Basella alba also called Malabar spinach, climbing spinach and Indian spinach. This tropical edible foliage plant originates from the warm countries of Asia such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
It is also an excellent houseplant or patio plant and is easy to keep. The plant is fine in the shade or partial shade, preferably no afternoon sun.
It is not spinach but the resemblance of the leaf is to blame for this.
Basella is a climbing plant and the alba is completely green in color, both stems and leaves. The inflorescence are white and also edible.
The young leaves and stems are edible and are widely used in Asian cuisine. These can be served as a salad and eaten raw. But these can also be cooked very briefly. Do not cook for too long because then the stems will become slimy, blanching briefly is ideal.
It is also widely used in stir-frying, then adding it at the last minute is perfect for flavor.
The leaf has a mild fresh peppery taste and is crunchy. There are many recipes on the internet with Basella alba such as with omelette and Malaysian Chan Choy Tong soup (see film).
In July and August the Basella blooms with white flowers that later in September turn into purple/black berries with seeds. If you dry it, you can sow it the following spring if you lose the plant.
The plant grows very fast, especially in a conservatory or greenhouse.
When harvesting young shoots with leaves, you have at least 3 leaves left after cutting, so that the plant can branch nicely again. Water in time in the summer and a small amount of food every three weeks during the growing season from the end of April to the end of September.
The Basella is a climbing plant and grows more than two meters in one season if it is nice and warm and moist. If the plant is planted in the ground, it is an annual plant and freezes to death in the winter.
If it overwinters frost-free and warm and not too wet, it is here to stay.
The plant can best overwinter in a light place at a temperature somewhere between +8ºC and +18ºC.
Winter hardiness zone 11 (8ºC).