There’s not much in growing water spinach! Learn How To Grow Kangkong and enjoy this leafy vegetable from the family of morning glories.
Welcome to “How to Grow Kangkong“! Whether you have a spacious garden or a small balcony, this guide will equip you with essential tips and techniques to successfully cultivate this leafy green vegetable. Discover the joy of growing your own kangkong and enjoy its nutritious benefits straight from your own home.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 – 11, *can grow in lower zones as annual
Common Names: Ipomoea aquatica, Kangkung, river spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus, Chinese spinach, Chinese Watercress,Chinese convolvulus, swamp cabbage, phak bung, ong choy, kongxincai, rau muống, kangkong, trokuon, kalmi saag, kalmi shak, Thooti Koora, kangkung, hayoyo
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KangKong Plant Information
Kangkong, scientifically known as Ipomoea aquatica, is a popular leafy green vegetable that is widely consumed in many parts of Asia. It is also known by various names such as water spinach, swamp cabbage, or morning glory.
Kangkong belongs to the Convolvulaceae family and is characterized by its long, hollow stems and vibrant green leaves. This aquatic plant thrives in wet and marshy environments, making it well-suited for cultivation in water gardens or containers filled with shallow water.
Kangkong is highly nutritious and rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, and E, iron, calcium, and potassium. Its tender leaves and shoots are commonly used in stir-fries, soups, salads, and other culinary preparations.
How to Grow KangKong
Growing kangkong indoors? You can do it with seeds and with cuttings.
Don’t know how to grow kangkong from seeds? Read on.
- Choose high-quality kangkong seeds from a reputable source or consider saving seeds from mature plants.
- Prepare a well-draining and fertile soil bed or container filled with a mixture of compost and garden soil.
- Sow the kangkong seeds about half an inch deep in the soil bed, keeping a distance of 6-8 inches between each seed.
- Water the soil bed thoroughly immediately after sowing the seeds and ensure that the soil remains consistently moist throughout the germination and growing process.
- Place the kangkong seeds in a location that receives ample sunlight, preferably 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Once the seedlings emerge and grow to a height of 3-4 inches, thin them out by removing weaker seedlings, leaving a spacing of 6-8 inches between each plant.
- Apply a balanced organic fertilizer every 2-3 weeks to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.
- Kangkong can be harvested when the leaves and shoots are young and tender, usually after 4-6 weeks of sowing. Simply cut the Kangkong leaves or stems at the base, leaving the plant to regrow for future harvests.
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Wondering how to grow kangkong from cuttings? Here’s how.
- Choose healthy and mature kangkong plants to take cuttings. Look for stems that are about 6-8 inches long and have several sets of leaves.
- Using a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears, cut the stems from the parent plant just below a leaf node (the point where leaves emerge from the stem).
- Fill a container with clean water, such as a jar or a vase, ensuring that the water level is deep enough to submerge the lower portion of the cuttings.
- Place the cuttings in the water container, making sure that at least 2-3 inches of the stem is submerged in water and the Kangkong leaves are above the water line.
- Position the container in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as it can lead to excessive heat and wilting of the cuttings.
- Over the next few days, change the water daily to keep it clean and fresh. Within 1-2 weeks, roots should start developing from the submerged portion of the stem.
- Once the roots have grown to about an inch or two in length, transfer the rooted cuttings to pots or a soil bed.
- Plant the rooted cuttings in the soil bed or pots, burying them about 2-3 inches deep. Space the cuttings 6-8 inches apart to allow for proper growth.
- Provide the cuttings with adequate sunlight and maintain moist soil. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
- Kangkong can be harvested when the plants have reached a suitable size, usually after 4-6 weeks. Harvest by cutting the leaves or stems at the base, allowing the plants to regrow for future harvests.
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Plant Pot Size for Growing KangKong
Want to grow kangkong in pots? When it comes to selecting a pot size for growing kangkong, it’s important to provide enough space for the plants to establish and grow comfortably.
A container with a depth of at least 8-10 inches and a width of about 12-16 inches is suitable for growing kangkong. This size allows ample room for the plant’s roots to spread and promotes healthy growth. Remember to choose a pot with good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. If you plan to grow multiple kangkong plants, provide sufficient spacing between each plant within the pot to avoid overcrowding.
