Sissoo Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)


Sissoo spinach, Alternanthera sissoo, or Brazilian spinach is the perfect edible perennial groundcover. Sissoo forms dense mats a foot thick and shades out the soil, making weed seed germination nearly impossible. The leaves are purely crunchy without any slimy texture. This plant grows thick, lush, and roots when nodes touch the soil, what a perfect plant. Sissoo loves the shade too!



Take some rooted stems and throw them on the ground. Literally. I like to stick the cut end into the soil, maybe add some mulch and forget about it.

Sisso does not produce viable seeds. The only way it will spread is from the original planting.


Cut off stem


Remove bottom leaves and stick into the ground. It will root overnight


Sissoo prefers 50% shade and will grow deep green, tender leaves. If grown in a sunnier location it will grow well but not as lush and tender. Perfect under a tree!

It also likes to be pruned back for vigorous growth, making harvesting a must to keep the plant looking healthy.

I’ve found that planting a cluster rather than a single plant produces a dense ground cover, and pruning the plant often, adding the cuttings right around the parent plant.

This plant also loves organic matter, so be sure to enrich the soil a few times a year.


The leaves may be eaten raw, sauteed, steamed or boiled. This spinach does contain small amounts of oxalic acid, meaning if you eat large (large) quantities, you should cook them. They do cook quickly though.

Where to obtain planting materials

Ask a friend growing sissoo for some cuttings. It may also be found at some farmers markets or plant sales.

My Garden

One of my neighbors gave me a ton of cuttings a few months ago (thanks!), and I used them to really establish an area. Since this area has taken off, I’ve been eating a bunch of these leaves. It has great flavor and is actually one of the best ground covers I’ve used. In the shade not much can compete with it. It was the perfect addition to my perennial bed in the main garden. Including air-potato, winged bean, cranberry hibiscus, Malabar spinach, culantro, and with watermelon, and long beans. As this planting matures I will gladly spread cuttings to other areas I wish to have a carefree ground cover. Basically everywhere!


Happy Gardening!

9 thoughts on “Sissoo Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)

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  3. I’m looking for a use of the tiny flowers. Due to no seed, can they be used as mulch? Some of my sissoo is in the sun and tends to flower a lot, so looking for uses.

    • i haven’t noticed any issues with companion planting with this species. this is actually one of the hardiest ground covers I’ve seen. I’m trying to plant a lot more of it everywhere. It spreads readily if you weed wack it and it gets a good raining in!

  4. I actually like the Long Leaf variety better than the curly one. Have you tried both for taste and texture? I’m not saying it will be better for your taste buds, but mine like it more. Are the flowers on yours worth worrying about? Mine are tiny and tucked close to the “Vine”. Also, no seeds, no problemo for these plants. They will take over if you let them. Along with Malabar, Lagos (which is so beautiful, it’s hard not to let it run wild!), Waterleaf or Ceylon or Surinam or a dozen other names at least spinach – Talinum fruticosum is the botanical name of this tropical spinach which spreads itself like mad due to exploding seed pods that go EVERYWHERE after the pretty little pink flowers do their thing. There are many others, but these are the ones you have to look out for as I could see them being overly invasive it they get loose. Anyway, you guys have fun! It’s what it’s all about!

    • i havent tried them side by side to see if their flavor is any different. i assume its just the leaf shape? i have no issues with them flowering and i dont think they make seed. they do spread easily though. we like to weed wack it and have it grow wherever it gets thrown to.
      i havent heard of Talinum fruticosum. interesting!

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