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BETA vulgaris 'Italian Silver Rib'

Image of Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla 'Italian Silver Rib'

Family

Chenopodiaceae

Botanical Name

BETA vulgaris ssp. cicla 'Italian Silver Rib'

Plant Common Name

Italian Silver Rib Swiss Chard, Swiss Chard

General Description

The pleasantly mild leaves and ribs of 'Italian Silver Rib' are mellow and delicious. This large-leaved Italian heirloom Swiss chard has wide, flat, white stems and tapered, crinkly, dark green leaves. Harvest can begin about 65 days after sowing and continue all season long, though they taste best in spring and fall when days are cool and nights chilly. Harvest healthy, mature, glossy leaves by cutting them cleanly at the base.

Swiss chard is planted for its big crinkly leaves that can be eaten in salads, soups or simply sautéed. Usually grown as an annual, it is a true biennial. Unlike its cousin the beet, chard is not grown for its fleshy roots but for its large edible leaves and fleshy stems that can be harvested all season long. If not pulled in the first year, plants will produce spikes of unimpressive flowers in the second year. These produce lots of seed that can be collected and replanted.

Chard is an easy vegetable to grow. It needs full sun and fertile, slightly alkaline garden soil. It is quite heat tolerant but grows best in cooler seasons. In fact, the leaves become bitter tasting in extremely hot weather. Plants may be directly seeded or transplanted as seedlings into the vegetable garden. Sow chard a few weeks before the last frost date in temperate zones and in the winter in warm, frost-free areas. Feed with a balanced fertilizer and water regularly.

Italian Silver Rib Swiss chard is pretty enough to be planted as a bedding plant but is best-suited as a vegetable crop.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    10"-18" / 25.4cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Red, Green

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes