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The key to sprouting chia seeds is not to let them get too wet. If they do, you’ll have a soggy clump on your hands.

Chia seeds will generally sprout in about 4 days if kept moist and with temperature between 70 – 85 F. Spread seeds over a medium that can retain moisture, or put them in a closed environment, like a jar. The seeds must be sprayed or rinsed regularly until they sprout.

In this post, we will discuss some useful methods to sprout chia seeds. Remember that the key is just enough, but not too much, water. And dim light.

How to sprout chia seeds

To sprout chia seeds, they need to be rinsed, soaked briefly, drained, then kept moist (but not wet) and at 70 – 85° F. Then place the seeds on a medium that can be kept damp (like cloth or a paper towel), or in an enclosed environment. 

Chia seeds are very small – only about 2 mm long.

White chia seeds are very slightly bigger than the brown seeds.

Because they are so small, you will work with quite a lot of seeds at one time.

For the seeds to sprout, they need moisture.

The first step in sprouting the seeds is to soak them in cold water for no longer than one hour.

They retain water easily and will swell.

If they absorb too much water, the seeds will turn into a gelatinous mass and won’t sprout.

After draining, the seeds must be kept damp.

You can keep them on a medium that will hold water and spray it regularly.

Alternatively, you can keep the seeds in a closed environment, making sure they are kept damp.

How to sprout chia seeds for microgreens

To sprout chia seeds for microgreens, soak a cup of seeds for about 1 hour. Rinse them thoroughly, then spread the seeds evenly over a bed of moist coconut coir in a dish. Keep the coir damp and the dish covered until the seeds sprout. Chia seeds usually sprout in about 4 days at room temperature.

Young chia plants can be harvested as one of the  microgreens, which are young plants with plenty of nutritional benefits. 

When you are specifically seeking to sprout chia seeds for microgreens, I suggest you use organic seeds.

You should avoid the toxins on plants that are not grown organically, especially when growing a crop that is specifically nutritionally rich.

Soak the chia seeds in cool water for about an hour, then drain them thoroughly.

While they are soaking, put a thin layer of coconut coir on the bottom of a tray.

Sprinkle the damp seeds over the coir, then cover the tray and put it in indirect sunlight.

Make sure the coir remains damp, by dripping or spraying it onto the coir.

Once the seeds have sprouted, you can remove the cover, but keep them in indirect sunlight.

How to get chia seeds to sprout

Chia seeds don’t need a lot of water to sprout. They must be rinsed, then spread over a medium that can be kept moist. Alternatively, the seeds can be put into a closed jar and rinsed regularly. They should be kept in a dim environment until they sprout–usually in about 4 days.

Chia seeds have been cultivated for thousands of years, but have only become worldwide in about the last 50 years.

There are various ways to sprout chia seeds.

The one thing to remember about these seeds is that they don’t need a lot of water, but must be kept damp.

You can spread them over a medium that will hold water, such as coconut coir, paper towel, sponge, cloth or clay.

You can also soak and drain the seeds, then keep them in an enclosed environment, such as a closed jar or a covered tray.

Alternatively, put the seeds into a clay pot standing in a tray of shallow water.

Keep the seeds in the dark, or dim light for the first 24 hours.

After this, they must be placed in indirect sunlight.

Chia seeds typically sprout in about 4 days, so long as they’re kept at room temperature.

How to sprout chia seeds in a jar

The chia seeds are put into a jar, covered with water and then drained. After this, they should be kept in the dark for a few hours, then rinsed and drained again. This process is repeated 3 times a day, until the seeds sprout–usually in about 4 days if kept at room temperature (70-85 F).

One of the effective ways of sprouting chia seeds is to use a wide-mouthed jar.

For one jar, you should use 3 tablespoons of chia seeds.

Begin by rinsing the seeds thoroughly, to remove any bits of broken seeds or dust.

Drain them thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Put the seeds into the jar and cover them with water.

Let it stand for a few minutes, then drain the water off.

You can stretch the cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar, or pour the seeds through the sieve.

Repeat the soaking and draining a few times, then cover the seeds and leave them in a dark cupboard for about 2 hours.

Take the jar out of the cupboard and drain off the water.

Return the jar to the cupboard and leave the seeds for 24 hours.

After this, take the jar out of the cupboard, fill it with water to rinse the seeds, then drain it off.

Put the jar in indirect sunlight.

Repeat this process three times a day for about a week, depending on how long you want the sprouts to be.

How to sprout chia seeds on a paper towel

To sprout chia seeds on a paper towel, it must be kept damp. The seeds are spread over the towel and covered. They should be sprayed regularly, to be kept moist, not soggy. Chia seeds will generally sprout in 4 days at room temperature; sprouting takes longer at cooler temperature.

Take two or three pieces of paper towel and layer them flat over each other at the bottom of a flat tray.

Spray water on  the towel, so that it is moist.

Sprinkle chia seeds all over the damp paper towel.

Leave the seeds in dim or indirect sunlight.

You need to keep the towel moist by using a spray bottle, so that the seeds do have enough moisture.

Leave the seeds to sprout and grow to the height you want.

Check out our article on sprouting mung bean seeds.

How to sprout chia seeds to eat

To sprout chia seeds to eat, they can be put on a damp medium, or in a closed environment. The seeds should be kept moist, not wet and in indirect sunlight. Chia seeds sprout in about 4 days at typical room temperature. The sprouts should be harvested when they are long enough to eat.

Chia seeds sprout quite quickly and easily, as long as they are kept in the correct environment.

When you are sprouting them to eat, make sure all the equipment is cleaned and then rinsed thoroughly.

Use about half a cup of seeds, soak them for 45 minutes, then drain them thoroughly.

This is where the choice comes in.

The seeds must be spread over a medium that will hold water, or kept in a closed environment.

The mediums you can use are paper towel, coconut coir, cloth or sponge.

A closed environment is a glass jar, or a tray that is covered with another tray.

For the first 24 hours, keep the sprouting seeds in the dark.

After that, they should be placed in indirect sunlight.

During the sprouting process, you must keep the seeds or the growing medium moist.


Chia seeds are relatively easy to sprout, as long as they are kept moist. 

If they get too wet, the seeds will become a soft clump that won’t sprout. 

They should be placed on a medium that is kept damp and then covered, or grown in an enclosed environment, such as a jar. 

The seeds will need to be sprayed or rinsed regularly.

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.