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Kangkong Growing Guide

Champion of the Underdog » Tropical Gardening » Kangkong Growing Guide

Introducing Kangkong

Kangkong growing is easy because this semi-aquatic tropical plant (Ipomoea aquatica) is a water spinach that loves the tropical heat.

This plant is also known as Chinese watercress or swamp cabbage. Hence it originated from Southeast Asia. It is called ong choy (蕹菜) in Cantonese, and kōngxīncài (空心菜) in Mandarin.

Kangkong Growing in Pots

We recommend growing in pots or containers. There are a number of reasons to do this, including the capacity to control your kangkong and stop it spreading.

In some areas this plant is regarded as a noxious weed, because it can block waterways. Check with your local authorities and find out if this is a case in your area. If it is, simply grow your kangkong in a container.

Location and Soil

Position your plants in full sun where you can supply water, because you need to keep the ground damp. So you could also find somewhere the ground will be damp naturally.

Kangkong Growing from Seed

Time needed: 4 minutes

How to Grow Kangkong from Seed.

  1. When to plant.

    This plant can be grown from seed all year around in the tropics. However, you may want to plant it once the wet season starts, so less watering is required.

  2. Sow seeds

    Sow seeds 1cm deep. Firm down gently and keep moist. Sow your seed either into seed trays or direct into the containers where the Kangkong is to be grown. Grow your seedlings 15-20cm (6-8in) apart.

  3. Sun and Water

    Plant in full sun and water regularly. Remember, this plant is described as a ‘water spinach’ so it needs a lot of water, especially during the dry season.kangkong growing sun and water

  4. Harvesting

    Harvest with scissors making sure you cut at least 10cm (4in) from the ground. This allows the plant to grow more green growth for you to enjoy.

Can kangkong be grown from cuttings?

Kangkong is very easy to grow from cuttings. Cuttings of three or more nodes can be planted, making sure at least one node is under the soil surface. Keep the area around the plant moist and free of weeds.

Kangkong Growing in Pots

Kangkong growing in a pot, container or raised garden bed is a good idea. Indeed kangkong can become a pest or in tropical and sub-tropical waterways. For this reason alone it is a good idea to grow it in a container that will not allow it to spread into any nearby waterways.


Kangkong loves to be fed. A liquid fertiliser, chook manure or cow manure will boost growth rates.

Pruning / Harvesting

You need to harvest kangkong before it flowers. Cut off the leaves with a pair of scissors. Leave about 10cm (4in) and it will regrow so you can harvest again. So Kangkong is a gift that keeps on giving!


Kangkong prefers damp conditions. Consequently, it loves the banks of streams and wetlands. Indeed the green hollow stems will float on top of water or creep along damp ground.

Kangkong Growing Problems

In some areas kangkong is notified as a ‘noxious weed’ which means you must take care you grow it so it does not spread into the local environment. The other problem can be pests and diseases.

Pests and Diseases

Kangkong is more pest resistant than most other leafy greens. Grasshoppers and caterpillars are pests that can become a problem in the dry season. However, healthy planting material and good growing conditions can reduce any impact from these pests.

Regular application of ‘white oil’ can help address some of these pests. Indeed white oil is an effective organic pesticide that you can make at home.

Eating Kangkong

You can eat kangkong raw or cooked. Like most greens, it’s high in iron, but it’s not the slightest bit bitter, so you can use it in anything from stirfries to salads.

It is very versatile and can be boiled, blanched, or steamed. So Kang Kong has a wide variety of uses. Indeed, it can be added into curry sauces, as a soup vegetable or added into a stir fry.

kangkong stirfry
Kangkong Stirfry

Health Benefits of Kangkong Growing

Weight Loss

Eating kangkong can help you lose weight. It is very low in calories and also increases you feelings of being full.


This is a vegetable high in dietary fibres and is known to help prevent constipation.

Immune System

Kangkong is rich in Vitamin A. Consequently it is known to boost the immune system.


This vegetable is high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body. Consequently, they help the body to combat heart disease, cancer and other diseases.


Kangkong contains pre-biotic fibre. This is a type of fibre that must go though you undigested. Further, this is know to improve your gut health and promote ‘good’ bacteria. Consequently, it can also help people who suffer from constipation.

All the best with your Kangkong Growing.

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