Growing Summer Greens in Florida: A Guide to Thriving in the Heat

Growing Summer Greens in Florida: A Guide to Thriving in the Heat

Growing greens in Florida can be a challenging task, particularly during the hot summer months. Traditional lettuces and greens tend to bolt before the summer season begins, resulting in a less than satisfactory harvest. However, this should not discourage you from attempting to grow greens in Florida. There are various summer greens that are able to thrive in the Florida heat and can be consumed raw.
My current favorites include Malabar Spinach, Longevity Spinach, Okinawa Spinach, Hibiscus Leaves, Chicory, and Basil. These greens are not only easy to grow but also delicious and ideal for incorporating into summer salads or smoothies.

Malabar Spinach

malabar spinach - basella alba

Malabar Spinach, scientifically known as Basella alba, is a perennial vine that is both edible and visually appealing. It is suitable for growing in a container garden on a back porch, where it can climb a trellis and add greenery to the space. The soil should be rich with compost amendments and regular doses of compost tea are recommended for optimal growth.

Longevity Spinach

longevity spinach - gynura procumbens

Longevity Spinach, or Gynura procumbens, and Okinawa Spinach, or Gynura bicolor, are heat-loving greens that can be consumed raw. They are suitable choices for a Florida garden and have been known to be resilient to pests and diseases.

Cranberry Hibiscus

cranberry hibiscus - acetella racemosa

Cranberry Hibiscus Leaves, or acetella racemosa, are a viable option for a Florida summer garden. These leaves are packed with flavor and nutrition and can be consumed raw or cooked. I love them as a garden snack with their tart delicious flavor. They are also great as part of your salad greens, as they add a nice red pop of color too!


chicory - bitter green

Chicory, a perennial green, is easy to grow and can be consumed raw or cooked. It is an excellent option for adding a bitter element to meals. I like to saute chicory with miso, or rice wine to balance the bitterness with a bit of sweetness. It is known to be heat-tolerant, and survives straight through the summer for me.  Disclaimer:  Bitter AF to most people.  The more I eat bitter the more I crave it.  And I love some bitter greens during the summer.  The miso or rice wine really do balance the bitter well if you want the benefits of bitters with less of the taste.


african basil

Finally, Basil, an herb, is an ideal choice for a Florida summer garden. This herb is easy to grow and can be consumed raw or cooked. It is a great addition to salads, smoothies, and other dishes. I like to grow African Blue Basil, because it never goes to seed. That helps a lot when you are in hot summers that may encourage herbs to seed or bolt.

Don't let the Florida heat deter you from growing greens in your garden! There are various summer greens that thrive in the Florida heat and can be consumed raw. By conducting research and experimenting, you can achieve a bountiful summer harvest of delicious greens that will enhance your culinary experiences.

The information provided on this blog and website is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional before using any herbs or supplements. The authors of this blog and website do not accept any responsibility for the use or misuse of the information provided.