Growing A Stir-fry part 2 – Chop Suey Greens

by Ciaran Burke

Chop suey greens

Chop suey greens are sometimes called chrysanthemum greens. They have a nice aromatic flavour, the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The young stems and leaves are great in a stir fry.

Chop suey greens are types of Chrysanthemums, botanists have done a bit of chopping and slicing of the Chrysanthemum genus and the chop suey greens are now classified as Xanthophthalmum coronarium, quite a mouthful! They are quite hardy annuals that can with stand frosts and tolerate low light levels in winter and grow best in cool conditions. They can be grown in tunnel in winter and are also suitable for containers  They will grow about 15cm high and wide in their leafy stage and attain 60cm in height when flowering. The flowers are yellow, daisy-like and quite pretty. it could be grown as much for its flowers as for its aromatic flavoured stems.

Growing Chop Suey Greens

Site and Soil type

Easy to accomodate as they will grow in most soil types, their growth will be more vigorous and lush in soil with higher fetiltiy. they grow well in full sun but will tolerate some degree of shade.

Sowing and growing

First sowing for very early crops can be made undercover and grown on in tunnel. As soon as oil warms up in Spring and the soil is workable sow outside, in mid March in our garden.

Autumn crops can be sown towards the end of summer and winter crops can be grown in tunnel if sown in autumn.

The seed is small so do not cover thickly or sow in shallow drills outdoors. You can start early crops in trays or module for transplanting later. For direct sown crops in drills thin the seedlings 10-13cm (4-5in) apart and transplant plants from trays at the same distance.


The first harvests can be made after 4-5 weeks when shoots are 5-10cm (2-4in) high, young leaves and shoots are more tender. You can treat them as Cut and Come Again and plants will re-sprout after cutting. We use not onluy the leaves but the young stems too. Leaves can be used raw but stems are better cooked. Over cooked leaves have a tendency to become bitter.

Leaves wilt rapidly after harvest to use immediately.

Flower of chop-suey greens- Xanthophthalmum coronarium

Do not let the plants go to flower, unless you want to use them as ornamentals or to collect seed for the next year Plants left to flower will often self-seed in their plot. To prevent flowering chop back plants when they start to become woody and the plants will often regenerate.

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