. Wash the leaves well, and allow them to dry before placing them in a freezer bag. Frozen spinach is best used within three to six months.

How to Grow Spinach in Pots

Growing spinach in containers is a great way to keep it easily accessible for harvesting. And it can help to deter pests from munching on your crop. Choose a container that’s at least 10 to 12 inches deep with a similar width. You also can use a window box for a few plants, depending on their mature size. The container must have drainage holes. Unglazed clay is an ideal material because it allows excess soil moisture to escape through its walls. Note that containers tend to dry out faster than the ground, so you'll likely have to water container plants more frequently.


Harvesting the leaves throughout the growing season is how you prune a spinach plant to keep it vigorous. If a plant becomes diseased or damaged, it's often best to pull the whole plant to prevent it from affecting nearby plants.

Propagating Spinach

Spinach typically is grown from seeds, but it's also possible to propagate plants from stems you pull that still have roots attached. (Taking stem cuttings typically isn't successful.) This skips the germination time that seeds take, allowing you to get a quicker harvest. Here's how:

  1. As you harvest from mature spinach plants, find a stem that has roots. Gently pull it out of the ground, keeping the roots as intact as possible.
  2. Plant the stem in a quality potting mix, and water to maintain even moisture. 
  3. Once you feel resistance when gently tugging on the stem, you'll know a strong root system has formed.

How to Grow Spinach From Seed

Aim to plant spinach seeds that are less than a year old, as the germination rate falls the older seeds get. You might have to till your soil before planting, as spinach likes a loose, fine soil. Firm the soil over the seeds, and water to evenly moisten it. Make sure to keep the soil moist during the germination process, and you should see growth in a week or two.

Potting and Repotting Spinach

Use an organic, all-purpose, well-draining potting mix for spinach. It's best to pot in a container that will accommodate the plant's mature size, as spinach doesn't like its roots disturbed in repotting.


In warm climates, you might be able to sow seeds in the fall and harvest well into winter. If the ground freezes before the plants mature, mulch them with hay and leave them be until the temperatures warm again in the spring. Remove the mulch, and the plants should resume growing, giving you an early harvest.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Because spinach is grown when the weather is cool and damp, several fungal diseases, such as downy mildew (blue mold) and fusarium wilt, can become problems. Space your spinach plants so they get good air circulation, and try to keep water off the leaves in the evening.

Aphids also pose a risk to spinach because they can spread viruses. Monitor your crop for aphids regularly, and hose them off immediately if you find them. Plus, wild animals, rabbits chief among them, also might raid your spinach patch. The best defense against them is fencing.

planting and care in the apartment

As a rule, spinach is grown in open ground , but in order to get useful macro- and microelements even in the middle of winter, many sow spinach seeds at home and grow them on the windowsill. If you can follow the simple rules of sowing and maintenance (create the necessary light and temperature conditions), you will have fresh and juicy greenery all year round, even if you do not have a summer house.

How to grow spinach at home on the windowsill will be described in detail below.

By the way! Many people dislike spinach because it tastes like “grass with grass” (not sour like sorrel). Indeed, this is a tasteless plant. But the neutral taste is great, you can make such delicious dressings! For example, the Caesar salad with spinach is very unusual.


Which varieties of spinach are suitable for growing on the windowsill

Before you start growing spinach on the windowsill, you should purchase quality planting material. And for this, first of all, carefully study the instructions on the package - familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the varieties in order to choose the most suitable for indoor cultivation.

As a rule, the following varieties of spinach are used for sowing, which tolerate greenhouse conditions well and give a bountiful harvest:

To determine the most suitable variety, it is worth planting several packages of seeds in different containers. Only after that you can understand which kind of spinach will suit you the most according to all criteria.

How to plant spinach on the windowsill: features, conditions and step-by-step instructions

After choosing the desired variety, you should start sowing work, namely: preparing the container, soil for growing, soaking the seeds. To do this, planting spinach at home requires approaching with skill and performing all stages of cultivation according to certain rules.

Growing container

The root system of spinach, for example, unlike sorrel, is quite shallow, so the container requires a small depth (12-15 cm).

