Different types of spinach number in the hundreds. Spinach plants originate in western Asia, and their deep green leaves are a staple all over the globe. Fresh spinach is an important ingredient in salads and wraps, and cooked spinach leaves enrich any dish they’re in.
Three basic types of spinach are currently being sold today. These are savoy or crinkled-leaf spinach, flat-leaf spinach, and semi-savoy hybrid varieties. Each type of spinach plant offers delicious dark green leaves with some variation to the gardeners who grow them.
Plant spinach in cool seasons, and you’ll have fully grown spinach plants in 6 weeks. Baby spinach is ready in just over a month. Fall plantings are ready in winter, and you can keep harvesting spinach plants through early spring. At the end of the season, you can freeze spinach and have it even when it’s too hot to grow your favorite type.
If you want to grow spinach, you’ll need information about the different types of spinach seed you can find on the market. Here we’ll discuss the savoy spinach varieties, smooth-leafed spinach, and semi-savoy types out there. We’ll even throw in a few leafy vegetable options that aren’t technically spinach but have the same impact in your garden.
When you go to the supermarket, it’s likely that savoy spinach is what you’re going to see in the produce aisle. Savoy types tend to be curly-leaf spinach, have a crinkled shape, and work beautifully when eaten raw in a delicious salad. Savoy spinach varieties are typically the most common in the home garden. Their glossy dark green leaves are fun to grow and have excellent flavor.
This is probably the most common of all spinach varieties. Plant spinach seeds from this variet and you’ll have fully grown leaves in 50 days. Bloomsdale spinach is an heirloom savoy variety from the early 1800s, and it’s highly cold tolerant. If mature Bloomsdale spinach leaves aren’t your bag, harvest them as baby spinach in roughly 28 days.
Another one of the really popular types of spinach is Regiment spinach. This savoy spinach plant grows to full maturity in a really short time and is great for making spinach juice. 37 days after you plant seeds is all it takes. Its spear-shaped leaves are medium-dark green and love cool weather. Some partial shade in warmer climates is a must.
If you want to grow a savoy spinach but tend to have issues in the garden, try Escalade spinach. This spinach thrives in adverse conditions, maturing quickly in just 43 days. It has a mild flavor, upright growth habit, high mildew resistance, and a reluctance to bolt. Of all the spinach varieties on this list, this is probably the easiest to grow.
Growing spinach of the America variety will get you lush dark green leaves in 43 days. America’s thick leaves are perfect for freezing, canning, or fresh use. This heat-tolerant savoy spinach is also drought-tolerant, and the leaves can grow quite large. However, they’re at peak flavor when they’re roughly 8 inches long. Slow to bolt, sow seeds for overwintering, and continue to harvest in spring.
For another quick-maturing savoy spinach, check out Palco spinach, which takes only 38 days. It’s another savoy spinach that has some heat resistance, as it’s bolt-resistant. You can count on the disease resistance of this plant, and you can even plant it in warmer seasons than most different types of spinach.
If the traditional savoy spinaches tend to lean toward cold weather too much for your location, try Lavewa spinach. With this variety, you get the benefit of a traditional look and flavor with much more heat tolerance. Add to that resistance to powdery mildew, and you’re sure to enjoy the dark green leaves of Lavewa within 6 weeks.
Giant Nobel Spinach
This heirloom from the 1920s is ready in 48 days. It grows an extremely large plant, with 25-inch long leaves and an overall spreading habit. Giant Nobel is slow to bolt and is perfect for steaming and canning. Its smooth leaves are also good for fresh eating, making it a versatile legacy spinach you can grow over winter.
This savoy spinach is downy mildew and white rust fungus resistant. Its round, cupped medium green leaves are ready in 27 days too! Hammerhead spinach is one of those types of spinach that gives you the classic look of a savoy with lush, large leaves in a short period of time.
Flat Leaf Spinach or Smooth Leaf Spinach
While these spinach varieties look much different from the savoy due to their smooth, uncurled leaves, they are still spinach! Easier to clean than savoy varieties, the flat-leaf spinach types are often used for processing into frozen or canned spinach. They also work well in other cooked applications where the leaf shape isn’t as identifiable. They are sometimes called straight-leafed spinach.
Red Kitten Spinach
Red Kitten spinach is a straight-leafed spinach with medium dark green leaves that are fully ready in 40 days. Unlike the other types of spinach we’ve discussed to this point, Red Kitten sports red stems and veins. The plant has high resistance to downy mildew and can be grown all year. That means you could be growing spinach all year long with this variety.
Akraneso is a smooth-leaf spinach with deep red stems and dark green leaves that are ready for harvest in 50 days. This slightly serrated Japanese spinach variety has a mild flavor and is super heat-tolerant. You can grow this cultivar as a summer crop, which diverges greatly from most of the types of spinach out there.
Baby’s Leaf Spinach
If you want to harvest baby spinach in 40 days, plant some baby’s leaf seeds! Lots of leaf and very little stem is what separates this spinach from others. It’s an early producer, and it’s easy to clean due to its flat leaves. Plant in either late summer or early fall for a crop of baby leaves that you’re sure to love.
