How to Grow Water Spinach (Kangkong)

Water spinach (Ipomea aquatic Forssk) is a herbaceous perennial aquatic or semi-aquatic upland crops and is also called Water Convolvulus that belongs to the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).

Other names of water spinach includes; Tropical spinach, Kankon, Weng Cai, Ngung Choi, Ung Tsoi, Ung Choi, Kong Xin Cai, Tong Si Tsai, Toongsintsai, Hung sam choi, Ong tung tso, Ong Choy, Ungtsai, Tung Choy, Kang Kong, Kang Kung, Rau Muong, Swamp Cabbage and Swamp morning glory.

Because of its trailing vine-like stems which are hollow, they are adapted to grow in water due to their floating ability. Their root systems are readily developed from their nodes that could easily contact with the water or directly to the soil. That’s why they can easily grow either in water or in soil condition.

Some varieties of Water spinach are the green stem (Ching Quat) and the white stem (Pak Quat), both favors for any soil type in their growth.

The Pak Quat type is semi-upright with white stem, bamboo leaf appearance with yellow-green leaves. This type is tolerant to heat and humid condition. It’s fast growing, high yielding, tender and less fibrous.

The Ching Quat type is semi-upright with green stem, broad green leaves and almost the same growth requirement with Pak Quat variety. Both varieties can be harvested 50 days after seed sowing or transplanting.

Swamp cabbage is rich with Iron and Vitamin A.

Growing requirements for Swamp cabbage.

Soil requirement. Swamp cabbage is tolerant to any kind of soil, they are not selective as long as there is plenty of water supply during its growing period. In the Philippines, you could see anywhere of this crop growing wild in the country, in rice paddies, along the fences and highways. They can even be grown in water fast with bothering to maintain them. They are sometimes called the lazy man’s crop in the Philippines. Because, once you plant them, just leave them alone until harvest time.

Planting. They can be propagated from seeds or through cuttings. For commercial production, it’s better to plant cuttings since they’re fast growing crop than growing them from seeds. Just cut the top portion of the stem, plant them directly into your prepared beds. Water after planting to maintain soil moisture until the plant are established. You can also plant them directly in the wet land. Plant the cuttings in the wet field, flood the area with water.

Harvesting. Swamp cabbage is ready for harvest six weeks after planting. Harvesting is done by cutting all the entire plant leaving at least 2 -3 inches from the ground for upland culture. The cut portion will produce again another new shoots after two weeks.

Happy gardening!