How to Grow and Care for Chia Seeds: update

How to Grow and Care for Chia Seeds update

Chia seeds have great potential as a promising new food. Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to central and southern Mexico or of the related Salvia columbariae, Salvia polystachia, or Salvia tiliifolia. Chia seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots, having a diameter around 2  mm(0.08 in). The seeds are hygroscopic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based foods and beverages a distinctive gel texture.

Table of contents

Potting and Repotting a Chia Plant
Growing From Seed
How to propagate a chia plant
Harvest Tips
Uses of chia seeds in the food industry
Common Chia Plant Problems

Nowadays lack of food security is one of the major world problems. Underutilized crops rich in essential nutrients may considered as an alternative to cover the shortage of staple ones and help in covering the food demand .chia seed is an underutilized and neglected crop. It is rich in nutrients with medicinal value, able to help in treating malnutrition and improve the health status of populations. as a native origin. It grows in light to medium clay and sandy soils and even in arid lands with good drainage. It is semi-tolerant to acid soils and drought. The leaves of the plant contain essential

oils that act as insect repellents, thus chia can be grown without pesticides. The seeds of this plant were used for different  purposes as human food for about 5500 years with corn in Mexico and preparation of folk medicines in Southern California in USA. It is now extensively used as a part of food in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada, and Australia. It is considered as a safe food with no potentially harmful effects and widely utilized in baked goods, nutritional supplements, cereal bars, cookies, bread, and snack products. According to European Food Safety Authority chia seeds do not cause any adverse allergenic, anti-nutritional, or toxic effects. It is an oil seed (up to 32% oil content) rich in Omega-3 (ω3) fatty acids with good quality protein and high content of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenolic compounds.

In the 21st century, chia is grown and consumed commercially in its native Mexico and Guatemala, as well as Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States New patented varieties of chia have been developed in Kentucky for cultivation in northern latitudes of the United States.

Chia Overview

Common Name:      Chia

Botanical Name:      Salvia hispanica

Plant Type:      Annual

Mature Size:    3-5 ft. tall, 2-3 ft. wide

Sun Exposure: Full

Soil Type: Clay, sandy

Soil pH:    Acidic, neutral, alkaline

Bloom Time:    Summer

Flower Color:   Blue

Hardiness Zones:    8-11 (USDA)

Native Areas:   North America, Central America

Types of Chia Plant

Salvia hispanica (Mexican sage): an annual herb native to Mexico that can grow up to 6 feet tall

Salvia columbariae (desert chia): native to the Southwest; this is an annual, low-growing plant that produces a minty smell

Chia Plant Care


If you want to grow this chia crop from seed in your home, these plants are very easy to grow and require very little maintenance once established, especially if you live in a hot area of North America. Here are some basic requirements.


Needs full sun but not too much heat

Can easily adapt to different types of soil

Drought tolerant but will need water in extreme drought



chia plants grow well in full sun and can tolerate heat even on the hottest summer days, but too much heat can sometimes kill the plants.


the soil


These plants live in a wide range of soils. Their native areas include sandy soil but they also grow in clay. However, good drainage is essential .Chia plants do not like to be too wet.

If you want to grow chia plants in containers, use a good compost and soil mix.Add some sand and use unglazed terra-cotta pots for better moisture absorption.




Chia plants are drought tolerant so they don’t need regular watering until they grow but may need occasional little or extra watering as they can adapt to all conditions. These plants are among the first to re-emerge after fire, proving their hardiness and adaptability.


Temperature and humidity


Since chia plants grow best in warm climates and are not cold tolerant, keep this plant between 16° and 26°C (61°-79°F). If you plant in containers and want to grow them in a place where the temperature is below 16 degrees Celsius, move the containers indoors.




Fertilizers are not required for rich soil but if your soil is not rich, get the soil tested by your nearest horticulture or nursery expert and apply fertilizers.


Potting and Repotting a Chia Plant


You can grow these chair plants indoors, but they need about eight hours of sunlight per day to grow . Also, need a terracotta pot or container with a good drainage system add some sand to the soil and if necessary mix some fertilizer into the soil. This plant does not require repotting so you can start it every year with fresh seeds and soil in a pot.

How to Grow Chia Plants From Seeds
How to Grow Chia Plants From Seeds


Although this plant grows in USDA zones 8,9,10,11. new improved seed strains are being grown in colder regions. If you live in a USDA zone, you can grow chia seeds like any other annual flower.

Prepare the soil in your garden or the container in which you will sow the seeds in the fall and then lightly scatter the seeds into the soil, then cover the seeds with a little soil. Water the soil lightly until it sprouts. Once the seeds begin to germinate, water very little. This way you can grow chia trees from seed every fall.

They are pollinated by pollinators. However, self-pollination also occurs. Chia seeds are produced in small seed heads under the flowers.




Chia plant is not cold-tolerant. This plant will die in cold temperatures. Grow as summer annuals.

chia plant bloom
Bloom Months

This is an annual plant that blooms from late spring to early summer, varying based on rainfall.


How to propagate a chia plant


Chia plants are highly self-seeders, so they will produce a new crop of plants each year without help.


Harvest Tips


Deadhead the flowers at the end of the season after they have dried and the petals have fallen to collect seeds for future consumption or plant production. Then save the seeds and place the flowers in a paper bag. When they are completely dry, crush the seed heads in the bag to release the seeds.




