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Chia: Crop Potential and Uses

Editor’s Note: Today we get some practical tips from Isabell Shipard, a lady whose work I featured recently. You’ll hear from Isabell from time to time – helping us get to know a little more about the herbs and other plants whose attributes, uses and benefits are often unknown or ignored. For a lot more info like this, consider purchasing one of Isabell’s really excellent books – you can find them in our book section.

Chia (Salvia rhyacophila) is a hardy annual herb 1-1.5m high, that belongs to the Salvia family, with its name coming from the Latin ‘salare’ which means to save, referring to its curative properties. Blue flowers spike to 10cm long, set on terminal stems, and fill out to a seed head (that is similar in appearance to a wheat seed head) with pin-head sized, brown, shiny seeds. Plants adapt to a wide range of soils, climates and minimal rainfall.

In the plant’s native habitat of South-west America, it has been highly valued as a staple food for hundreds of years. In Mexico, it was used as money and to pay taxes. A small handful of seeds and plenty of water supplied energy and sustenance, for a man traveling for 24 hours, and it is said that an Indian can exist on it for many days if necessary. Several USA universities have researched the endurance properties of chia and found that a tablespoon of seed could sustain a person for 24 hours, with hard labour. Richard Lucas, in his book, ‘Common and uncommon uses of herbs for healthy living’, encourages anyone to try it, and discover its unique ability to provide the go power to get through a busy day with a hop, skip and a jump. The seeds have valuable medicinal properties and nutritional content, with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and 30% protein. In USA it is grown as a commercial crop and seed is available in Health Food Shops.

The calcium content of chia seed is 5 times that of milk. Enzymes in chia act as catalysts to aid the digestion of food. Chia seeds contain the trace mineral strontium, which acts as a catalyst in the assimilation of protein and production of energy. A greyhound breeder read of the energy boosting power of chia, and phoned to see if he could buy the seed in large quantities, to give his dogs a winning edge! Researchers say that strontium has strengthening benefits to cartilage, teeth and bones.

The seeds contain one of the highest known sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), as linolenic acid (LNA) 30-60%, and linoleic acid (LA) 30%. EFA’s carry a slightly negative charge and spread out as a thin layer over surfaces and do not form aggregations; this makes cell membranes soft, fluid and flexible, allowing nutrients to flow in and wastes out. Researcher, Linus Pauling, found that energy charged by EFA’s produced measurable, bioelectrical currents. These currents make possible the vast number of chemical reactions in the body, which are important in nerve, muscle and membrane function. EFA’s absorb sunlight and attract oxygen. A bounteous supply of oxygen, carried with the blood to the cells, is vital for vitality, pain relief and healing. The oxygen is able to be held by the action of EFA, at the cell membranes, making a barrier against viruses and bacteria. EFA’s are important in immune function and metabolic reactions in the body resulting in fat burn, food absorption, mental health and the process of oxidation and growth. They can substantially shorten the time required for recovery of fatigued muscles after exercise or physical work.

EFA’s are the highest source of energy in nutrition and govern many life processes in the body. When EFA’s are deficient, a diversity of health problems may follow. Due to high refining and processing of many natural foods, EFA’s may be low or non-existent, therefore, we need to look at what we can grow to give us these essentials, daily. Chia seeds provide a rich source of EFA’s, and many other seeds that we can use for sprouting are also a good source.

The mucilaginous properties of the seeds have a swelling action, similar to guar or psyllium as a bulking agent and fibre source, and are valuable for cleansing and soothing the colon. Chia acts like a sponge, absorbing toxins, lubricating the colon and strengthening the peristaltic action. Considering the high incidence of bowel cancer, diverticulitis, colitis, chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome in our country, we need to share the knowledge of this healing plant with our fellow Australians.

Chia seeds come to the rescue when the tummy is upset and will not tolerate other foods; or to fortify the body against the exhaustive effects of extreme summer temperatures. The seed helps to quench the thirst, if added to a glass of water, a very practical benefit in our hot summers. It is an appetite satisfier and, therefore, useful to dieters. Chia is valued for calming the nerves and said to strengthen the memory: use 1 teasp. chia seed to 1 cup of boiling water, steep 5-10 minutes, take 2-3 cups a day.

