Learn How to Grow Spinach in Pots in the easiest way and harvest this nutritious green in your home in the smallest of space!
Growing Spinach in Containers is the best way to enjoy a homegrown harvest in a limited space like a windowsill or a balcony. This nutritious leafy green is not difficult if you know all the tips on How to Grow Spinach in Pots!
Get the best tips to grow spinach all year round here
Best Spinach Planting Time
While spinach is frost-tolerant and can survive temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.7°C), it’s not optimal for growth. Spinach seeds germinate best in soil temperatures between 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (24°C).
This green vegetable grows optimally in daytime temperatures between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C). The plant can endure temperatures up to 85°F (29°C) easily, but a higher temperature range may cause it to bolt prematurely and affect its flavor, making it bitter.
It can germinate even when the soil temperature is as low as 40°F (4.4°C) and up to 85°F (29°C); a rise in temperature higher than this can reduce the germination significantly. This is because high temperatures can cause the seeds to become dormant, a state known as “thermodormancy.”
Cold Climates (USDA Zones 1-6)
In colder climates, planting should commence in late summer to early fall. This way, the plants enjoy the cooler weather and provide a rich harvest before winter frost arrives.
Temperate Climates (USDA Zones 7-8)
For temperate climates, early spring is an ideal time for planting spinach as soon as the soil is workable. Second sowing can be done in the fall, about six weeks before the first predicted frost. A late fall planting for an early spring harvest the next year is also a good practice.
Subtropical and Tropical Climates (USDA Zones 9-11)
In such regions, your spinach planting should start in winter or early spring, enabling the plants to provide leafy greens consecutively before the summer heat kicks in. A second planting in late summer for a fall harvest also works well. This effectively means you can grow spinach year-round in such climates with the right care and attention.
Hot Climates (USDA Zones 12-13)
For hotter regions, it’s best to plant spinach in late winter or early spring and again in fall for a fall and winter harvest. It is advisable to provide shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent bolting.
Indoor Spinach Planting
For indoor spinach planting, start spinach in late winter and then successively. Make sure it gets 4-6 hours of sunlight (it’s possible if you have a big south-facing window, or to supplement it, place it for 12 hours under grow lights daily. This makes it a year-round crop, irrespective of your outdoor weather conditions.
How to Grow Spinach in Pots?
Growing spinach from seeds is the most straightforward process:
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep directly in containers or a seed tray. Seedlings will germinate in 5 to 14 days, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
If you have sown seeds in a seed tray, wait until 2-3 true leaves appear on each plant and then carefully transplant them into the pots. However, it’s better to plant spinach directly in the desired pots. Also, it’s one of the fast-growing vegetables, and you’ll be ready to harvest it within one month after germination.
Check out the best spinach varieties for pots here
Best Container Size for Growing Spinach in Pots
A 6 to 8 inches deep container and as wide as you want would be best for growing spinach in pots. You don’t need a very deep pot for it but a wider one. You can also go for wooden boxes, window boxes, railing planters, or crates, depending on your space on a patio or a balcony.
Growing Spinach Indoors
Growing spinach indoors on a windowsill is a great idea, as it doesn’t require full sunlight. You can also place its pot on a kitchen window, balcony, or practically any place where it gets at least 4 hours of direct sun.
Provide each spinach plant a space of 3 inches. If you want to pick large leaves, give a little more space to each plant. Avoid spacing it too much or growing the plant too crowded as it will result in overly small or large leaves, which will hamper the taste.
Requirements for Growing Spinach in Containers
If you are growing spinach in fall (autumn), keep the plant in a sunny spot (in mild climates) for shorter days and less sun intensity.
For spring and summer planting, keep your potted plants in a location that receives some shade, especially in the afternoon.
In a subtropical or tropical climate, place the containers in a spot that receives a bit of shade. The plant will do just fine in partial shade too.
For growing spinach in containers, use a quality potting mix rich in organic matter. The texture of the soil must be crumbly and loamy.
Avoid a growing medium that clogs the drainage and remains waterlogged. Well-draining soil with a neutral pH is the most crucial factor for the optimum growth of spinach in containers.
When growing spinach in containers, avoid water stagnation because it will lead to the development of rot and various fungal diseases. Also, avoid wetting the foliage. Keep the soil moist but not soggy or wet. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom.
Spinach seeds can germinate both in temperatures as low as 40 F (4 C) and in high temperatures. However, the best soil temperature for growing spinach is 50-80 F (10-27 C).
Many spinach cultivars can tolerate temperatures down to 20 F (-6) and up to 90 F (32 C) easily. Once the temperature starts soaring, you may need to provide shade to your plants.
Learn how to grow Malabar spinach in pots here
Growing spinach in pots doesn’t need special care. Regular watering, fertilizing, and the right soil are critical to a great harvest.
To grow healthy green spinach, you have to provide nitrogen. When planting, mix time-based fertilizer, or add 30 percent of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil. This will provide nutrients slowly.
Feeding the plant with fish emulsion, compost, or manure tea in the middle of the growth is a nice organic way to promote the plants.
If you have not added time-based fertilizer, feed the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer once in 2-4 weeks in half strength.
Do mulching, even if you’re growing spinach in pots. Mulching plants with organic matter will help in retaining moisture.
Pests and Diseases
You don’t need to worry much about pests while growing spinach in containers. However, keeping an eye on leaf-eating insects like slugs, caterpillars, and other common garden pests like aphids will help you eliminate them on time.
Super Tips for Growing Spinach in Warm Climates
It is a cool-season crop, but growing spinach in arid, tropical, and subtropical climates is extremely easy. Moreover, you can grow it successively as a bi-annual crop, except in the hot summer months. You’ll need to provide shade and enough water to keep the soil temperature cool and moist.
In warm weather, vegetables like lettuce and spinach begin to bolt early and set seeds. One of the most important things you need to consider when growing spinach in hot climates is to grow heat-tolerant varieties. You can enquire in your area, but some of the best ones we can suggest are Corrente, Canadian Green, Akarenso, Alkame, Samba, and Alrite. These varieties easily tolerate heat and humidity.
The spinach plant will be ready for harvest 25 to 50 days after germination, depending on the growing conditions and cultivar.
Harvest when the plant has formed at least 5-6 healthy leaves, 3-4 inches in length. Pick the outer leaves first and leave the new inner leaves so that they continue to grow or cut the whole plant at the base with a knife or scissor, and the plant will resprout again.
Note: When the weather becomes humid and hot (in warm climates), the plant tends to form an erect stem, on which you can see some small yellow or green flowers developing. To coincide with the flowering and the subsequent production of flowers, the plant’s foliage thickens and changes in flavor (more bitter), which is called bolting, so it is convenient to harvest the plant before it starts flowering for better taste.