how to grow spinach in pots

How to Grow Spinach in Pots & Containers

Spinach is an excellent vegetable to grow year-round – and grows extremely well when you might struggle with other green vegetables. Spinach is one of the most versatile vegetables, easy to cook easy to use in salads and easy to overwinter.  Spinach is ideal to grow from seed in the UK – Spinach likes cool and wet climates and can be grown in spring and autumn too. Spinach is however quite sensitive to the ground temperature when compared to other vegetables, so you might want to consider either sowing indoors or to make it easier on yourself and grow spinach in pots. In this article we’ll cover growing spinach at home, sowing spinach seeds and all you need to know about spinach growing in pots.


Growing Spinach

You should be able to sow spinach outdoor from mid-March, however, if you are growing spinach in pots, then you will be able to move the post from inside to outside easily.  It’s also possible when using pots to grow spinach to provide insulation around the pots to increase the temperature of the compost in which you’re growing the spinach.  Spinach is a vegetable you can plant in July, like these other suggestions here.

Best Spinach Varieties to Grow in the UK

You’ll want to decide which variety of spinach to plant based on when you sow when you harvest and how resistant they are to both bolting or disease.  These are the main varieties of spinach available in the UK.  These are the varieties of spinach that are generally available and we’ve also included what we think is the best spinach to grow in the UK.

We use Crocus to buy our vegetable seeds in the UK – it’s the UK’s biggest plant and seed selling website – and we also use Amazon for great delivery times too.

  • Amazon spinach:  Great for repeated harvesting, so you’ll want to pick young and early. The Amazon variety of Spinach has good resistance to both disease and bolting.  Usually a dark green colour. Buy Amazon Spinach Variety seeds here
  • Apollo spinach:  This is an outstanding variety with dark green, thick, rounded leaves. It’s also mildew resistant. Buy Apollo spinach seeds here
  • Medania spinach:  This popular variety of spinach is easy to gorw. It’s rich in vitamins A and C. Buy Spinach Medania seeds here
  • Palco spinach: an excellent choice that can be planted all year round. Buy Palco Spinach seeds here
  • Perpetual spinach: good winter spinach, so sow in September, or even later in August.  Can be grown as a perennial vegetable too.  We think that growing perpetual spinach in containers is one of the best options for spinach growing in the UK.  It works well in cold climates. > buy Perpetual Spinach seeds here from Amazon
  • Red-veined spinach:  as the name suggests, there are red veins in this, which makes it look great in salads.  You’ll get baby leaves in just 35 days.  Excellent for winter. Here’s a great red veined spinach to grow at home

Why Grow Spinach?

Spinach is an excellent way to keep a lot of Vitamin A and Vitamin C in your diet.   You’ll also find iron and folic acid in Spinach.  Buying fresh spinach can be an expensive business and its why we recommend spinach as an easy vegetable to grow, but also as a great option of a vegetable to grow to save money

Where to grow Spinach

One of the great benefits of growing spinach in containers is that you can move them around, depending on the weather conditions.   Spinach grows best during the summer months if you can protect it from the midday sun in soil that retains moisture well.  Growing spinach in a pot is extremely flexible and we think the best way to grow spinach.

Growing Spinach at Home

While Spinach does grow year-round some varieties grow better in winter and some that do better in spring.  You’ll want to check out our section on which varieties of spinach to grow to work out what’s best for your garden.   Spring spinach should be sown outdoors in March and winter spinach varieties should be sown in August.  (Read more about what to plant in August here) That said, you can sow most spinach variety seeds at any time between March and September.   Spinach takes about 60-90 days to harvest.

Growing Baby Spinach in Pots

Baby Spinach is simply spinach that has been harvested at an early stage of maturity. Growing baby spinach is an easy way to save a lot of money on salad leaves! It’s easy to grow baby spinach in pots, just follow all the instructions here for growing spinach in containers and harvest when you get young baby leaves.

Best Growing Conditions for Spinach

Some gardeners are growing spinach inside (we do as well some years), indeed if the weather conditions are harsh growing spinach in winter indoors is a good option, although growing winter spinach outdoors is also easy as winter spinach is particularly hardy. Growing spinach outdoors remains the best way of spinach growing, with a top-up of indoor spinach to keep your harvest going if necessary.

Make sure you have good compost for growing spinach in pots (more on compost for vegetables here), as Spinach grows much better when the nutrients are present in the soil.  If you’re using soil from the ground or older compost, then add some fertilizer or plant food.  You’ll want a decent amount of sunlight for growing spinach but not the hottest part of the day.  If you get a very hot period, give the plants some shade.  Be sure to water regularly, but avoid soggy soil as this will give you spinach mould and other diseases.

While we try and use rainwater as much as possible on the garden and in pots, when that’s not possible, we use a space-saving expandable hose – check out our guide to expanding hoses here

grow spinach in pots

How to Grow Spinach in Pots Easily

Pick a pot that is about 20 centimetres deep, you will usually want to give each plant about 8 centimetres distance between spinach plants, but you can reduce this to 5 centimetres if you’re going to harvest early and keep them small.  We also recommend growing carrots in pots, read this article here.

The Best Growing Spinach Containers

As we’ve just mentioned above the best pots to grow spinach in are going to be about 20 centimetres deep.  Each plant needs at least 5 centimetres – if you’re going to harvest early.    Here are some of the best options for containers to grow spinach in. 

When to Grow Spinach

Spinach can be grown for most of the year, depending on the variety, so when it comes to when to sow spinach, look at the instructions on the seed packet that you buy.  Here are the primary UK varieties of spinach and when to sow spinach seeds in the UK.

When to Plant Spinach in Pots

If you are planting spring spinach, then plant in March, although you can also succession sow spinach to provide a regular supply.  Winter spinach should be planted in August/September.  From October you’re likely to need a little protection against the weather, so consider a mini greenhouse or a cloche.

