In this Instructable I will show you how to sprout small mucilaginous seeds. Because these seeds form a mucilaginous coat when soaked in water they can't be sprouted using the usual mason jar method. These seeds are best grown on terracotta, clay or ceramic dishes or trays. If you are familiar with Chia Pets, this shouldn't be a surprise.

Mucilaginous seeds that can be sprouted this way:

  • Chia
  • Arugula
  • Cress
  • Flax
  • Mizuna
  • Radish
Seeds can be obtained from specialized sprouting seed sites (ie; Mumms, or Sprout People).  Chia and flax seeds can be found at health food stores. 

What you will need:

  • Growing tray/dish -Unglazed terracotta, ceramic or clay.  Such as an unglazed pie plate, or plant saucers.
  • Clear glass or plastic bowl that fits over growing tray/dish
  • Spray bottle and watering can

Soak dish/tray

Fill dish with water. Let soak for several minutes then drain.  Sprinkle your seeds onto the dish, they should be evenly spread and only a single layer.  There should be space between seeds to allow them to spread while growing. Cover with clear glass or plastic bowl and place in a sunny spot.


Spray the dish twice a day (I do it in the morning and evening).  It may require more In warmer weather.  Make sure the surface of  the dish is wet at all times but there is no pooling water. Keep covered.

Continue watering

After a few days you can water it by pouring it into the dish from a water can or faucet and then draining it.  The sprouts should stay put.  Again make sure the surface of  the dish is wet at all times but there is now pooling water.


The sprouts are ready to harvest when they are about 1/2 -3/4 inch high which should about 4-7 days depending on the type of seed and time of year (where I live it takes longer in the winter months).  You can cut the sprouts just above the roots and use directly. Or you can also take the whole thing, roots and all, lift off of the tray roots and all and store in a partially closed container in the fridge for up to 10 days ( just cut the sprouts above the roots for eating). Don't water prior to harvesting.


Add your sprouts to a yummy sandwich, wrap, salad or anywhere you would use boring old lettuce!
ArvindN3 days ago

are chia plants safe to eat? where can I find scientific information to support this?



ChrysN (author)  ArvindN3 days ago
Heavens4all28 days ago

Very nice instructable! ;)

1st_Balrog3 months ago

Very nice instructable! going to try it soon ;)
I'm usually growing cress in a glas-dish with cotton on the ground and soaking the cotton with water, then placing the seeds on top of it in a single layer.. if this works with chia-seeds too, i'll let you know ^-^

CityGirl62 years ago
Cool, does you cat try to eat them? I can't start anything uncovered because it becomes cat salad.
ChrysN (author)  CityGirl62 years ago
Yes, he would try to eat it if it wasn't covered, so the bowl is not just to prevent evaporation.
LOL, that's what I figured. Sometimes I think I should just grow catnip.
ChrysN (author)  CityGirl62 years ago
I grow cat grass for my cat but he still tries to eat all my other plants too.

You could try crumpled aluminium foil around the plant base or placing double sided tape around areas you don't want the cat. If all else fails there's always this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cphGWOPi0k&spfreload=1

ChrysN (author)  diane.ostapiuk4 months ago

Good ideas, I love the video.

And then graciously "return" them later?

When you're talking about spraying and watering the seeds, you say "but there is now pooling water." Should there be pooling water, or do you mean NO pooling water?

ChrysN (author)  james.guilford.74 months ago

Sorry, you are right it should say NO pooling water. Thanks for letting me know.

turtleson1 year ago

where do i buy sprout able chia seeds? My dad likes the look of it, but we don't plan to eat it. Can you find something that matches this description? Thanks :) plz give me a link

ChrysN (author)  turtleson1 year ago

thank you! :D btw please Vote for me!!!!!

flammaefata2 years ago
This is an awesome way to grow arugula micro salad etc! Thanks for sharing :) I'm wondering, if I wanted to transplant the little plants, do you have some tips for me? Should they be separated or the seeds initially placed further apart so they have enough space to grow to their full size?
ChrysN (author)  flammaefata2 years ago
I haven't actually tried it myself, though thought about it. I think if you want to use some for growing an adult plant do it separately and use a seed starter, some examples can be found here:http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/?sort=none&q=seeds+starters
Got several large containers of chia seeds.
rimar20002 years ago
Very useful instructable, ChrysN, thanks for sharing.