Chia seeds like to grow in warm climates. The botanical name of this seed is Sylvia Hispanica and belongs to the Lamiaceae or mint family. Chia seeds have nutritional and health benefits. The interesting thing about this plant is that when it is established it needs little maintenance and care.
This plant can aggressively spread like mint. Just like wheat plants, the flowers form on spikes. These stocks can grow up to 5 feet tall. This plant produces flowers from late spring to early summer. The flowers have a striking and elegant color violet-blue. This plant will add ornamental value to your growing area.
Why Would You Grow Your Chia?
Chia plants need little maintenance and have a beautiful look plus it will give lots of nutritional value to your food. Chia seeds are a big source of linolenic acid and linoleic acid.
Both fatty acids attract oxygen and make our cell membrane flexible. As a result, our immune system becomes strong. This will protect us from viruses, bacteria, and different allergies. Chia seeds have been used to calm nerves and make our memory strong.
Can We Grow Chia Seeds In Pots Or Containers?
When you grow Chia plants in a container then you will find the growth to be stunted. The size of the Chia plants can be a large bush so it is better to grow them in your garden. If you are planning to grow Chia seeds in pots, you should keep in mind the following points.
- Chia seeds grow taller than most herbs; it means it needs more space to grow. You should provide sufficient space for chia plants.
- It grows just like mint but not a ground-hugger. And grow taller than the biggest partly Rosemary or sage plants.
- You should use 20 gallons for growing Chia plants and get a nice seed harvest.
- If you choose a small pot for growing plants then you can use the leaves for tea. You will not get good seed output in a small container.
How Big Does A Chia Plant Grow?
The height of Chia plants can reach up to 6 feet or more. In case, if you decide to grow your plants in a pot then you should choose a large pot according to the size of the plant. Your pot must have drainage holes because drainage is important for the growth of any plant.
When To Plant Chia Seeds?
It depends on which variety of seeds you choose for growing.
- If you sow the seeds in the Paul then you will harvest in early summer.
- If you are growing summer chai then keep in mind they don’t like low temperatures of cool spring. It is better to sow the seeds in the late spring and harvest in late summer or fall.
- Frost is the killer of immature Chia plants. Frost may prevent flowering on miniature plants.
- Full sun is recommended for growing Chia plants as they like warm temperatures to grow. Make sure the temperature of your area should not be below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chia plants like to grow in sandy and well-drained soil. The pH of the soil must be between 6 to 8.5 plants are desert plants so they don’t like more water.
Can You Use Chia Seeds From The Supermarket For Growing Purposes?
The seeds you buy from the supermarket are more organic and fresher than chia-pet seeds. You can easily use supermarket seeds for growing chia plants which you can buy from the food store and get your desired harvest.
But it is better that you can purchase seeds from a seed company for better results.
The Paper Towel Method To Sprout Chia Seeds
This is a very simple and easy method of sprouting Chia seeds by using two paper towels, A dish, and some water.
- Take two sheets of paper towel and for them.
- Take a shallow dish and put the folded paper towel into the bottom.
- To make the paper towel moist use a spray bottle for spraying.
- Now take Chia seeds and Sprinkle them over the moistened paper towel.
- Keep the seeds in a paper towel by spraying regular water.
- When the seeds start sprouting you can expose them to indirect sunlight.
You can also put the seeds in small pots. First fill the pots with a raising mix, after that sprinkle a small number of seeds on the surface of the soil then water thoroughly to make the mix moist. When the seedlings reach a height of 3 inches you can transplant them in a pot or container or outside in your garden.
Now transplant your seedlings into your desired pot and make sure they get suitable conditions.
Chia plants are grown as annuals or perennial so you should keep a distance between each seedling.
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How To Care For Your Chia Plants?
It is not difficult to grow plants at home. Sometimes it happens that your plant is not producing flowers but the reason is the temperature is not according to your plant’s requirements. The best temperature for growing Chia seeds at home is above 85°F. The following are the important factors which you should consider.
Sunlight is very important for the healthy growth of Chia plants. If you are growing plants in the pot then you should choose the best location for your pot or container where they get maximum sun exposure. This plant can tolerate heat and thrive well on summer days.
Chia plants can adjust to a wide range of soil conditions; they like sandy soil but also thrive well in clay soils. Well-drained soil is important so they avoid overwatering because they don’t like wet feet.
If you are growing Chia plants in pots or containers then you should add some sand to the soil to improve the drainage. It is suggested that you should use terracotta pots for better moisture absorption.
Chia plants can survive in drought. They need regular water until they are established. When they are settled in the soil then they need little water. This plant can adjust in every condition.
It is not recommended that you should prune your chia plants. But if you see any dead flower then discard it immediately to encourage the growth of a new one.
Before one or two weeks of planting chia seeds, you can add well-rotted manure to the soil. This is the best way to fertilize the soil to feed your plants. Nitrogen is very important in the growth of chia plants.
If nitrogen is deficient in the soil then it will negatively impact the plant. The number of flowers will reduce and as a result, you will get low production of seeds.
Common Problems And Solutions For Growing Chia Seeds At Home
Chia plants are fairly pest and disease resistant but in some cases, the following problems are a threat.
This fungus can affect your chai plants. The affected plant will wither and finally die. You can use different sprays to control fusarium wilt. If you don’t want to use chemicals then Neem oil is another effective way to get rid of this fungus.
You should avoid using pesticide or chemical residue as you will eat the seeds and make tea from the leaves. Prevention is very important especially if plants are affected by fusarium wilt in the last season.
CUCUMBER MOSAIC VIRUS
When this virus attacks your plant then the leaves become more Ltd with green, yellow or white blisters the leaves start curling up and finally become crinkled the growth of the plants will stop. When your plant is affected by this virus then you should immediately discard the plant or burn it.
Neem oil is the natural way to treat this virus. Aphids spread this virus so if you control the population of aphids then prevent your plants.
The collection of Chia seeds depends on the timing. If you are growing Chia seeds at home then it is very easy for you to pick each flower head easily. This is not possible in mass harvesting especially if these seeds are growing for commercial purposes.
Don’t wait for the flower head to turn brown because there is a risk of losing the seeds. Here are some tips for harvesting Chia seeds.
- When you see all the petals of the flowers have fallen then you should start harvesting Chia as soon as possible.
- Leave the heads to dry in a paper bag or on a drying rack. Some of Chia seeds will break free in the drying process.
- Avoid hanging the plants upside down in your shed.
Other Ways To Harvest Chia
If you are looking for a secure method in which you will not lose many seeds during the picking of your flower heads then here are some effective ways of collecting seeds.
- Take a bag and hold it underneath and Shake one flower head at a time. This process looks very slow and difficult especially if you are growing a lot of chia plants but you will save your seeds from wasting.
- The second method is if your hands are very dry and it is not easy for you to catch them, then take scissors and cut the whole head of all the falling seeds that will land in the bag. After that separate the remaining seeds by shaking instead of rolling.
- This is another method for protecting your seeds from wasting. In this method, you have to wait for most of the petals to fall off. This is a very easy and simple way to harvest Chia. You have to wait for most of the flowers to fall and when only a small number of petals are left then pick the seeds. If your plants get plenty of fresh air to breathe then your seeds will dry very easily.