15+ of the best heat-tolerant greens for your summer garden crops

Whether you’re adapting your garden to climate change or just want greens for the sweltering days of summer, this list of heat-tolerant greens will give you inspiration for your garden.

If you’re a gardener in a hot climate, you know the challenges of rising temperatures due to climate change. The soil becomes less moist as the weather warms, resulting in less water for your plants.

Or maybe you just long for a salad from your own garden even as the temperatures soar. The following greens can handle the heat and provide a diverse and flavorful harvest on hot days.


1. Bok Choy

If you want something versatile and heat-resistant, bok choy (Brassica rapa subsp. Chineses) is an excellent choice. Native to China, this leafy green has a bulbous bottom, which makes it stand out in any garden.

Once harvested, you can easily clean it and chop it up in a stir-fry with other vegetables. Alternatively, you can eat it raw in a salad.

This crop is ideal for warm climates because it takes a while to establish itself in the heat, allowing it to survive longer than other greens like lettuce.

2. Dinosaur Kale

You can find this green in many Italian-inspired dishes such as soups and pasta recipes. Some gardeners like to grow this crop as an ornamental edible because of its striking dark green color, which looks almost purple in evening light.

Dinosaur cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. palmifolia) is great for adding texture and color to your garden on hot days. If you leave it on the stalk too long, it becomes tough, making it perfect for livestock fodder.

3. Egyptian spinach

It’s hard to mention heat-tolerant greens without including Egyptian spinach (Corchorus olitorius). Like bok choy, this crop takes a while to grow, making it suitable for growing in warm climates.

When the flowers are pollinated, they turn into edible, okra-flavored pods. This green is often called ‘Molokhia’ and grows tall when planted in your garden. You can cook this spinach in a variety of Middle Eastern dishes as well as classic garden salads.

4. Green cabbage

Biennial cabbage (Brassica olaracea) can be planted in raised beds, soil or containers. This is a great crop for people who want to grow greens indoors. The harvest of collard greens is bountiful, so you can expect to feed a family with this crop.

These vegetables tolerate heat and can also withstand cooking.

5. Sweet potato

You might be wondering why sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are included in this list of heat-tolerant greens, but their greens are delicious and heat-tolerant. In fact, some people only grow this crop for its leaves because they are so tasty.

Plus, you can harvest the leaves while the sweet potatoes are still growing. Thus, this culture gives you two things for the price of one. Just harvest them like Egyptian spinach with a pair of scissors and clean them before cooking.

Be sure to leave at least half of the leaves if you want a root crop so the plant has enough energy to produce a large tuber.

6. Longevity Spinach

Gynura procumbens is another type of spinach that grows well in heat. It’s low maintenance, looks great, and can be left alone if you have to travel in the spring or summer.

Research shows that eating spinach can prevent certain diseases and lower blood sugar levels.

7. Moringa

Also known as drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera), this magical plant can survive both extremely hot and cold climates, making it a popular choice for gardeners. The nutritional benefits of this plant are amazing, so you should add it to your crop list.

The leaves can be made into a salad or used in a smoothie to boost your immune system. You can also use them to make a soothing cup of tea!

8. Chaya

This edible leafy green (Cnidoscolus aconitifoliuslisten)) is native to Mexico and Central America. It is also known for its impressive nutritional benefits and antioxidant properties. If you can find this culture in America, it is ideal for growing in warm regions.

As a general rule, it is essential to cook the chaya for at least 20 minutes because it eliminates all traces of cyanide in the plant. As long as you cook it well, it is perfectly safe for consumption.

9. Katouk

Belonging to the Phyllanthaceae family, Androgynous auropus is commonly found in traditional Southeast Asian dishes. It is easy to grow and can thrive in heat. You can also harvest the edible berries from this leafy crop.

The raw leaves taste like peanuts and the cooked leaves taste like spinach!

In addition to being delicious, a study published in the Journal of Ethnic Foods shows that the plant has antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anticancer potential, so eat it!

10. Edible Leaf Hibiscus

This perennial leafy green (Manihot of Abelmoschus) does not require much attention and can be grown in warm gardens. The tallest it can produce is 2 feet with the right growing conditions, making it fantastic for self-sufficient farmers looking for a big harvest.

