It is well known that spinach is a superfood. Low calorie, high in fiber and packed full of vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Eaten cooked or raw, it is easy to grow spinach indoors to incorporate the fresh, nutritious leaves in your meals and health drinks. 

In this article you will find our step-by-step guide to grow spinach indoors from seed, for an endless supply of your own spinach at home.

Can you grow spinach indoors?

Yes, absolutely. If you do not have the space in your garden, or you do not have a garden, or if you simply do not enjoy gardening then growing spinach indoors may be the answer!

In fact spinach loves to grow in cooler temperatures, so if you want to have this vegetable in the summer months it is better to grow spinach inside out of the summer sun. 

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about indoor spinach cultivation, from soil and pots to plant care and harvesting. We’ll help you enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own spinach indoors at home. 

One of the great benefits of choosing to grow spinach indoors in containers is that it is easy to extend the growing season. By growing indoors you can control the environment more easily for optimal growth. The spinach is also not exposed to the risk of pests in the same way compared to growing outdoors.

How long does spinach take to grow indoors?

Within 2 weeks of planting spinach seeds you should see the start of a small plant growing. Germination is quite quick, but not every seed will germinate and therefore in our step-by-step guide below we recommend planting 2-3 seeds per small planting pot or one seed every 3 to 4 cm apart if growing in a larger container.

Within 6 weeks you will have large, dark green, healthy spinach leaves to harvest and eat.

Is growing spinach Indoors easy?

Growing spinach indoors is relatively easy. But you will need to keep an eye on your spinach plants to ensure they are not placed in an area indoors that is too hot.

Remember to water them to ensure that they do not dry out.

Does spinach need direct sunlight?

Whilst most leafy vegetables prefer full sun, spinach is one that will grow easily in partial shade too.

When growing spinach indoors just place your pots or container in front of a window and this will provide the plant with enough light during the day to grow.

In fact, spinach grows well in the cooler months as too much sunlight or direct sunlight can encourage spinach to “bolt” too quickly

“Bolt” means to start to flower, and with this spinach will taste bitter, so harvesting is done before the plant sets flower.

Do you need artificial light or a growing lamp to grow spinach indoors successfully?

If you only have an area with a small window, or with no window where you want to grow spinach indoors, then you will need to buy a grow lamp to successfully grow spinach.

A grow lamp is a source of artificial light that will ensure your plants will thrive indoors. They can be bought quite inexpensively and are most often a good investment.

Especially when you realize how much money you are saving by growing your own spinach instead of buying it weekly by the kilo at your farmer’s market.

How do you germinate spinach seeds quickly?

Always start with a fresh pack of seeds. Avoid using any seeds you have over from previous years or with seed from out-dated packets. 

You can grow spinach indoors successfully by planting seeds directly in soil from the packet. However, for faster germination try soaking your spinach seeds in water for 24 hours before planting.

Is spinach a perennial? 

Spinach is not a perennial plant. It is an annual and is grown from seed each year.  One spinach plant grown with care in optimal conditions will give you between 2 to 3 harvests of spinach leaves. Thereafter, the plant will die and you need to sow fresh seeds for a new crop.

Is bolted spinach edible? 

We do not recommend that you eat spinach that has already bolted (gone to flower). The spinach leaves become bitter. Pull up the plant and start over with fresh seeds. 

How many seeds does it take to grow spinach? 

Plants seeds 2.5 cm apart (1 inch) in a container or 2-3 seeds per pot as not all germinate. Sow about 2 cm deep (just under an inch) with a light covering of soil as they need light to grow, so do not bury them too deep.

What size pot do you need to grow spinach indoors?

We recommend that you start with plastic growing pots with holes in the bottom, that are around 6 cm in height.

How big do indoor spinach plants get?

Plants grow to over 30 cm in height when grown indoors. Therefore we recommend that when you have established seedlings, plant out your spinach into larger pots to ensure there is room for the plant to establish a sturdy root system.

In a pot that is around 3.5 litres you will be able to grow 2 to 3 spinach plants together.