If you want what some seed distributors call “ultimate bolt tolerance,” Renegade spinach is great! It’s ready in 42 days and has succulent, round dark green leaves. This hybrid variety with consistent growth does grow slowly but will maintain an even flavor, never getting bitter or cracked. It has the added bonus of downy mildew and mosaic virus tolerance.
Is it called Space spinach because its growth moves at the speed of light? Perhaps. What we know for sure is that Space spinach has lovely flat leaves that are ready in just over 3 weeks! Space is resilient when it comes to downy mildew, much like some of the other hybrids on this list. Its small bright green leaves are supple and small.
Red Cardinal Spinach, or Red Carnival Spinach
While you may be pressed to find a distributor of Red Carnival or Red Cardinal spinach in North America, it’s certainly worth mentioning. This smooth-leaf spinach with medium green leaves has the trademark red stems that come along with any of the red spinach varieties. This particular variety is specifically grown in fall and should be ready in late winter or the early parts of spring.
If you want to grow spinach that has a low incidence of downy mildew, Gazelle spinach may be the ticket to success with growing your own spinach. The smooth, small leaves of this variety look a lot like baby spinach, but they have much longer stems. The leaves are slightly more succulent as well. Wrap it up with 26 days to harvest, and this is an awesome variety.
This smooth-leaf spinach is super cute, with small round leaves that can give you a spring, summer, or even fall crop. It also resists downy mildew and grows spinach seedlings that mature in less than a month. This spinach variety is great for salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
Seaside is ready in 40 days. It’s resistant to heat bolting and has high and moderate resistances to multiple races of downy mildew. Its semi-smooth leaves are small and cute, and its flavor is perfect after a kiss of frost. When plants are at 5 to 7 inches tall, you can harvest leaves for smoothies and delicious salads.
If you’re growing spinach for delicious salads, Matador spinach is a smooth-leafed spinach that will satisfy you. It has a sweet flavor and deep green leaves with a rounded shape. These are adaptable to cooking too! The spinach seed purveyors at Botanical Interests suggest trying it in a risotto.
Among the other smooth types, the large leaves of Flamingo spinach stand apart! The leaves of this Asian variety grow up to 10 inches long on crimson stems. Highly resistant to certain strains of downy mildew, this striking spinach is ready in 25 to 40 days.
One smooth-leaf spinach that is great for baby greens is Oceanside spinach. Plant Oceanside spinach seeds, and you’ll have leaves in 40 to 60 days that are great for sandwiches, salads, and in cooking too! It’s an incredibly cold-hardy plant that will give you leaves from late fall through early spring.
If spinach can be cute, then Corvair spinach takes the cake. Its dark green leaves are rounded on upright stems, and you can begin harvesting in 45 days. The light green leaves of Corvair are disease resistant, and they’re best harvested in spring or late winter. If you want one of those cute types of spinach, Corvair has you covered.
Semi Savoy Spinach
Hybrids of the flat-leaf and savoy spinach types produce a semi-savoy spinach. It has some of the easier-to-clean benefits of flat-leaf varieties but works well in both fresh and cooked uses.
Expect a harvest from this variety in 29 days. Kolibri spinach has high downy mildew resistance, and it’s great for baby leaf production. Those in zones 9 and 10 will love the semi-savoy leaves of this cultivar. In warmer months, give your Kolibri some partial shade to keep it from bolting.
The deep crinkles of this semi-savoy spinach are already in 42 days. Among the other types of spinach here, expect exceptionally strong germination of seeds. Responder spinach is disease-resistant with uniform growth and great flavor. For harvests of tons of leaves at once, Responder is a semi-savoy spinach you don’t want to skip.
Look out for harvests of Carmel spinach in just 25 days! This semi-savoy spinach is quick-growing, very uniform spinach and has high downy mildew resistance. It’s perfect for those who want to grow for market sales or for those who eat spinach daily. The light green leaves are reminiscent of the kind you’d buy in plastic tubs in the grocery store.
Okame is ready in 50 days. It’s a semi-savoy spinach that’s slow to bolt and can take hot weather. Downy mildew-resistant tendencies make it a choice for a lot of southern growers. The seeds of Okame appreciate a warmer soil temperature, so plant them in early fall for good germination. It’s also a semi-savoy type with good disease resistance.
If you’re into growing spinach with dark green leaves, try the semi-savoy spinach that is Indian Summer. This one has great flavor among other types of spinach listed here. It’s often classed as a cook’s garden favorite for this reason. For a semi-savoy type that has the vibe of baby leaves, with added disease and bolt resistance, go for Indian Summer.
Ready in just 45 days, Crocodile spinach is perfect for those who are growing spinach in hot areas. That’s because it’s extremely heat resistant. This semi-savoy type is really great if you want to harvest both baby leaves and mature ones. Use them fresh or cooked.
Not many semi-savoy types have lovely dark green leaves like the Tyee spinach variety. Tyee’s plants are often very full and don’t bolt easily in hot weather. In 45 days, you can harvest this semi-savoy spinach, which is great in soups, casseroles, or even steamed as a side.
