Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens


  • Botanical name: Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens
  • Common name: Chard
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Plant Type: Vegetable

Chard, rainbow chard or Swiss chard, Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens, is a highly ornamental vegetable, bearing large, fleshy, deep green leaves with a similar flavour to spinach. Stalks are thick and crisp, and come in a variety of colours including white, yellow and red. Chard is easy to grow and incredibly rich in nutrients. If left in the ground over winter it can provide you with an extremely early crop the following spring.


Sow seed direct in prepared soil from March to August, at a depth of 1cm in drills 30cm apart, and thin seedlings to 7cm. Young leaves may be harvested to use in salads after eight weeks. Leave plants to mature for larger leaves.


Varieties include ‘Bright Lights’, with stalks that come in a variety of bright colours, red-stemmed variety ‘Fantasy’, and yellow-stemmed ‘Bright Yellow’.

How to grow Beta vulgaris

  • Plant size

    50cm height

    40cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, east facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full sun
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December


Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

Beta vulgaris and wildlife

Beta vulgaris has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Beta vulgaris poisonous?

Beta vulgaris has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Beta vulgaris


Rumex acetosa

Broad-leaved sorrel