Researchers have reported chia  seeds to  have high  nutritional content  in the form of protein (15-25%), dietary  fibre (18-35%),6% water,  fat (15-35%)  and  ash content  (4-6%) . chia seeds are a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of the B vitamins thiamin and niacin (54% and 59% DV, respectively) and a moderate source of riboflavin (14% DV) and folate (12% DV). The seeds are rich in several dietary minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc (all more than 20% DV ).

chia seeds Nutritional value per 100 g
As food

Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, tortillas, and bread . They also may be made into a gelatin-like substance or consumed raw . The gel from ground seeds may be used in place of eggs in cakes while providing other nutrients, and it is a common substitute in vegan and allergen-free baking

Again, Whole seeds and their flour, oil, and mucilage were used in preparing cold and hot drinks, corn cake, biscuits, salad dressing, jam-like products, and jelly.

Chia is considered a novel food in Europe because it does not have “a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997”, according to the Advisory Committee of Novel Foods and Processes. Under this rule, chia seeds may be 5% of the total matter in bread products. Prepackaged chia seeds shall carry additional labeling to inform the consumer that the daily intake is no more than 15 grams per day and pure chia oil only 2 grams per day. Chia seeds sold in the EU are imported mainly from South American and Central American countries and require inspections for levels of pesticides, contaminants, and microbiological criteria.

Uses of chia seeds in the food industry

Chia  seeds because of the  various nutritional properties, multiple  studies have  been conducted for different purposes, including their composition, characterization of  the compounds, application in the  food  industry  as  well  as  usage  in  cosmetic industries . The high content  of gum  and mucilage in chia seeds  makes  the seeds  potentially  useful in  the food  industry  . The seeds are  mostly  used  in  the  baking  industry.  This  is because of the higher amount of carbohydrates  in the  baked products  compared to  other  nutrients which are essential. Among  the  products  in  which  chia  seeds  have been  included  are  bread,  pasta,  biscuits,  and cakes. Chia seeds can also be used in beverages, snacks,  and  other  products . Also,  among  the  products  which  have  been fortified  with  chia  seeds  is  wheat  bread .  The  presence  of bioactive  compounds  in  chia  seeds  has contributed  significantly  to  the  formulation  of various  functional  foods  . However,  the  addition  of  chia  seeds  to  original products  made the products  have characteristics different from their  original characteristics.  analyzed the  effects  of chia on the production of  wheat bread and reduction in  bread  firmness.  Coelho  and  Salas-Mellado  noted  that breadcrumbs  incorporated with whole  chia  seeds  were  softer  than  chia  flour.  added 4 to 6% of chia seeds  to  wheat  flour  during  the  baking of  bread and noted a reduction in the amount of the bread obtained.  In  addition,    6  to  8%  chia  seeds  to wheat flour reduced baking loss because the high content  of  dietary  fibre  in  chia  combines  with water  and  prevents  evaporation  during  bread baking.  This  indicates  that when  chia  seeds  are incorporated  into  flour  products,  they  might influence the  swelling capacity and  water-holding capacity of the products. dark colour  in the bread baked into which chia seeds had been incorporated because of phenolic compounds.

Common Chia Plant Problems


Although chia plants have virtually no pests or diseases, they are susceptible to a few common problems.


Root rot

If you overwater your plant, you may see root rot. Browning may occur simultaneously. To avoid this, plan for less watering as these plants are drought-tolerant and thrive better with less water than overwatering.


Singed plant

Chia is sensitive to extreme heat, though drought-tolerant. Be sure to water the plant extra during heatwaves to keep it healthy.




Chia seeds  richness is  due  to  its  high  composition  of protein  fats , fat , ash  and presence  of minerals,  vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants.  The  nutritional  composition  of  chia  seeds varies because of their geographical origins and climatic and  environmental  conditions.  Characterization  of  chia seeds  grown  in  different  locations  is  crucial  before the development  of  any  new  food  product,  and  for  food fortification or enrichment purposes using other local food products and chia seeds. This review recommends usage of chia seeds  on its natural form or  in combination with other less dense food products. During the development of  new  functional  foods  with  the  incorporation  of  chia seeds,  consideration  of  the  physical  and  functional properties  of  the  new  food  product to  be  developed  is essential.



Can you grow a chia plant from store-bought chia seeds?


Yes, you can grow a chia plant from store-bought chia seeds as chia seeds are always sold raw.


Are chia seeds good for skin?

chia seeds are good for skin

Chia seeds have the ability to retain moisture, which makes them a great go-to for when your skin needs that hydration. They keep the skin hydrated and lock-in moisture, which proves to be excellent for dry and sensitive skin too


Can chia seeds reduce belly fat?

Combining chia seeds with cinnamon water creates a powerful drink that aids in weight loss, boosts metabolism, regulates blood sugar levels, and promotes overall well-being.


Do chia seeds help in hair growth?

Chia seeds are bursting with essential amino acids and they do some great work from inside the scalp. They inhibit hair fall and give a boost to new hair growth. They also help fight inflammation. Zinc and copper prevent thinning of hair, thus helping hair growth.


Do chia seeds help in weight loss?

Chia seeds contain a unique type of fiber called mucilage, which helps keep food in the stomach longer so that you feel full longer. This helps with weight loss by reducing hunger pangs.


What are chia seeds’ side effects?

Some people may experience an allergic reaction after eating chia seeds, though this is uncommon. Food allergy symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea and itching of the lips or tongue.


Can we take chia seeds in periods?


Foods that may relieve period pain or cramps
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, oysters and edamame beans.


Are chia seeds scientifically proven?

Research suggests that chia seeds may help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and maybe even cancer. Results of human studies show that chia seeds may: Decrease inflammation. Improve control of blood sugar levels.


Who should not eat chia seeds?

Medicines: Avoid taking chia seeds if you are taking medications like anticoagulants and antiplatelets (prevent blood clots), anti-hypertensive (treats high blood pressure), anti-cancer, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, as chia seeds might interact with these medicines.