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Beta vulgaris cicla group

Swiss chard

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Key information

Plant type



Dramatic foliage


Half hardy

Skill level


photo by Richard Bloom, copyright GAP Photos (57657)

Plant details

Swiss chard is a very good alternative to ordinary spinach. It is less prone to bolting. If you sow it from mid-spring you can start picking in summer. It will overwinter to provide leaves during milder weather in winter and crops really well from spring to early summer. It can also be sown in mid or late summer. Gardeners sometimes call it seakale beet. The broad, white midribs can be steamed and eaten separately from the bright green, wrinkled and deeply veined leaves.

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Genus: Beta

Species: vulgaris cicla group

Plant type: Vegetable

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 60cm

Spread: 30cm

Time to plant seeds: April to May

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