Atriplex hortensis

Common Name: mountain spinach 
Type: Annual
Family: Amaranthaceae
Native Range: Asia
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable


Spring seed thickly directly in rows 1-1/2 ' to 2-1/2 ' apart as early as ground can be worked, with successive plantings every 20 to 30 days to insure a tender crop. Thin to 6 to 10" apart. Water and fertilize to insure quick and tender growth. Start harvesting leaves when plants are about 1" high. While mountain spinach can withstand adverse conditions and heat, they will tend to bolt (produce a seed head) and be less palatable. Can be kept low by clipping.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Atriplex hortensis, commonly called mountain spinach, closely resembles lambs quarters. It is a mild and tender salad green if grown quickly and harvested when 6" tall and under. On larger plants pick only small tender leaves. Red, green, and white cultivars are available. The cultivar 'Red Orach' does not lose color when cooked. Mature seed pods are used as a dried floral decoration.

Genus name comes from the Greek named for orach, a species of this genus of herbs and shrubs which can be used like spinach.

Specific epithet means of or pertaining to gardens.


Tends to run to seed.


Raw in salads or as a cooked green.