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Requirements for Growing KangKong
Kangkong thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. It requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and productivity. However, it can tolerate some shade and can be grown in areas with partially shaded conditions as well.
Kangkong prefers fertile, well-draining soil. It grows best in soil that is rich in organic matter and has a slightly acidic to neutral pH level ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.
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The soil should have good moisture retention capability while also allowing excess water to drain easily to prevent waterlogging.
Kangkong is a semi-aquatic plant and has high water requirements. It thrives in consistently moist soil or shallow water conditions. Ensure that the soil or water around the plants is consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season.
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Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods.
Temperature and Humidity
Kangkong is a tropical plant that prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. It grows best in temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius (77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). It can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, but growth may slow down.
Adequate humidity is important for the plant’s overall health and growth, with relative humidity levels of 60% or higher being beneficial.
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Kangkong benefits from regular fertilization to ensure healthy growth and abundant foliage. Use a balanced organic fertilizer or a water-soluble fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) of around 10-10-10.
Apply the fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season, following the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application.
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Kangkong generally does not require extensive pruning. However, you can perform light pruning to promote branching and bushier growth. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves or stems promptly to maintain plant health. Regularly harvest the outer leaves and stems to encourage continuous growth and prevent the plants from becoming too leggy.
Pest and Diseases
Kangkong can be susceptible to common garden pests such as aphids, snails, slugs, and leafhoppers. Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pest infestation. If pests are detected, consider using organic pest control methods such as handpicking, spraying insecticidal soap, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings.
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Kangkong may be prone to diseases such as leaf spots, downy mildew, and root rot. To prevent diseases, avoid overwatering and ensure proper soil drainage. Provide adequate spacing between plants to improve air circulation. If necessary, apply appropriate organic fungicides as per the instructions to control fungal diseases.
Just like every green vegetable, Water spinach is a nutrient powerhouse. It is rich in water, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. Here are the benefits of eating water spinach.
- Nutrient-Rich: Kangkong is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and E, iron, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients play vital roles in maintaining overall health and supporting various bodily functions.
- Antioxidant Properties: Kangkong contains antioxidants, such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which help protect the body against free radicals. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, promote healthy aging, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
- Digestive Health: The fiber content in kangkong promotes healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation. It supports regular bowel movements and contributes to overall digestive health.
- Weight Management: Kangkong is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a suitable addition to a weight management diet. The fiber content helps you feel fuller for longer, reducing the chances of overeating.
- Heart Health: Kangkong contains potassium, which is beneficial for heart health. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels and supports proper cardiovascular function.
- Eye Health: The presence of vitamin A and other antioxidants in kangkong contributes to good eye health. These nutrients may help protect against age-related macular degeneration and maintain overall vision.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Kangkong Benefits and Side Effects?
While kangkong offers numerous health benefits, it’s important to note that some individuals may experience side effects or allergic reactions. Common side effects may include gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, or gas.
Additionally, if kangkong is grown in contaminated water or polluted environments, there may be a risk of ingesting harmful substances. It’s advisable to consume kangkong from trusted sources and ensure proper cleaning and cooking before consumption.
2. Can Kangkong Grow in Water?
Yes, Kangkong, also known as water spinach or swamp cabbage, can grow in water. It is a semi-aquatic plant that thrives in moist or waterlogged conditions, making it suitable for cultivation in aquatic environments.
Check out our article on edibles you can re-grow in water here
3. Can Kangkong Grow in Winter?
Kangkong is a warm-weather crop and requires a minimum temperature of around 60°F (15°C) to grow. It is not frost-tolerant and may struggle to grow in cold winter conditions, making it more suitable for cultivation in warmer regions.
4. Where Do Kangkong Grow?
Kangkong is native to Southeast Asia but is now cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It commonly grows in marshes, swamps, and other water-rich environments, including rice paddies and the edges of rivers or ponds.
5. How Long Does Kangkong Take to Grow?
Kangkong seeds typically germinate within 7-14 days under optimal conditions, but it can vary slightly depending on factors. The growth time of Kangkong can vary depending on various factors such as climate, soil conditions, and cultivation practices. Generally, it takes about 40 to 60 days from sowing the seeds to harvesting the young leaves and stems of Kangkong for consumption.