What kind of soil do you need to grow spinach plants?

Use a high quality mixture of soil or compost, rich in organic matter and that drains well. Read our article on how we can help you mix your own soil for optimal results.

How to grow spinach indoors: 17 easy steps for a successful spinach harvest at home

  1. Start off with 10 small plastic pots with holes in the bottom. The pots should be at around 6cm in depth.
  2. Mix your own potting soil at home according to our guide. The soil for spinach should be light and well drained.
  3. Fill each pot with soil up until about 2 cm from the rim.
  4. Place the pots on a tray and water each pot so the soil is moist. Let the excess water drain out of the bottom of the pot through the drainage holes.
  5. Place 2 seeds in each pot. Press each seed lightly to the surface of the soil.
  6. Cover the seeds with a light layer of soil. Do not bury the seeds too deeply, as they need light to grow.
  7. Place the pots on a sunny window sill or on a surface in a room with plenty of light. Put a tray under the pots so that when you water the excess water can drip out of the bottom.
  8. Keep your seeds moist, do not let the soil dry out. This means water about twice a week.
  9. In about 2 weeks the seedlings will start to grow. You may only get one seedling per pot and it is not guaranteed that all seeds will germinate.
  10. When the seedlings are about 4 weeks old and have started to grow leaves, you can transplant them into larger pots. Choose a pot about 20 cm deep (about 3-3.5 litre pots) and transplant one seedling per pot.
  11. Keep the seedlings well watered. Water at the base of the plant, and never from above over the leaves.
  12. Do not let the room you are growing your spinach in become too warm. Spinach prefers cool temperature. Warm temperature means the plants will flower (bolt) and the leaves will be bitter to taste.
  13. Your spinach will be ready to harvest in about 6 to 10 weeks.
  14. With a pair of scissors, harvest the small leaves but snipping them just above the base. This will encourage the plant to grow new leaves. You can get new growth 2-3 times per plant.
  15. Remove any developing flower heads to prolong the production of leaves.
  16. Sow fresh batches of seed every three to four weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.
  17. You should be able to get 2 or 3 growths of leaf from each plant. What out for leaf miners.

How to store spinach for later use

Like all fruits and vegetables, it is best to eat spinach fresh, when it has the most nutrients. However it freezes well if you have a very successful harvest and cannot eat up the fresh spinach before it becomes old.

Just pick your spinach leaves. Place them immediately into a plastic freezer bag and close with a clamp. There is no need to dispel the air from the bag (unless you do not have much freezer space). Place the bag straight into the freezer.

Do not wash or blanch the leaves before freezing, or they will be wilted when you defrost them again.

Which spinach varieties are the most popular to grow indoors?

Most often good results can be achieved with Apollo, Perpetual and Medania varieties. Try all three and label your pots. Then you can see which sort yields the best result for your indoor environment.

Apollo

(Spinacia Oleracea) This Apollo variety of spinach seeds are our favorit. Properly cared for, you will get dark green, shiny, strong leaves. This spinach blooms late helping you maximize your leaf yield in addition to being tolerant of potential sickness.

Perpetual

The Perpetual varity of spinach (Beta Vulgaris) is otherwise known as Chard. This quick-growing variety of spinach has thinner, lighter colored leaves that are delicious.

It’s really important to keep the soil moist during this long growing season. And you can also use a liquid fertilizer for vegetables. Follow the instructions on the package. 

Medania

(Spinacia Oleracea) This variety is very resistant to leaf mold and provides large, darm green leaves. Harvest regularly to encourage more leaf production.

Remember that spinach isn’t only good to eat but also to use in health drinks such as smoothies. Green smoothies are a great way to get your daily dose of vegetables. Just a handful or two will do and you can balance out the taste with a sweet fruit such as pineapple or mango. You will see that the taste goes well with all kinds of fruit smoothies.

Meet the author: Mattias is an experienced gardener spending most of his free time on his knees among herbs, plants and garden vegetables. For the past two years he has been sharing gardening projects and how-to tutorials on the NordicLavender website and YouTube channel.