Chia leaves (fresh or dried) steeped in boiling water, make a therapeutic tea. Use the tea as a blood cleanser and tonic, also for fevers, pain relief, arthritis, respiratory problems, mouth ulcers, diabetes, diarrhoea, gargle for inflamed throats, to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to strengthen the nervous system. Try the tea sweetened with honey and a few drops of lemon juice added. Women who suffer with hot flushes may find relief by drinking chia leaf tea regularly. A recent TV program highlighted the benefit of chia tea, made with a few, freshly chopped leaves, for anyone feeling lethargic or lacking energy. Chia contains several very strong antioxidants that help to remove toxins from the body, which then give a feeling of improved health.

As the seeds are able to absorb more than 7 times their weight, in water, and form a thick gel, this causes a slow release of carbohydrate; facilitating an equally slow conversion of carbohydrates, into glucose (blood sugar), for energy. The outer layer of the seeds are rich in mucilloid soluble fibre and, when mixed with water or stomach juices, a gel forms that creates a physical barrier between the carbohydrate foods eaten and the digestive enzymes that break them down. This means that the carbohydrates are digested slower and at a more uniform rate. There is no insulin surge needed to lower the blood sugar level after eating chia. The chia gel is able to hold moisture, which also retains electrolyte balance.
Chia sprouts can come to the rescue for digestive problems, particularly when ‘windy’. Passing gas may be relieved by slowly chewing 1-2 tablesp. of chia sprouts, making sure that plenty of saliva is mixed with them. Together with the nutrients, chlorophyll, and enzymes from the saliva, the combination can act to relieve and prevent flatulence.

Chia seeds have a nutty flavour and can be sprinkled over meals, or seeds can be soaked in a little water (for several hours or overnight, to start the seed germination process) giving better assimilation when eaten. Soaking is also beneficial, since vitamin C will start to be manufactured. When seeds are sprouted, the vitamin content multiplies considerably and they can add a spicy, warm flavour to meals. Sprinkle soaked or sprouted seeds over breakfast cereal or tossed salads.

Try chia as a refreshing breakfast drink. Mix 1 teasp. seeds (rich in soluble fibre), in a glass of orange juice and let the seed soak for 10 minutes, before drinking. The drink will give a feeling of satisfaction and fullness for a number of hours. It has been found that chia can help to regulate sugar metabolism. Research has found that enzymes in chia act as a catalyst to aid the digestion of food. As chia has a low glycemic content, it is an ideal food to add to our daily diet. For a refreshing chia beverage, soak 1 teasp. chia seed in 1 cup of hot water and 1/2 teasp. apple-cider vinegar, 1 teasp. honey and a pinch of cinnamon powder.

Add seed to cooked or baked goods. A small amount of seeds added, when making bread, will make bread lighter, with less leavening needed, as well as improving the keeping qualities. Many foods are said to be more flavoursome with chia added – bitter foods become more palatable. Sharp cheese, at maturity, will taste more like cottage cheese. Chia is useful for enriching baby foods, infant formulas, health foods, energy bars, snacks, breakfast cereals, etc. As oxidation of chia seed is minimal to non-existent, it holds excellent potential within the food industry compared to other alpha-linolenic fatty acid sources, such as linseed, which exhibits rapid decomposition due to lack of antioxidants. Chia does not need artificial antioxidant stabilisers and stores well, without deterioration.

And when the garden yields a super crop, feed the seed heads to the hens. Research in South America, with commercial egg production, found that laying hens eagerly devoured chia when up to 30% of seed was added to their food. This also resulted in the production of eggs with a ratio of saturated to polyunsaturated fats, half that found in normal eggs, a real benefit to consumers, eggs with a heart-friendly profile!


  1. Hi Isabell, thank you for this article. I wonder is it possible to get those seeds here in Australia and if yes where? Also what climate is suitable to grow Chia?


    1. Australia is one of the largest exporter of chia seeds in the world. It is usually grown in Kimberley region of Northern Territory.

      1. Hi Yakindra from John Warren, just a small correction to your post. Chia is growen in the Kimberly, but in the most northern part of Western Australia in the Ord Irrigation Project which is serviced by Lake Argyle (DAM) on the Ord River. This project is right beside the Northern Territory border and will eventually expand into the Northern Territory. JOHN Warren.

