Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Swiss Chard, Seakale Beet
Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla 'Bright Lights'

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Beta (BET-uh) (Info)
Species: vulgaris subsp. cicla
Cultivar: Bright Lights

Synonym:Beta vulgaris var. cicla

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 24 photos.
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12 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Suny_Freebird On May 9, 2012, Suny_Freebird from Cedar Bluff, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I live in the northeast corner of ALABAMA, zone 7b and have had great success growing Swiss Chard of several varieties. In fact, mine did not die over this past winter, and is thriving now. So please add Alabama to your list of where Swiss Chard is known to grow. Albeit most folks here have never heard of nor eaten it -- so that may be why. I was introduced to it in 1973 when I lived in Santa Barbara, CA, and have loved it ever since. The locals with whom I've shard all seem to love it also!

Positive grovespirit On Mar 15, 2011, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This delicious ornamental chard variety is also sold under several other names including 'Neon Lights', 'Rainbow Blend', and 'Five Color Silverbeet.'

Positive WayOutMan On Jul 4, 2009, WayOutMan from Thomasville, NC wrote:

First year growing it, and impressed how easy it was to sow. I picked a location that mainly gets morning sun, and shade for most of the day. My lettuce has already bolted, but this veggie is holding out great! When I cook them I take the stalk out, and cook them like greens, and yummy! I have also substituted them for spinach in dip, so instead of spinach dip it was chard dip (use only the leaves & dice). You can cook the stems, but it will take a little longer, and it has a celery feel when you eat it raw (strings too). I grow this in my front yard next to the porch, and it colors up my entrance nicely!

Positive neworleansdude On Apr 30, 2009, neworleansdude from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9b) wrote:

First year growing chard. Our growing season is basically year round, so seeds were planted inside in Jan. transplanted outdoors mid-Feb and most seem to be 'ok'. The largest one has reached maybe 20" but we have many more half that size. While our lettuce is bolting these just keep truckin'on. We only harvest a couple of leaves off each plant at a time to throw in a mixed green salad. I haven't even bothered trying to cook any of the stuff yet as it seems to do quite well raw. Not sure how it's going to do as the summer heats up and the plants continue to mature, but so far so good.

Positive pajaritomt On Oct 8, 2007, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have been growing this wonderful plant for many years in my 7,300 ft. garden. It grows easily and a small patch of it feeds my family and my friends generously. It's beauty cannot be denied. I have seen it used as an ornamental with great success. It is surprising it hasn't crept into the ornamental landscape more than it has. It is great to have a delicious, nutritious and ornamental plant in the garden!
What citizens of the US lack is recipes for this wonderful plant.

Positive blackbunny On Sep 21, 2006, blackbunny from Provincetown, MA wrote:

Beautiful, hardy, tasty, mostly pest-free....chard, and this gorgeous colorful variety in particular, is one of my all-time favorite plants. It seems to withstand bad weather, snails, slugs, and earwigs (who seem to live on it but not ruin it), and even lousy transplanting (looked like s--t after I decided to put it in another bed, but rallied big-time). The taste is lovely and sweet, and the texture buttery as long as water is provided regularly. Try this: Chop up an onion and throw it into some olive oil to brown over med-low heat in a big pot while you roughly chop up a big 2 handfuls of this chard's leaves (make sure to remove the slugs, earwigs, and well as some spiders, & save ribs for soup or whatever). Toss in the chard and some course salt & maybe pepper and let it stew over very low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring sometimes. Great with Polenta, or eat as you would use spinach. If there is any left over use it on a pizza.

Positive desert_witch On Mar 13, 2006, desert_witch from Lucerne Valley, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

It grows very well here all summer long, doing well even in our extended 100+ heat. I planted one bed in full sun and one in partial shade, and the part shade bed did out produce the full sun bed, but the plants in full sun were crisp and healthy, just smaller. (Who knows, maybe it wasn't the sun... it may have been I didn't water it as well or compost that bed enough or even that it didn't like being in bed with hot peppers....) I was also surprised that with NO attention at all, it overwintered here (8a). I didn't mulch, feed, weed or water, and although all the outer leaves wilted and turned brown, here it is almost spring and the center is still quick! Go figure!

Oh!! And I really think the flavour is excellent! More like "greens" than spinach, but not as strong or bitter as collards, mustard greens, etc.

Positive htop On Jan 17, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted 'Bright Lights' swiss chard last year at the end of January or the first of February for winter and cool weather color in a flowerbed. I had read that it could withstand our Texas summer heat, but doubted this fact. The plants made it through the summer and continue to thrive providing great beauty as well as great "eats".

Positive cappellona On May 25, 2004, cappellona from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I find this grows well in the Tucson area all year. I have found it grows best in summer if planted in area that gets approximately 6 hours of direct sunlight. Local nurseries advise not to plant in late Spring or summer. I find that planting at this time is no problem. I plant it in ORO Valley (just North of Tucson, Arizona at about 2600 ft.). It is extremely prolific.

Positive GILHOULEYHORSE On Apr 30, 2004, GILHOULEYHORSE from Hood River, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

I think I know this plant as 5 color silverbeet. I get way more than 5 colors out of it. Reddish-orange, and striped stems in addition to the regular. Mine blooms the second year. I had some 10 year old seed from my last seed setting, and the germination was way over 50%. The gophers will eat the roots, only over winter, and the beet leaf miner really destroys the leaves, so I put a row cover of tulle over it.

Positive Roselaine On Oct 2, 2002, Roselaine from North Vancouver, BC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Weez, just a little addendum to yours........these leaves are great in flower arrangements..boy, do they hold their own!!!! Elaine

Positive Weezingreens On Oct 1, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Bright Lights is a colorful collection of Swiss chard with stems of electric colors from yellows to deep violet red. It matures in 90 days. Outside leaves can be harvested for "cut and come" all season long. Swiss chard is both delicious and nutritious, and can be steamed, served raw in salad, or used as a wrapper.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cedar Bluff, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Clovis, California
Lucerne Valley, California
Redwood City, California
Ridgemark, California
San Diego, California
Seaside, California
Bradley, Florida
Orange Springs, Florida
Mililani, Hawaii
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Hinsdale, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Cresco, Iowa
New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Bark River, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan (2 reports)
Ada, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Walpole, New Hampshire
Bayville, New Jersey
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Brooklyn, New York
Thomasville, North Carolina
Vinton, Ohio
Boise City, Oklahoma
Hood River, Oregon
Wilsonville, Oregon
Bensalem, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Eagle Pass, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Dayton, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia

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