Naturally, the pot must have drainage holes to drain excess moisture.

In addition, you can add a small layer of expanded clay or foam to the bottom of the planting container as drainage.

What soil to plant in

Spinach will grow well only in neutral soil.

In other words, spinach loves soil with an acidity level of around 6-7 pH!

You can purchase ready soil for growing vegetables such as cabbage, pumpkin, beans, peas.

Or make your own. To do this, take a neutral garden soil and mix it with compost or humus, as well as river sand.

Tip! It is recommended to decontaminate any soil, even purchased soil, in advance using one of the methods, for example, by steaming the oven so that all soil pests die under the influence of high temperatures. Then additionally shed with a solution of Fitosporin .

Seed preparation

It is not recommended to plant spinach with dry, unprepared seeds (unless it is pelleted, i.e. already processed seeds). The seeds have a dense external structure, so they should be pre-soaked for a day or two in water at room temperature (above 18 degrees).

And then (optional) hold for another 20-30 minutes in a weak solution of potassium permanganate to disinfect seedlings from diseases.

Direct planting

Step-by-step instructions for sowing spinach seeds for further cultivation at home:

Please note! In the next video, the author uses unsuitable soil to grow spinach (wrong acidity). But in general, everything is shown very well and clearly.

Video: sowing spinach seeds for growing on the windowsill

Transplanting spinach from the open field into a pot for growing in the apartment

By the way! It is not necessary to grow spinach from seeds, it is much easier to take and transplant it from the garden.

All you need is to dig up the bushes in autumn and transplant them into a pot.

Further care and cultivation are carried out similarly to those sown with seeds (more on this later).

How to care for spinach on the windowsill at home

Spinach care is quite simple - maintain optimal light and temperature conditions, as well as water on time.

What should be the place to grow: light and temperature

Spinach is a relatively light-loving plant. For him, it is recommended to choose a well-lit southern window sill (either western or eastern, but better at least southwestern or southeastern) .

Optimum day length is 12-14 hours.

But in order for the sun to not burn too much on especially hot days, burning tender leaves, it is recommended to shade it.

By the way! Spinach does not like direct sunlight at all and a lot of sunlight, besides, it becomes bitter ...

In late autumn, winter and early spring days, the shrub does not have enough daylight hours, especially when it is raining or just overcast outside. Therefore, for growing spinach indoors, it is recommended to additionally install phytolamps or full-spectrum LED lamps.

Spinach does not require very warm conditions. At a temperature regime of +15..+18 degrees , the leaves of the plant quickly gain strength and grow to optimal sizes.

A grown plant with 4-5 leaf blades can be grown at a lower temperature of +10..+14 degrees, but in this situation the growth of leaf blades will be somewhat slowed down.

Therefore, an insulated balcony or loggia, where the temperature is slightly lower than room temperature, is quite suitable for growing.

If conditions are too warm, spinach will wilt quickly, so it is recommended to keep the optimum cool temperature.


Watering should be carried out quite often and plentifully, spinach does not tolerate drying out of the soil.

It is strongly recommended to periodically spray overgrown leaf blades. This will saturate them with nutrient moisture and improve their appearance.

A low level of humidity provokes bolting, spinach throws out flower stalks, which should be promptly disposed of so that the plant does not waste extra energy.

Spinach does not require any special feeding.

Sowing and harvesting dates for domestic spinach

After sowing spinach, you can see its first shoots, even with pre-treatment (soaking), in about a week (sometimes earlier).

And the actual cutting of foliage (harvesting) will begin only when the plants have fully formed succulent leaves. There will be 5-8 pieces, 8-10 centimeters long. In early ripening varieties, this moment occurs approximately 30 days after the first shoots.

Tip! In order not to interrupt the process of constantly obtaining useful spinach foliage, you can regularly make new crops.

At harvest time, the leaves can be cut off completely, leaving only the outermost young leaves.

Harvest by carefully breaking the stem or cutting with scissors.

Do not pull or pluck the foliage as this may damage the root system.

