|Basella alba subsp. var.||Malabar spinach, Ceylon spinach, climbing/vine spinach|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Basella rubra, Linn. Lvs. succulent, alternate, rarely opposite, almost entire, of various forms: fls. not pedi- celled, in simple spikes or racemes; spikes short or long, lax, few-fld. Lam. Ill., pl. 215, fig. 1. Rheede, Hort. Mal. 7, pl. 24.—The following species are now considered only forms of the above: B. alba, a white-fld. form rarely cult, as a trailer from roofs of warmhouses, or as a basket plant; B. caninifolia; B. cardifolia, with heart-shaped Lvs. 4-5 in. long and 2-2½ in. wide; B. crassifolia; B. japonica; B. lucida, from India; B. nigra, a Chinese form; B. ramosa and B. volubilis. Under the name of sweet malabar vine, a form with tiny yellow and red fls., and Lvs. variegated with white, pink, and green has been advertised. It is said that "with age it assumes a drooping habit. When cut, keeps fresh for weeks."
Needs moist, well drained soil. Not picky about soil heaviness or acidity. Prefers high amounts of organic matter, but soil that is not too rich. Plant in sunny, sheltered spot. Give trellis or fence for it to climb.
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Pests and diseases
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- 'Eclipse' - Produces a very early crop in 55 - 60 days where warm. The compact plants can be planted close together. Leaves are thick and medium to deep green. Yields very well where it is warm and humid.
- 'Red' - Leaves, stems and flowers tinged red. Color is lost when cooked.
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