Hablitzia Tamnoides is a semi shade loving perennial climber with mild edible spinach type leaves. Originating in the Caucasus region, it has been grown in Scandinavian countries as an ornamental before making a bit of a renaissance recently by author and plant expert Stephen Barstow. Now permaculturists and forest gardeners as well as those interested in perennial vegetables are beginning to give it a try as another possible staple that can happily grow in any garden with a shady spot. The young shoots can be eaten in early spring as well as pickings from the more mature leaves over the summer. Hablitzia seeds need a period of cold to germinate. Sow outside in a cold frame over the winter or sow in spring and place in the fridge for 10 days to trigger germination.
Hablitzia Tamnoides – Growing tips
Start off with seed – you can sow in pots from October through to January and leave outside in a cold frame and the seeds will germinate naturally over a number of weeks. Alternatively for a spring sowing, seeds need to be stratified for a period of 7-10 days in a fridge ( sow in damp compost or vermiculite and place in a plastic bag). Sow the seeds at a depth of 1-2mm. This period of cold followed by removal from the fridge helps to trigger germination.
Seedlings can then be handled and potted on ready to be planted out when big enough. The plants need something to scramble up and can reach 7-10 ft tall. In the autumn they produce very decorative green/white flowers which eventually turn into tiny black seeds. The foliage dies back and over the winter a crown of baby shoots that produce the next years growth will emerge. Once the plants are mature you can crop the early shoots and then leave the rest to start growing and climbing and harvest leaves throughout spring and summer. You can collect an awful lot of seed from mature plants and also divide up the roots if you are careful. It is a good idea to plant two or more plants close to each other to ensure the plants produce viable seed. Slow in the first year, they really go for it in the second and third.
Our original seed came from Stephen Barstow and we now have a number of established plants. Seed currently available in our online shop, plants available from spring 2017.