Tetragonia tetragonioides

Common Name: New Zealand spinach 
Type: Annual
Family: Aizoaceae
Native Range: Africa, eastern Asia, Australia, South America
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Insignificant


New Zealand spinach is a warm-season "spinach" whose seeds should not be sown directly into the garden before the last frost date is past. After that date, sow 1" deep and keep moist, as seeds can be slow to germinate. Thin to 12" apart in rows 3 to 4' apart. Plant can spread wider if not kept cut back. Best results are obtained in fertile well-drained soil and full sun, with ample water and fertilizer. Once established, New Zealand spinach can thrive in cool damp conditions, but will not survive the first good frost. Keep plants sheared to ensure constant new growth and to maintain a reasonable spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tetragonia tetragonioides, commonly called New Zealand spinach is not a true spinach, but tolerates heat and drought much better than does true spinach. It’s an excellent green and salad vegetable that thrives in the heat and provides a steady supply of succulent leaves and branch tips that can be used as spinach, both in salads and cooked.

Genus name comes from the Greek words tetra meaning four and gonia meaning an angle for the form of the fruits.


Chewing beetles of various kinds can be a problem.


Cooked as a green or in salads.