Pacific Spinach (Abelmoschus manihot; formerly Hibiscus manihot) is a fast-growing, edible hibiscus is an excellent warm weather green vegetable that can be eaten raw for maximum nutrition! It is one of the world’s most nutritious leafy green vegetable due to its high protein content. Though not yet seen flowering by Edible Plant Project growers, the blooms of this species come in late summer and are a brilliant pale yellow with a dark purple center with a diameter of 6 inches. In Japan the roots are used to create a paste for making paper.
Soil & Water: Thrives in moist and fertile, well-drained soil. This hardy plant tolerates a range of soils, from sand to clay and acidic to alkaline. For best growing results, soil must be kept moist. May also be grown as a potted specimen.
Sun: Full sun. This plant will not thrive in shade.
Cold: Hardy to zone 9; frost tender. Will come back from the roots in north Florida.
Pruning: Allow stalks to reach mature height for blooming. Pruning main stalk will promote branching.
Propagation: Brings cuttings in overwinter to get head start on growing season. Cuttings taken in spring may reach heights of 6 ft. by fall. Sow seeds in March.
Pests: Grasshoppers eat holes in the leaves. We don’t know of any others.
Harvesting, storage, and preparation: Tender, sweet leaves are best eaten raw. Flower petals make an attractive addition to salads. The leaves can be cooked as well, and used to wrap other ingredients.