Caring for Spinach

Spinach is an easy plant to grow.  Growing spinach in pots or containers actually helps deal with snails and slugs, by making it harder for them to get into the pot, but you’ll want to check regularly, especially when the plants are young.

Spinach grown in pots doesn’t need a huge amount of care.  Do not waterlog the container, and don’t let it go dry, but rather keep the compost somewhat moist.  If your spinach plants are left dry they will bolt and this causes the leaves to taste bitter and unpleasant.

How to Grow Spinach Indoors

Growing spinach indoors is one of the easiest ways to grow spinach at home.   We grow perpetual spinach  in containers throughout the year and it is our chosen variety when we grow spinach indoors.  Growing spinach indoors in winter is a great way to keep up your winter greens and to keep some colour in the greenhouse or space in your house.  

How to Harvest Spinach

Baby leaves of spinach will tend to be produced after about 35 days, by 40-50 days you’ll get about 6 leaves.  Spinach is one of the fastest-growing vegetables – here’s a bunch of others that we recommend growing. 

How to pick spinach – the cut and come again method

Harvest spinach from the outer leaves first, working inwards.  Harvest regularly and you’ll find that the leaves grow back quickly.   This is known as the “cut and come again” method.  The inner leaves continue growing and you can harvest them later.

Harvesting whole spinach

You can harvest a whole spinach plant at one by cutting it 7-8 centimetres above the ground with scissors or a knife.  The plant will grow back, but obviously a bit slower.

growing spinach in pots

When to Harvest Spinach

As for when it comes to when to pick spinach, again this depends on the variety, here are the main UK varieties of Spinach and when to harvest spinach from these seeds.

How to Store Spinach

Before you store any spinach you should rinse off the leaves.  You can store spinach in the fridge for about a week.  Make sure it is fully dry before putting it in the fridge.  You can dry spinach and freeze spinach and it will keep for use throughout the year.

How to Grow Spinach in Containers FAQs

Got questions about growing spinach? Or want to know how to grow spinach in a pot and we haven’t answered your questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions about growing spinach in pots and containers below, or ask us yours in the comments.

Can I grow spinach in a pot?

Yes. If you want to grow spinach UK wide then this is one of the easiest ways to grow it.   Planting spinach in pots and growing spinach in the UK is an easy way to increase the vegetables you grow without a lot of hassle.

What are the common problems growing spinach?

Bolting spinach is one of the most common problems with the plant this happens because the soil is too dry and it makes the leaves taste unpleasant and bitter.  Choosing to grow spinach in pots means that you’ll likely avoid any problems or pests like slugs or snails, but do check

How much spinach should I grow?

Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C as well as iron, so grow as much as you can!  Spinach is easy to grow, and its also easy to freeze as well.  As you can use spinach as a salad leaf and also as a vegetable accompaniment it is very versatile, you can use it to replace other vegetables.  15 plants should be a good number for a two adult and two children family.

Can you grow spinach from a leaf?

Well kind of.  If you pick Spinach using the “cut and come again” method then your spinach will indeed come again.  So while its not quite growing from a leaf, its using the same spinach plant to keep growing.  

Can I grow spinach inside?

Yes, it is easy to grow Spinach inside, you will need to find a sunny spot for it, where it can also get a little shade during the heat of the day.

How long does spinach take to grow? 

Spinach can be ready to harvest baby salad leaves in about 35 days.  A fully grown plant will take to about 45 to 50 days.  This is growing spinach from seed.

Is it possible to grow spinach year round?

While spinach has a short growing season it isn’t always hardy enough to grow year round in the UK.  If you have a polytunnel or a mini greenhouse, or a locaiton to grow spinach inside then this may help.  If you want to grow spinach year round then look at perpetual spinach, which is part of the beet family, but shares a similar taste to that of spinach.  It is much hardier and is a perennial vegetable, lasting more than one year and producing a new crop when you pick it.  Perpetual spinach tends to prefer colder weather and you’ll probably want to trim the leaves on a regular basis in order to improve the flavour.

Does this article cover growing perpetual spinach in pots?

Yes, absolutely.   We do this all the time that we’re growing our perpetual spinach in pots, so that we can move it to the best growing position and we have no issues at all with it.   As perpetual spinach tends to prefer colder weather, when it comes to when to grow perpetual spinach, then you can use it as an easy winter vegetable to grow and plant in your vegetable garden.

Is spinach difficult to grow?

No, spinach is not difficult to grow, especially in pots.

How tall does spinach grow?

Spinach goes up to 15 centimetres in height.

What are good companion plants for spinach?

Spinach is a great companion plant for onions, peppers, strawberries (read our guide to growing strawberries here), other salad leaves as well as herbs such as parsley, dill, sage and chives

How long does spinach keep for?

Spinach doesn’t keep well in the ground.  Harvest at 45-50 days.  You can then clean and dry the spinach leaves and keep them in the fridge for about a week.  If you plan on storing spinach for longer you will want to dry it or freeze it as soon as possible after harvesting.

Can I freeze spinach?

Yes. Spinach is an excellent leaf to freeze.  For more on freezing spinach, check out this article.  Don’t forget that spinach shrinks hugely when cooked!

Final words on growing spinach in pots

Growing spinach is an excellent way to save a lot of money – it’s an expensive vegetable to buy from the supermarket comparative to other vegetables.  Growing spinach in a container and eating it is an excellent way to increase your intake of vitamin C and vitamin A as well as folic acid and iron.   Add to that the fact that spinach is one of the more diverse vegetables – you can use it as a main meal dish, a vegetable accompaniment or a salad leaf, plus endless smoothies contain spinach, then it’s a great option to add to your vegetable garden.

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