Whether you are sprouting the chia (Salvia hispanica) seeds for enjoyment to adorn a terra-cotta chia pet or for the health advantages of chia seeds and leaves, growing chia is comparatively straightforward. Wetting the seeds and smearing them above unglazed pottery, planting them into moist seed-starting mix or putting them on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag are legitimate methods of germinating chia seeds.
The chia plant, also called Mexican chia, was cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Mexico and South America because of its edible seeds. A member of the mint family, chia is hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. It requires a long growing season, with 90 days to blossom and 120 days to produce ripe seeds. The plants grow up to 4 feet tall. Gardeners growing chia within an annual should start their crops indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, so they have a head start on the growing season.
Salvia Seed Germination
When utilizing a chia pet, wet the chia seeds until they form a jelly-like mass, and then smear the jelly and seeds above the grooves at the terra-cotta. If you are putting in a seed-starting mix in peat pots, hardly cover the seeds, two or even three per pot, with moist soil; cover the pots with plastic wrap. You can also use moist paper towels. Simply fold the wet paper towel in half, and put the seeds on one side; fold the paper towel above to cover the seeds. Slide the moist paper towel into a gallon-size plastic bag, leaving it open. Generally, salvia species germinate in 10 to 14 days in temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plant the Germinated Seeds
Monitor that the salvia seeds so you can remove them in the paper towel whenever the roots appear. Gently put the sprouting seeds to moist seed-starting mix, and cover them with dirt. Cover the peat pots with plastic wrap until the sprouts emerge in the ground. Remove the plastic wrap; put the seedlings in a warm, brightly lit location. Keep the soil moist, but not sodden, as the seedlings grow into plants that are hardy. Thin to one seedling per pot and pinch back, if needed, to prevent the seedlings from becoming leggy.
Salvia Hispanica Care
Add 2-3 inches of compost into the garden bed and then dig it in to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Transplant the seedlings — just beneath the surface covered with a thin layer of dirt — to the garden in a sunny location, putting them 1 foot apart. Salvias generally don’t require infer; the nutrients in the compost provide most of the plants’ needs. Water per week, adding 1 inch of water into the garden bed, or approximately .62 liters of water per square foot of dirt. Salvia species are prone to aphids and thrips. If you see tiny white, yellow or green insects grouped on the leaves, try blasting them away with a strong flow of water. If necessary, spray with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap or oil, such as neem oil, and then soak the leaves top and bottom to kill the pests on contact.