Perennial Vegetables Are Becoming More Popular & I’m Often Asked How To Grow Hablitzia Tamnoides. It’s A Veg That Has Been Uncommon In The UK Until Recently & In This Article I Share My Sourcing, Growing & Harvesting Tips.

If you’re looking to add a unique and versatile vegetable to your garden, consider Hablitzia (Hablitzia tamnoides). It’s a perennial vegetable is not only easy to grow, but it also offers a variety of culinary possibilities. This is a plant we have recently added to our community food forest and have great hopes for. It’s just one of the dozens of Unusual Veg to grow in the UK.

What is Hablitzia?

Hablitzia is a very hardy perennial vegetable native to the Caucasus region. It has dark green, lobed leaves and thin, vining stems that can climb up through trees and shrubs or can scramble over the ground. The plant produces small, green flowers and berries, but it is primarily grown for its edible shoots/flower buds and leaves, which can be used like asparagus or spinach.

How to Grow Hablitzia

Hablitzia is easy to grow in most gardens. It prefers well-drained, fertile soil and a sunny or partially shaded position. The plants are hardy and can tolerate a range of soil types, but some sources say they prefer a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. I’ve not tried them in acid conditions so can’t say if this is true.

Here are some key tips for growing Hablitzia:

  1. Plant in late winter or spring, either from seed or divisions. I planted divisions in December but we are in a milder part of UK, so I had no hesitation. However, these are hardy plants and provided the soil isn’t frozen I’d happily plant any time from autumn onwards in most parts of the UK.
  2. Choose a location with partial shade, as the plants can struggle in full sun. I’ve planted them on the northern side of mature frees as this will allow the plant to find sunshine or shade as it prefers.
  3. Water regularly and mulch or feed with an organic based fertiliser to promote healthy growth.
  4. Provide support for the vines to climb, such as a tree, shrub, trellis or fence. As ours is planted next to a tree I will insert a few poles, leaning into the tree, to start them off.
  5. Divide the plants every few years to maintain healthy growth and prevent them from becoming too crowded. But note that in the video below the plant shown has been in situ for over 20 years.

How to Harvest and Cook Hablitzia

Hablitzia can be harvested throughout the growing season, but the leaves are tastiest when they are young and tender. Here are some tips for harvesting and cooking with Hablitzia:

Hablitzia shoots, image from Incredible Vegetables.
  1. Harvest the leaves by picking them individually or cutting them off at the base of the plant.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
  3. Use the leaves in any recipe that calls for spinach, such as salads, stir-fries, quiches, or smoothies.
  4. The leaves can also be blanched and frozen for later use.
  5. In addition to the leaves, the shoots and flowers of Hablitzia are also edible and can be used in salads or as a garnish. Don’t over harvest shoots or it will weaken the plant and you’ll get no leaves later. in fact, if you took too many shoots the plant would eventually die!

The Benefits of Growing Hablitzia

Hablitzia is not only a delicious and versatile vegetable, but it also offers several benefits for gardeners. Some of these include:

  1. Low maintenance: Hablitzia is easy to grow and requires minimal care once established. It’ll las for years and can be left to get on with it most of the year.
  2. Pest resistance: The plant is relatively resistant to common garden pests and diseases. So no worries about sprays, synthetic chemicals etc.
  3. Shade tolerance: Hablitzia can grow in partial shade, making it a good option for areas of the garden that don’t receive full sun. There are few veg that offer growth in shady places so this is a real benefit.
  4. Nutritional value: The leaves of Hablitzia are allegedly rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, and calcium.. How much I’ve no idea as sources all claim great things and one claim superfood status … suffice to say it isa edible and nutritious.
  5. Ornamental value: The plant’s attractive foliage and delicate flowers can add visual interest to the garden. This makes it a true edimental and it therefore has more value than those plants that aren’t decorative.

UK Plant & Seed Sources – How To Grow Hablitzia tamnoides

This is a plant that is offered by very few seed or plant businesses. I bought plants from Incredible Vegetables who also sell seeds. But stock is limited so be prepared to wait for stock replenishment when ordering.

Hablitzia: The Video

The source of our Hablitizia was Incredible Vegetables, who obtained their mother stock from Stephen Barstow in Norway. Here’s a Video by Stephen

Final thoughts on Growing Hablitizia In The UK

Hablitzia is a unique and rewarding vegetable to grow in your garden. With its easy care requirements, versatility in the kitchen, and numerous benefits, it’s definitely worth considering for shady spots or areas that are hard to cultivate. I’ll be posting more about our hablitzia crop as it grows over the next months.

Tag: How To Grow Hablitzia tamnoides
Image attribution: Mandy Barber, Incredible Vegetables.

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2 thoughts on “How To Grow Hablitzia tamnoides, aka Caucasian Spinach

  1. Ruthdigs says:

    Fascinating, thank you. I’ve just purchased a plant from Quercus Edibles for a semi shaded fence in my garden. Looking forward to trying the leaves.
    Just fyi the video isn’t coming up for me, just a blank space in the page instead?

    1. Stefan Drew says:

      Thanks. Ive reinstalled the video so hopefully you can now view it.

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