  2. The climate of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico is arid desert or shrubland (much of it at 1500 m above sea level) with wet winter and dry summer. The southern part of Western Australia and South Australia would have similar conditions.

  3. Yes, Matt, chia seed is so easy to grow. We have seed available at the Herb Farm, Nambour, Sunshine Coast, Queensland (and do postal orders if required). We have small seed pkts for anyone wishing to plant a few plants in the garden; and we also have the seed in 500 gram pkts which gives many many thousands of seeds for growing and for eating, making into smoothies, etc. Chia is so very special with its valuable nutrient content, and if you want more energy and stamina is is wonderful. If you would like to get the Herb Farm catalogue, just email your request (see details on web site) and we will despatch by email.
    Chia adapts to a wide range of climates. In cold and temperate climates I suggest seed be planted early spring and summer. Here in our sub-tropical conditions, I find planting late summer and early autumn is a good idea, as if it is planted too early in the season the plants grow too tall before flowering and seeding, and tend to get top heavy and branches topple over, which makes it more work to harvest the seed heads. We cut the seed heads off, allow to fully dry in boxes, tramp on them with our feet, and crush the seed heads in hand, then put through a sieve, and then winnow away the roughage; or better still, shaking the container back and forward the roughage/chaff moves to the top, and I keep this for making a colon cleanse (using like psyllium) (see chapter on plantain in my Herb Book). Chia seed stores well, and insects do not bother, which make this a valuable survival food plant.

    1. Hi Isa,
      Kindly am interested in growing Chia in East Africa Kenya.Can it do well bearing in mind most of lands are highlands.

    2. Please send me some chia seeds sounds miraculous is it really v expensive.I live in pretoria south africa.thank u

  4. Hi Isabell, thanks for the reply. I live in the Gold Coast hinterland so it looks like I will have no problem to grow Chia which is great. I’ll check your website.

    Kind Regards,

  5. i have bought chia-tah seeds from a health shop in adelaide and i see that they are grown in the nthwest of WA.
    My wife a i swear by them as they certainly have improved our health in many ways, iam not so hungry at dinner time and i feel more flexible without sore joints,they are about $8 a packet.

  6. HI. Im wondering if I can order a pack of chia seeds from the U.S. I know that we have chia seeds her, but I heard from a friend that a certain doctor harvest and process the seeds differently in a region in the States, and says that they have got the best chia seeds that give superior health benefits. I would like to get a sample pack from my friend. Is this allowed here in Australia?


  7. I am taking baby asprin,should I stop as I am also having the chia seeds, heard chia seeds thin blood, so dont know if I should be taking both.

  8. Hello
    I’m very glad to see that the interest in chia seeds is growing and that the interest in growing them here in other locations around Australia is growing as well, pardon the pun! I was asked by some of the Mexican growers to come and see their fields and in November and December of 2009 I went there. I spoke with a grower who’s family has been farming chia seeds for 6 generations and learned a lot about the farming side of chia. I also talked with other chia growers and those who are doing several test plots in different micro-climates around Mexico. What I discovered is that here in Australia there are several different locations that could produce a very good seed. When I say very good I mean that in order for the seed to receive the high omega 3 content we need good sun and enough water to get it going. There is too much about the growing side to mention here but I am always available to assist any farmers who would like to give it a try. Not only the seeds are a viable crop here but the plant has many special properties including high omega 3 as well as over 35 other oils. My company is also researching the many different areas where the plant and its oils can be used in our daily life which one is a natural insect repellent and a high omega 3 source for animal feed.
    I believe the many health benefits of incorporating chia seeds and the plant into our diet as well as feeding our livestock will continue to grow and with the right research we will do just that, grow!
    I noticed the mention of a Dr in the US doing special precessing that makes their chia seeds better and I hate to say it but this is a marketing ploy to sell their seed which cost a lot more than it should. They are a multi-level marketing company which says it all.We now have the Mexican grown seeds available but I’m not here to sell I’m here to inform and hopefully get some more farmers growing chia across Australia. So when you hear from the only company that is growing in the Ord River Valley that it cannot be grown in other locations that is just their way of looking out for their operations and not necessarily the case. We are here to help people use it correctly and help get it growing as well. Have a Chia’rific day!