Thus, you can grow spinach at home, on the windowsill, at any time: in spring, and in autumn, and even in winter. The main thing is to create optimal conditions for the plant and properly care for it (periodically water it). Growing spinach in an apartment will allow you to feast on healthy leaves at any time, adding them to soups or salads.

How to plant and grow spinach on a windowsill

In winter and early spring, you especially want to please yourself with fresh herbs - lettuce, dill, spinach. Healthy crops contain vitamins, minerals, acids and oils, they improve the taste of any dish. You can plant delicious plants not only in the garden, but also at home. How to grow spinach at home?

Before planting spinach at home in a pot, you need to prepare a planting container and soil.

The culture pot will need to be low, but wide, since the root system of the plant is located near the surface. There must be drainage holes at the bottom of the container to drain excess moisture.

Spinach gives good, juicy greens only in fertile, loose, neutral soil. Heavy clays or poor sands are not suitable for him. You can make the soil mixture yourself by mixing garden soil with humus and a small amount of river sand, or use ready-made soil for vegetable seedlings.

Any soil requires preliminary disinfection in order to prevent the death of seedlings due to fungal diseases or pest larvae. The earth is calcined in the oven or frozen, abundantly watered with a fungicide solution.

Not every variety is suitable for growing spinach at home. It is better to give preference to early maturing varieties that are resistant to flowering - Matador, Giant, Krepysh, etc.

Selected seeds should first be disinfected in a fungicide solution to get rid of fungal spores located on the seed coat. A weak solution of potassium permanganate or any available fungicide will do.

After disinfection, the seed should be soaked. When sown with dry seeds, the germination of spinach is low due to the dense shell. Soak them in a solution of growth stimulants or fertilizer according to the instructions. Spinach sprouts fastest after soaking the seeds on a damp cloth or napkin for 1-2 days.

It is inconvenient to sow raw seeds, therefore, after soaking, they are slightly dried on a napkin.

Spinach sowing

Sowing spinach will not make it difficult even for beginner gardeners. After preparing the seeds and planting containers, you can start sowing the seeds.

How to plant spinach at home:

  1. Fertile soil is poured into the pot 2-3 cm below the edge.
  2. Moisten the substrate with warm water.
  3. Spread the spinach seeds 2 cm apart.
  4. Sprinkle the spinach with a 0.5-1 cm layer of soil.
  5. Lightly moisten the soil surface with a spray bottle. It is impossible to water the seeds from the watering can: they will be washed away with water.
  6. The container with crops is removed in a plastic bag or under glass to maintain high humidity.

At a temperature of about +20 degrees, seedlings will appear in 3-5 days. The film is removed gradually so that the sprouts do not wither from a sharp change in air humidity.

After the appearance of the first true leaf, the spinach should be carefully picked into separate cups or spacious boxes according to the 5x7 cm pattern. This will give the plants enough space to grow full-fledged greenery. In thickened plantings, spinach greens will shrink and stretch.

Spinach Care

The plant is undemanding to care: with proper sowing of spinach on the windowsill, it will quickly gain green mass. However, to obtain juicy, abundant greenery, it must be provided with appropriate care.

It is best to grow spinach on a windowsill with a window to the west or east, and if there is additional light, also to the north. The peculiarity of the culture is that in direct, abundant sunlight, the leaves acquire a characteristic bitterness. The plant will need diffused light.

In order for the plants to remain compact, not stretched, the temperature should be maintained within + 15 ... + 18 degrees. At lower temperatures, spinach develops slowly. An ideal place for growing will be a warmed loggia, balcony.

Spinach needs frequent, abundant watering, it does not tolerate drying out of the soil. The dryness of the earthy coma leads to the appearance of flower arrows. Blooming plants will not give a full-fledged harvest: they will spend all their strength on flowering and seed setting.

Since the culture is fast-growing, spinach does not require additional feeding. There will be enough nutrients in the soil.

Picking spinach on the windowsill begins a month after germination. It is convenient to cut the leaves with scissors, leaving only young foliage on the plant. Do not pull on the leaves: they will lose their appearance. In addition, the root system of the bush may suffer during sharp jerks.

To keep the greens always fresh, you can sow spinach seeds every 2 weeks.

Learn more