Waterleaf (Talinum triangulare) is one of the many vegetables used for cooking in Nigeria.
It’s an easy to grow crop,
And does not need so much attention especially when growing it for home use.
It can thrive on various kind of soil,
Once planted in a place subsequently, especially during the rainy season it grows out by itself.
Just like Amaranthus (green) so you could just see them growing randomly in different parts of your garden or farm.
It can sometimes become weed (unwanted plant)
But sometimes I don’t mind it’s lovely when my weed is my food.
See steps below on how to grow waterleaf in your garden or farm.
Description Of The Waterleaf Plant
Waterleaf is a perennial crop that grows upright.
The crop height is about 15 cm (½ ft) – 40 cm (1.3 ft) depending on the variety.
The stem is light green in colour, smooth and succulent,
And carries the branches and leaves
The leaves like the stem are light green in colour and succulent too.
They are oval in shape,
It’s rounded at the end
The leaf is smooth on the surface and edges.
The flower has bright purple coloured petals with yellow anther and filaments,
They are bisexual and self pollinated.
The plant has inflorescence that is described as triangular in shape because it has three sides.
The plant produces fruits
This is the light lemon or yellow lemon ellipsoid capsule that carries the seeds.
The seed are very tiny, lots of it is found inside the capsule,
Matured seeds are black or brown in colour, while the immature seeds are white or cream in colour.
Planting Season For Waterleaf
Water leaf can be grown at any time of the year as long as it’s been watered properly.
It’s a common practice by many to grow waterleaf during the raining season,
Which is usually between March to October.
It’s easier to grow it during the rainy season; you don’t have to worry about watering it.
That’s why it’s usually in abundance in the market during this time,
And the price is low.
On the other hand water leaf grows very well too during the dry season
Which is usually between November to February.
The crop will thrive if well watered by irrigation.
Step 1: Choose a location
Choose a location that’s not waterlogged.
Ensure it’s open to good amount of sunlight
Although waterleaf can thrive on any kind of soil for good yield, sandy loamy soil is best.
Step 2: Land clearing and preparation
Once a good location has been chosen
- Remove weeds, shrubs or dirt from the soil, do the same if you’re planting in containers
- Till the soil
- Add manure to it and incorporate it into the soil.
Step 3: Seed selection and means of propagation
Waterleaf can be grown via the seed or stem
- The stem (as a mean of propagation)
Select good looking stems from an existing matured waterleaf plant
Or waterleaf bought in the market
Take off the leaves
Now the stems are ready for planting.
- The seed (as a mean of propagation)
Buy seeds from the market or garden store
If you have a waterleaf plant at home you can harvest seeds from them.
- How to harvest waterleaf seeds
The seeds are located at the top of the inflorescence, enclosed in a lemon yellow ellipsoid capsule.
When the seeds are matured the capsule appear dry.
Break the capsule and collect the seeds in it,
This should be done carefully as the seeds are tiny.
Step 4: Planting
- Planting with the stem
Make about 5 cm (2 in) hole into the soil and put in the stem
or make the hole deep enough to hold the stem upright as the length of the stem would vary.
A spacing of 30 cm (11.8 in) by 30 cm (11.8 in)
or 30 cm (11.8 in) by 15 cm ( 5.9 in) in a smaller space.
- Planting with the seed
Make a bed
On the bed make rows about 2.5 cm ( 1 in ) deep,
And the spacing between each row about 30 cm (11.8 in)
Spread the seeds in each row and cover up with sand.
After about a week after germination, thin the plant.
And you can transplant the other plants to a different spot.
You can also choose to grow the seed on trays or small garden bags
And transplant to the desired location after germination.
Step 5: Water
Water the soil after planting.
Subsequently water plants at least once a day.
During the rainy season there might be little or no need for water depending on how the rains fall.
Maturity and Harvest
When growing by stem between 3 days to 1 week new leaves begin to show up
When growing by seed germination takes place within 1 to 2 weeks after planting.
Waterleaf is ready for harvest after about 3 to 4 weeks after planting by stem
And 4 to 5 weeks when planted by seeds.
The vegetable is harvested by cutting it from the stem, using a knife your kitchen knife can do this.
The stem left in the soil will produce a fresh set of leaves after wards
Pruning it helps it to branch out and produce more leaves.
Waterleaf has a short shelf life,
In a week or less after harvest it begins to spoil
To keep it for long at home
Wrap the leaf in paper and place it in the refrigerator.
This should keep the vegetable fresh for about a week or two.
Wash, cut the vegetable put it in a bag and keep in the freezer,
This should last for a longer time, about a month or more.
Pests and Diseases
- White leaf spot
- Leaf mosaic
- Dark green spots
Pest and Disease Control
- Crop rotation
Hope this article was helpful?