Growing and Saving the Seed Of Orach

Latin name Atriplex hortensis is an annual member of the amaranth family. Often considered a more heat-tolerant spinach substitute, it should be noted that orach actually loves cool weather and thrives in spring and fall plantings. It has a reputation for being heat tolerant beause it's slower to bolt than spinach. Its high tolerance for salt also makes it great for coastal gardens.



Native to Europe and Siberia. Said to be one of the most ancient cultivated plants.


  • Edible leaves are a great spinach substitute.
  • Beautiful seedheads are ideal for floral design and arrangements.




  • Direct sow seeds outdoors 2-3 weeks before last frost date.
  • Sow seeds 1/4-1/2 inch deep.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 50-65 F.
  • Seeds germinate in 7-14 days.


  • Plants prefer full sun to part shade.
  • Sow seeds densely, 2 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart and harvest in cut-and-come-again fashion when plants reach 4-6 inches tall, cutting the plants to just 2 inches above ground when harvesting.
  • Alternatively, you can thin the plants to 12 inches apart and eat the thinnings, then allow remaining plants to produce leaves and pick by hand.
  • Orach is a cold-hardy plant that needs moist, fertile soil.
  • Sow late winter to mid spring or plant in early fall for late fall harvest.


  • A relatively pest- and disease-free plant


  • Orach will produce an abundance of seeds on beautiful, showy seedheads.
  • Allow seeds to dry and hand pick.
  • Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry location.