You can eat the leaves and flowers of this green.

11. Cranberry Hibiscus

Another sun-loving hibiscus plant is cranberry hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella). This shrub is usually grown for ornamental purposes, but not many people know about its edible uses and how it can improve your health.

This crop is red compared to the other heat-tolerant greens on this list. So you can have variety in your garden and enjoy its tasty leaves in meals at home.

12. Swiss chard

A staple heat-tolerant green for any gardener is Swiss chard (vulgar beta). Even though Swiss chard looks like celery, the leaves and stems are slightly sweet and mild, similar to spinach.

This crop can also grow in the cold, so it is a versatile heat-tolerant green suitable for many different gardens.

13. Ethiopian mustard

Ethiopian rapeseed or mustard (Brassica carinata) is a great crop for warm locations if you want to grow a collection of heat-tolerant greens and flowers.

This green is a cousin of mustard and produces thousands of seeds. It is probably a natural hybrid of black mustard (B. nigra) and wild cabbage (B. oleracea). They might bolt faster than some of the other greens on this list, but their vast harvest is worth it.

Ethiopian rapeseed is hardy and does not suffer from many pests and diseases.

14. Amaranth

Growing Red Flowering Amaranth Plants

For small farmers, amaranth leaves (Amaranthus spp.) are one of the best choices. In the past, this crop supported empires, and today is used as a leaf vegetable and grain. It was first discovered in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Since then, many gardeners have grown this leafy, warm-weather green around the world. It has a pleasant taste and will produce a stunning purple stem as it grows. It’s also heat tolerant, so you can eat greens even when summer is raging.

15. Arugula

Our last (but not least) heat-tolerant green is arugula (Eruca bladder ssp. sativa). This leafy green is a reliable crop that grows quickly once planted.

Not all arugula cultivars are heat tolerant, so look for these greens when shopping: ‘Astro’, ‘Slow Bolt’ and wild arugula tuypes. You can also limit bolting time by keeping the soil moist and in partial shade during hot months.

A few extras

In addition to the 15 heat-tolerant greens above, here are some other crops you can grow in hot climates:

  • Curly Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellic)
  • Ceylon spinach (Talin fruticosum)
  • Sisso Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)
  • Tat Self (Brassica rapa ssp. Narinosa)

Green salad that grows in warm weather

Butter head lettuces are some of the best heat tolerant lettuces out there and won’t lock down when the weather kicks up a notch. For many salads, you can start planting in early spring and harvest throughout the summer.

Of course, this will depend on your region and how high the temperatures are. For the most part, this is how gardeners prepare for the warm season.

Once planted, butterleaf salads do not require much maintenance. You should water the crop once or twice a week and place mulch on the soil for extra nutrients.

Miniature bronze,’ ‘Butter crunch,’ ‘Ermosa,’ ‘Wonder of the four seasons,’ ‘Red Cross,’ ‘summer bibb,’ and ‘boston white‘ are all more heat tolerant than other types of lettuce.

Lollo Rosso,’ ‘Paradai Oak Leaf,’ ‘red sails,’ and ‘green ruby‘ all provide red leaves with some heat tolerance.

Tips for growing in the summer

When choosing crops to grow in the summer, choose as many leafy varieties. These greens are more heat resistant and are slower to bolt.

You also need to be careful not to sow your seeds at the wrong time. For example, most lettuce seeds go dormant once the temperature hits 80°F, so you should plant them when the weather is mild.

Watering is essential for summer crops, so you must be vigilant to check soil moisture levels and provide additional water if needed. It’s also a good idea to provide shade during the hottest hours of the day to prevent the leaves from being scorched.

The final tip is to harvest regularly to promote the future growth of your greens. The plant will stop growing new foliage if left too long, as this signals to the plant that it does not need to keep producing and can go to seed.

Fortunately, you can never eat enough salad, so you can cook delicious meals all summer long!

Was this article helpful?

Yes No ×

We appreciate your helpful feedback!

Your response will be used to improve our content. The more feedback you give us, the better our pages will be.

Follow us on social networks:

Facebook pinterest

Leave a Comment