One of my favorite and easiest plants to grow is longevity spinach (Gynura procumbens). It is a perennial in the Tampa Bay area unless there is a freeze, then it may die back to the roots and return in the spring. In areas with colder temperatures, it can be grown as an annual or brought inside during the winter. It does grow year round, but growth will slow during the cooler months.
This plant has a light green leaf, a thick but tender stem and a sprawling habit, reaching about one foot in height, but can reach three or four feet in width unless cut. The stems will grow along the ground and produce roots. If you plant it near a shrub, it will use it as support and grow up into it. It produces orange flowers in the spring.
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I usually break or cut a stem off the plant, harvest the leaves for dinner and put the stem back in the ground to root and make another plant but the stem can also be cut and used like celery in soups or stews. It can be eaten raw or cooked. I like to chop the leaves and add it to pasta dishes or anywhere you would use spinach, or use it raw in salad or on a sandwich instead of lettuce.
If you’re local to Pinellas County, Florida, check out our Garden Shop in St. Petersburg, where we sell longevity spinach.