Spinach is, without a doubt, one of the most popular garden plants to grow at home. It is fast-growing, easy to take care of, and delicious. Spinach also has a relatively long growing season, but does it come back every year, or does it only grow for a single season? And is there a way to harvest is so that it grows back multiple times within the same season? I have written this article to answer those questions.
Spinach does not grow back every year since it is an annual plant, which means that it only lives for one season. It grows, flowers, and produces seeds all within the same season. Spinach can, however, reseed itself, which means it sows its own seeds in the surrounding soil, causing new spinach plants to grow.
In this article, I go into more detail about what it means that spinach can grow back through reseeding itself and how that is very different from the way some perennials such as mint, oregano, or asparagus grow back every year. I also explain two easy methods for harvesting spinach so that it keeps growing back multiple times within the same season.
Does Spinach Come Back After Winter Every Year? Explained
Spinach is an annual vegetable, which means that it only lives for a single growing season. This means that you need to plant it every year you want to grow it.
There are some perennial leafy greens that look and taste very similar to spinach and grow back year after year, but they are not actually true spinach. Some examples are New Zealand Spinach and Malabar Spinach, which, despite the names, are not actually true spinach varieties.
Spinach is a relatively fast-growing plant, so if you start planting it early in the year, you should be able to plant and harvest multiple rounds of spinach within the same growing season. I have another article where I explain how early and late in the year you can plant spinach, that I recommend reading if it is relevant to you.
Even though spinach does not grow back in the sense that certain perennial plants such as mint, oregano, or asparagus do, there is actually a way it can grow back next year. At least in a sense. More on that below.
The Only Way Spinach Can Grow Back After the Winter
Since spinach is an annual plant, it will die towards the end of the year and not come back after the winter. Once it has flowered and produced seeds, it will dry up and die. There is, however, another way that you can get a bunch of new spinach to grow next year from the plants you have this year. I will explain that now.
If you take proper care of your spinach, it will eventually begin flowering. When that happens, you will notice flower buds starting to appear at the center of the plants like in the photo above. Flowering is the beginning of the seed production process, and once that process is done, the plant will die, but it might just manage to reseed itself before that happens.
Spinach can reseed itself and grow back. This happens when the plant is done with producing seeds, and it begins to dry up. At this point, several of the seeds will likely fall onto the ground by themselves, and some will likely be carried somewhere else by the wind.
Depending on how the growing conditions are where the seeds end up, there is a chance they will germinate and grow as new plants. You can read a lot more about that in this article.
Spinach is a very hardy plant, so the seeds can actually survive some light frost. That is why they can also grow back the year after falling off the original plant, even if there was some frost and snow in the winter.
The disadvantage of letting spinach reseed itself is that you won’t know where the seeds end up, so you will probably see some spinach growing in some unexpected places.
If you don’t want your spinach to reseed itself, you should remove the flowers before the plants start producing seeds. You can read much more about that in this article.
As I have explained, the same spinach plant will not grow back year after year, but if you know how to harvest your spinach correctly, you can make it grow back multiple times within the same season. I explain how that works and two ways to do it below.
How to Harvest Spinach So It Keeps Growing Back (2 Methods)
There are several ways to harvest spinach, but not all of them are equally good.
If you use the right method for harvesting spinach, the plant will keep producing leaves over and over again, allowing you to harvest it many times instead of just one.
I want to share two methods for harvesting spinach, so it grows back. I use these methods over and over again every year because they work so well.
Method 1 for harvesting spinach so it grows back
Instead of pulling up the whole plant when you harvest spinach, use a pair of pruning shears to cut the plant about half an inch (about 1.25 cm) above the ground, leaving the roots and base of the plant in the ground. Keep watering the part of the plant that is left in the ground and new leaves should appear shortly.
With this method, you basically just harvest all the leaves at the same time and then wait for new ones to appear.
This works since the roots are still alive, which allows the plant to keep growing even though you harvested the leaves.
Sometimes, you can get fresh spinach that still has an intact root system in stores. You can sometimes grow this back by cutting the leaves in the same way as I explained above and then planting what is left so that the roots are underground and what is left of the plant above ground. This only works if it is fresh enough, though. You can read more about that on this link.
The other method for harvesting spinach that I want to share is slightly different.
Method 2 for harvesting spinach so it grows back
Harvest your spinach by picking leaves one by one, starting with the outer leaves without pulling the plant out of the ground. Do this until you have picked about half of the leaves from the plant and let the remaining leaves stay on the plant.
Like with the first method I explained, it is best if you cut the leaves just above the ground. The key difference here is that the plant will grow back faster since there are leaves left on it to absorb sunlight, but you won’t get to harvest as many leaves at the same time as with the first method.
If you do this, the inner leaves that you leave on the plant will keep growing until it is time to harvest them in the same way. You can usually repeat this process a couple of times over a growing season.
The disadvantage of using this method is that you never really get to eat the freshest leaves since you let them stay on the plant until they become bigger. In my opinion, the smallest, freshest leaves are the tastiest. Other than that, though, this is a great method for harvesting your spinach in a way that allows it to keep growing.
Now that you know everything about why spinach doesn’t grow back every year unless it reseeds itself and how to harvest it so that it grows back multiple times within the same season, I recommend that you head over to this article. In it, I share five tips for making spinach grow faster, so it is a good read if you want to get the most out of your spinach.