Beta vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group) consists of a number of different cultivars of Beta vulgaris which are grown for harvest of leafy vegetables (mostly chard and beet spinach). They are typically grown as annuals in moist, light, fertile, organically-rich, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Plants thrive in cool summer temperatures, but are tolerant of heat and humidity. Add nitrogen fertilizers to the soils as needed. Plants are grown from seed clusters (each with 3 or 4 seeds) which are typically sown in the ground in early spring for harvest from late spring to early fall in Zones 3-7, but in summer for harvest over winter in Zones 8-10. Several seedlings will emerge from each seed cluster. Young plants should be thinned carefully by hand. Plants typically need regular and consistent moisture. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. When grown in vegetable gardens, plants should be grown in rows about 18-24” apart. Successive plantings may be made every month during the growing season if desired. As leaves are harvested from the outer parts of each plant, new leaves will grow up from the middle. It is generally best to regularly remove the largest leaves (whether or not eaten) to encourage growth of new tender tasty leaves.
The Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder: Look up, view a photo and read about the over 6,800 plants which are growing or have been grown in the Kemper Center display gardens (plus selected additions) by scientific name, common name and/or selected plant characteristics.