We can bet that you need to know how to grow chia seeds. Why? You probably have already seen popular recipes for chia pudding or a lot of advice on incorporating seeds in your daily meals. Such recipes are extremely helpful because chia is very nutritious. In this article, we have gathered the most useful tips on how to grow this superfood from seeds.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are the tiny seeds of the Chia (Salvia hispanica). Incan, Aztecs, and Mayan appreciated chia seeds. They used them for food and even medicine and some ritual practices. And there's no coincidence that 'chia' means 'strength' in the Mayan language due to its richness of antioxidants, healthy omega oils, vitamins, and minerals. So no doubt, these seeds are beneficial for health. Chia seeds are helpful with hypoglycemia, diabetes, and celiac disease and can lower cholesterol. It is surprising that with all of these health benefits, chia seeds became popular in the USA only in the 1980s!
Types of Chia Seeds
If you are familiar with chia seeds, you have probably noticed that there are two types: white and black.
- WHITE CHIA SEEDS: They are rarer and have more Omega-3s than black ones.
- BLACK CHIA SEEDS: These ones are more common in supermarkets and contain more protein.
How to Grow Chia Seeds Without Soil
It's not that hard to grow chia seeds indoors. Here's one of the methods. As you can guess, you don't need soil at all!
- Soak seeds in the jar of water for 10 hours.
- Then you need the Gaia sprouter. Soak the trays for 20 minutes before using.
- Ten hours later, pour the soaked seeds into the tray and wait until the water drains out.
- After this, the seeds need to be rinsed with fresh water.
- Restack the sprouter.
- Don't forget to put the lid on top of the stacked trays. The seeds need moisture, so this will be extremely helpful.
- You need to repeat the simple procedure for seven days: rinse the trays twice daily.
This method can also be used for other plants such as kale, fenugreek, broccoli, mustard, clover, radish, etc. If you're facing any problems in the process, get help from our experts in Ask a Botanist feature.
Other Ways to Grow Chia Seeds
There are other methods, and some of them also don't require soil.
Mostly you don't need something special to grow the seeds; you can use the most available means, such as a plate and a piece of cloth.
- First of all, you need linen or nylon cloth on a plate.
- Mist the fabric and place the chia seeds on top of it.
- And then cover it with another plate.
You will see the results after a few days!
This method is the most common one; you will need only soil.
- Barely cover the seeds with soil. You can choose almost any substrate for this purpose. However, sandy and clay soils are the most suitable.
- Water regularly. Despite being drought-tolerant, chia seeds need a lot of water during the period when they are forming the roots.
- Then you can harvest the seeds from the plant when most of the petals fall off.
- Dry the flowers and separate the seeds from the petals.
And whatever method you choose, don't forget to place the plant somewhere it can get enough sunlight; full sun for six hours is the best.
Tips on How to Plant Chia Seeds
Planting as a process seems easy, but at the same time, you can still make some mistakes. So here are some tips on how to do everything well initially.
- Choose small containers with drainage holes.
- Place the seeds on the top of the soil.
- Spacing is not a big deal; just spread the seeds in the thin layer.
- Then slightly cover them with the soil. But not too deeply. Remember that seeds are tiny, and you can easily lose them below the soil.
- Another useful tip – consult with expertised Botanists to get any plant-related help.
How to Sprout Chia Seeds Step-By-Step
Not only seeds but also sprouted chia seeds are perfect for your health because they are an excellent source of chlorophyll and fiber. Also, as it was mentioned at the beginning, such food is extremely good for vegetarians or vegans – sprouted chia seeds can help you keep the levels of protein, iron, and calcium in check. And here are the methods and tips for growing chia seeds.
If aesthetics is very important to you, you can try to grow the seeds with the shape of literally anything! Sometimes such a method is called 'the pet method' because often, people are growing these seeds in the form of their favorite animals. Don't feel limited – you can choose whatever shape you want! And it's so easy!
- Choose the desired shape.
- Take a terra cotta dish.
- Distribute the seeds evenly in the bottom of the dish forming a shape you want.
- Water the seeds.
Be patient: soon you will see your little sprouts!
- Pick a mason jar or any container with a lid. The jar should have a wide mouth because it will be covered with a cloth.
- Let the seeds soak in water overnight.
- Over the night, the seeds will have a gel texture.
- The next day let the water drain out through the fabric.
How to Care for Chia Sprouts
The harvesting of chia plants is not hard at all! These plants don't need a lot of attention. But having chia seed sprouts in your kitchen can be extremely rewarding due to their benefits for health.
We have already mentioned that the chia plant is sun-loving. As you can guess, such a need for sun hints that this plant will be tolerant of hot weather. So if you want to grow them indoors, here are some tips:
- Choose a place where it can get 6 hours of bright full sun per day.
- Plant the seeds during the bright period of the day, not in the afternoon.
Mix & Soil Recommendations
The right soil is always the key to success for plants, and chia plants are no exception. Still, they are adaptable to different conditions.
- In their natural surroundings, these plants tend to grow in sandy soils. So pay attention to potting mix combined with sand or perlite.
- Good drainage is also essential. This plant can tolerate dryness but not soggy soil.
- It is worth mentioning terra cotta pots are the best type of containers for chia plants: they provide good drainage, absorb moisture, and increase humidity.
- During the growth season (mainly in spring), the plant needs more abundant watering than usual.
- Another time this plant needs a lot of moisture is the blooming period.
- Before watering the plant, ensure the top inch (2-3 cm) of the substrate is dry.
- What do chia seeds grow into? The answer is obvious – planted chia seeds grow into a flowering plant. During the blooming period, it has purple flowers. Chia plant or Salvia hispanica belongs to the mint family and is very easy to take care of. And the result of such planting is rapid, so it is worth trying to grow this plant at home.
- How long does it take for chia seeds to grow? If you provide the seeds with the needed conditions (enough moisture and bright sunlight), they can sprout in 3-14 days! You can even find stories of people who say that stuck chia seed can germinate even on the dish sponge!
- Can you grow chia seeds from the grocery store? For sure! You can plant the seeds you have bought in the supermarket or in some organic shop; there's no difference.
- Are black and white chia seeds so different? Actually, not that much. Their main difference is that black chia seeds contain more protein. On the other hand, white chia seeds have a little bit more Omega-3s.
- Do white and black seeds taste different? We don't want to disappoint you, but their flavor is totally the same. You won’t notice any difference!
- Why are white chia seeds more expensive if they are so similar? The answer is highly trivial – they are rarer. But as we have mentioned already, they have the same qualities as black chia seeds. So if you want to pay slightly more because of the look, it's up to you!
- How to harvest chia seeds? Here are three steps that will help you with it:
- when you notice that most of the petals have fallen off, it's time for harvesting;
- cut off the heads and let them dry;
- after this, crush them up – this will help to separate the seeds from the rest of the plant.
As you can see, chia seeds and sprouts are very healthy and easy to grow. And we hope this article inspires you to grow them! Don't forget to subscribe to get all the freshest info from the world of plants. Share your experience with us in the comments below!