Introduction: Sprouting Chia and Other Small Seeds

Picture of Sprouting Chia and Other Small Seeds
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!


OolongJ (author)2016-08-14

Why not eat the roots too?

Thanks :D

KevB7 (author)OolongJ2017-01-27

it says you can eat the roots. However, if leaving in fridge for ten days the roots may become too fibrous to enjoy eating

JoleenH (author)2016-11-09

thanks, I'm going to use the in making bread when I get them sprouted. I usually use alfalfa sprouts. I thought since I have the seeds, this would be just as good and healthly.

Lynn C Behnke (author)2016-07-01

Do you you think it would be safe to eat food grade chia sprouted on a chia pet? If I wanted my guests to harvest microgreens from the centerpiece (not just a plate) would I need to buy terra cotta and mold my own? Since the pets are probably not made in the US and are not designed for food production, what might the risks be? Anybody have any thoughts on this?

ChrysN (author)Lynn C Behnke2016-07-01

I don't think I would risk it if it is not specifically food grade as they are likely made in China. They also sometimes have a glaze on them and it could be lead based ?. It would be a neat idea for a centrepiece but I think it would safer to make your own.

Gracedwheels (author)2016-04-05

Hola all ~ Chia is one of the mainstays of the Tarahumara tribe of northern Mexico. The Tarahumara are famous for their capacity to run great distances (the farthest clocked was 435 miles) with a happy attitude and a drink made of chia. It is truly loaded with nutrition!

ArvindN (author)2015-08-29

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



Heavens4all (author)2015-08-03

Very nice instructable! ;)

1st_Balrog (author)2015-05-16

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 ^-^

CityGirl6 (author)2013-05-16

Cool, does you cat try to eat them? I can't start anything uncovered because it becomes cat salad.

ChrysN (author)CityGirl62013-05-16

Yes, he would try to eat it if it wasn't covered, so the bowl is not just to prevent evaporation.

CityGirl6 (author)ChrysN2013-05-16

LOL, that's what I figured. Sometimes I think I should just grow catnip.

ChrysN (author)CityGirl62013-05-16

I grow cat grass for my cat but he still tries to eat all my other plants too.

diane.ostapiuk (author)ChrysN2015-04-21

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 :

ChrysN (author)diane.ostapiuk2015-04-21

Good ideas, I love the video.

CityGirl6 (author)ChrysN2013-05-17

And then graciously "return" them later?

james.guilford.7 (author)2015-04-10

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.72015-04-10

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

henryqiu (author)2014-08-08

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

henryqiu (author)ChrysN2014-08-09

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

flammaefata (author)2013-07-01

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)flammaefata2013-07-01

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:

explosivemaker (author)2013-05-18

Got several large containers of chia seeds.

rimar2000 (author)2013-05-15

Very useful instructable, ChrysN, thanks for sharing.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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