Good King Henry Blitum bonus-henricus

How to sow Good King Henry: Direct seed outdoors or divide established plants.

Sun requirement for Good King Henry: Plant in Full Sun

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Good King Henry is low, clumping, perennial plant native to central Europe. It is in the Blitum genus and Amaranthaceae family, and related to spinach, amaranth, quinoa, beets, and chard. It was widely planted for in cottage gardens for hundreds of years, but has since fallen into relative obscurity and is sometimes considered a weed. Good King Henry is grown for its young spring shoots, which are similar to asparagus, and its leaves, which are cooked like spinach. The plant has triangular or diamond-shaped leaves that have a slightly waxy texture, and very small green flowers that produce reddish-green seeds. If starting from seed, it must be cold-stratified to aid the slow germination process. Seedlings do not transplant well once they are established, so be sure to transplant them once they have their first two true leaves. Harvest can begin in the second season of the plant's life: cut spring shoots while they are still tender at 12cm and under. Leaves can be added to salads or cooked like spinach to temper their bitterness. Seeds can be ground and mixed with flour to make bread. Young flower buds can be sautéed in butter. Herbal medicine has used the plant to relieve stomachaches.

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living and reproducing in a single year or less





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How to grow Good King Henry

Scientific names

Blitum bonus-henricus

Alternate names

poor-man's asparagus
perennial goosefoot
Lincolnshire spinach

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