S & J Nursery’s guide to
Growing Longevity Spinach
in the Northeast Florida Garden
Longevity spinach is both a perennial vegetable, and in many places around the world, a powerful and commonly used medicinal herb.
In our Northeast Florida gardens Gynura procumbens will make either a vining trellis plant or a low trailing groundcover perfect for daily harvesting. Both the leaves and new shoots are edible and quickly replace themselves after harvesting on the plant. Young tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads, juiced or added right into your morning smoothie. Older leaves and stems can be steamed, stirfied, used as tempura or dried and used as tea.
Foliage, Origins, and Use of Gynura Procumbens / Longevity Spinach:
Originally from southeast Asia these pretty perennial garden plants are quickly gaining popularity here for their easy care habit and well documented health claims that give the plant it’s common name.
The foliage should remain evergreen in all but the coldest of our Northeast Florida winter temperatures, but in the case of hard freeezes theres no need to worry. The plants root so readily in moist soil that it is easy to ensure next years crop by taking 8 or 10 stem tip cuttings and sticking them in a pot of soil in your kitchen window until spring!
Longevity spinach is sometimes sold as cholesterol spinach, and is said to lower blood cholesterol when taken daily with as little as 4-8 leaves eaten raw. The medicinal fun doesn’t stop there. The Department of medical Chemistry at the Victoria college of Pharmacy in Australia has an article readily accessible online about the “Thai Folk medicine” of a Gynura procumbens field test and it’s visible anti-inflammatory qualities in their resulting study.
Among the other claims to fame for this pretty garden edible, Longevity spinach is also touted to lower blood sugar levels, and when taken at 10-15 leaves per day is said to be able to assist with diabetes and hypertension.
For me, it’s another great green in the garden that I never had to buy at the grocery store for my stir fry or smoothie!
Planting Season for Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Longevity spinach can be planted year round in our Northeast Florida garden from nursery plant starts. Or you can root cuttings on your existing plants easily during the warmer seasons.
Sun Exposure for growing Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach:
Gynura procumbens can be planted into full sun or partial shade areas of the garden.
Soil Preferences for Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
Tolerant of a wide range of soil components and conditions from sand to clay. I have an extremely sandy garden and the plants grow beautifully when generously amended at planting time with compost.
Care of Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach:
Watering Your Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach:
Newly planted Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the Longevity spinach plants are established and growing they will require very little in the way of care from you. Just a little extra water in times of drought.
Mulching Your Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach Plants:
For maximum growth potential, mulch plants generously -this will help conserve moisture.
Fertilizing Your Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach :
Longevity spinach is a foliar plant so heavy nitrogen is the way to go with your fertilizer if you are so inclined. I leave mine to grow with just the compost amendment at planting and a generous layer added to the soil each year in early spring.
For an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your vegetable plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Your Gynura procumbens / Longevity Spinach can be harvested year round. Picked leave and stems regrow quickly so daily harvesting is possible on larger plants.