For spring and winter harvests, Teton is excellent! It’s one of those semi-savoy types that is good for freezing due to its strong leaf structure. You can start harvesting Teton in 50 to 60 days. In the South, you’re looking for an early spring harvest. Elsewhere look for a late summer yield.
Among the fastest growing semi-savoy types is Kookaburra spinach. Yielding in 26 days, Kookaburra is downy mildew resistant and should be sown as a spring or fall crop. It has lovely ruffled leaves that grow on upright stems. They’re ready to be enjoyed fresh when they’re slightly puckered.
This variety is a lot like the last one we discussed, Kookaburra, but is slower to bolt and is ready for harvest just a tad later in spring or fall. The leaves are slightly more oval, and there is one feature of this variety that really sets it apart from Kookaburra. It’s a cut-and-come-again spinach! Expect to begin your harvests of outer leaves and whole plants in 27 days.
This semi-savoy is small in stature, at 6 to 12 inches tall, and requires a little more attention than some of the other plants on this list. Give it lots of water and plenty of fertilizer, and harvest in 4 weeks. The medium green foliage is used in salads and sandwiches.
When the leaves of Reflect are 3 inches or taller, get harvesting! Reflect is considered a nice balance between newer hybrids and more traditional savoy varieties, with trademark spear-shaped leaves and long stems. It has a medium quickness to harvest at 38 days. It also has added disease resistance to ensure your success in cultivation.
Baby leaves of Avon can be enjoyed at 25 days, and fully mature foliage is ready in 30 to 45 days. This lush spinach is perfect for zones 8 to 11, with a slow bolting habit in warmer weather. Continuous harvests over a long period of time help the plant produce more as well!
Though it’s a pretty typical type in terms of its growth, Emperor spinach is a standby among the many different types of spinach. It does have bolt tolerance but is typically grown during the usual spinach seasons. Use it in cooking or in fresh eating within 5 weeks.
Other Types of “Spinach”
While there are many things that are called spinach, including some oddball things like chard, the spinach plant is known by the botanical name Spinacea oleracia. Believed to have originated in ancient Persia, it rapidly spread from there to India, then China, and then throughout most of the world.
These other plants are often confused with Spinacea oleracia and referred to as spinach, but they’re merely in the spinach family. While they may be similar in how they’re used culinarily, they aren’t the same plant. However, they can be quite popular among different types of spinach due to their ability to grow outside typical spinach conditions. Seeds for these plants are often found alongside spinach seeds in catalogs or online.
Chard, also known as Swiss chard, is often called “beet spinach” or “perpetual spinach.” While unrelated, it is often grown for its leafy greens as well, although the stalks can also be consumed.
Malabar spinach (Basella alba or Basella rubra) is sometimes referred to as vine spinach. While not an actual spinach, Malabar spinach has a spinach-like flavor to its leaves and can tolerate hot weather extremely well. Malabar spinach is an Asian green that thrives in hot summers in the south.
Strawberry spinach is a common name for Blitum capitatum, also known as Chenopodium capitatum or strawberry blite. This plant produces edible leaves but is often grown for its bright red edible fruit.
Red Aztec Spinach
Among other different types of spinach that aren’t actually spinach is Red Aztec spinach (Chenopodium berlandieri). It’s widespread as a weed plant. More commonly known as red lamb’s quarter or goosefoot, this particular plant produces edible leaves. It’s not a true spinach, but it has a similar flavor when cooked.
New Zealand Spinach
New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) is actually a member of the marigold family. This slightly salty “spinach” should be soaked before consuming. Because it’s an invasive plant in parts of North America, check with your local extension office before planting.
If you find it’s not invasive in your region, note that New Zealand Spinach is a heat-loving spinach-like plant. It’s perfect for zones 8 and above, and it was used during the 1770 voyage of Captain James Cook to prevent scurvy. New Zealand spinach is drought-tolerant but appreciates moderate moisture during growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can affect the growth of spinach?
A: Growing conditions that don’t match the needs of specific spinach varieties will affect the growth. Proper growing conditions do as well.
Q: What is the best type of spinach to grow?
A: This is a very subjective question; you should peruse this list and see which is best for your personal needs. Then you can ascertain which is the best type of spinach to grow!
Q: Where does spinach grow best?
A: Spinach does best in mild to cool climates.
Q: What are the environmental requirements of spinach?
A: Give your spinach cool weather, moist soil, and a little bit of fertilizer throughout the season. Full sun is also a must.
Q: How hot is too hot for spinach?
A: It depends on the variety, but most tend to do best in temperatures between 40 and 80°F (4 to 27°C)
Q: What pests eat spinach?
A: All the usual garden pests like to munch on spinach. Take care of them with neem oil, strong streams of water, and keeping your plant happy. This will ensure any pest attacks can be handled with ease.
Q: Can spinach survive all winter?
A: A lot of the more traditional varieties or savoy types are suited to growing through the winter. Those that do best in hot weather or those that like temperate weather should be planted in spots and times when winter can’t affect them negatively.
Q: What variety of spinach is best for summer?
A: Planting Asian varieties in summer will likely yield good results. Malabar spinach is great for heat, as well as chard. There are even a few hybrid varieties above that can handle the heat.