    1. Dear John, I would like to learn more about chia leaves (for eating for health). Is there a website or sites you can recommend with more info on that subject. Thank you! By the way, I live in south Louisiana in the USA.

      1. Dear Joni GO GOOGLE every thing you could possibly want to know, you will find there somewhere except how to grow chia commercially professionally. Have fun JOHN.

    2. GdayJohn The Chia Guy. I have emailed both you and your company a number of times asking for Chia Farming information, to which I have definately recieved no replys except for the last time wen I recieved a reply it was a refusal to give this information which is a contradiction to your above letter. Your excuses are reasonable, your exercution stinks. JOHN.

    3. Hi, can you provide how American can venture to invest in Australia to grow Chia Seeds. We would like to explore this possibility in large investment undertaking. Your guidance & additional information in this respect very much appreciated.

    4. Dear Sir,
      My name is Darja Kürner from Slovenia, Europe.
      I am trying to grow chia seeds for couple of years now. I put the seeds in soil in april and it comes out a great plant but does not flower. Can you help me with the advise when is the best time to sow seeds?
      Best regards
      Darja kürner

    5. When you feed it to the livestock who do you feed it to? Do you feed it to cows and do you feed them the stem. I guess I am trying to find out if the stock and the stem is edible?

    6. Hi John the Chia guy!
      7 years on from a post – I’m wondering if you ever developed a natural insect repellent from Chia – and if so what and where can I try. 😁
      Many thanks!! Margie ( nth coast NSW)

  9. Hello all,

    Am interested in getting more information of growing Chia on a small scale. Does any one know if there has been any research done on growing locations by a reputable, independant mob like the DPI?
    I look forward to any responses.


    1. Hi Joey, cant see any replys to your post so hers one. I have the advantage of being an old very experienced farmer and I have researched the farming side of things extensively, on the cheap, on the net. You will not find any official independant research that you will be allowed access to that I know of. If I am wrong I gladly welcome anyone to put me right. JOHN W.

    2. Joey,
      I missed your comment, sorry. Today I saw your query. Chia grows idealy between 0to20degrees latitude ,north or South of also can accept this as answer to his look for the place to grow in this region for better results

  10. Hi, for anyone interested, I have a small crop of chia growing in my suburban backyard in Melbourne. I planted it mid summer for fun, not really expecting it to grow but lo and behold it has. The flower buds are just starting to form now and I must add that it is a very resilient little plant. Most of them got snapped in half during the freak hailstorm we had last month but then they healed themselves, even standing up straight again of their own accord. One was too badly damaged so I took a cutting and now that is even growing! Enjoy.

  11. Hi,
    We live in WA on a small property that is hot in summer and has cold frosty winters with an annual rainfall of about 350mm. Do you think Chia growing would be suited to this area?

  12. Hi,
    Thanks for all the encouragement to grow chia, I live in Taggerty and guess I’d better leave it till next spring now as it’s going to pretty chilly here for the next few months. I think our soil is quite acid as we have a lot of sorrel, will this be ok or do I need to spread some dolomite to prepare it?

  13. Hi
    Im looking for some info on what chemicals can be sprayed on chia to control grasses.for example verdict,sertin,select.also if lontrel and any other broard leaf chemicals is alright to use over the top of chia. Any info woud be greatley appreciated and anyone else that may be able to help.

  14. We have a property in Melton near Bachus Marsh in victoria. I wonder if Chia seeds will grow in this region. would like to trial it on a bout 50 acres first. Please advise.

    best regards,


  15. I am wondering how many seeds each plant normally produces. Do you think Southern California would produce a high omega 3 plant? Any info is helpful.

    1. Hey bud, even easier don’t grow the commercial variety, depending where you are, you can find wild Chia growing in SoCal it is slightly different it is called salvia columbariae or some shh like that the seeds are slightly larger, I found some growing on a mountain all the way by San Francisco (mt diablo/ Walnut Creek to be exact). And have seen videos of decently sized plants in San Diego, so I would recommend a google search or two and check out what grows in your area that way you can have a fun day out on a hike collecting seeds and use your irrigation or garden for something more picky:)

  16. Would love specific info on gowing on large scale. ie seed rates,sowing dates, weed control etc for southwest WA.

  17. I live at Gold Coast & have been taking chai for last 12 months & have been gradually introducing whole family to this wonerful health food. I have retired & would like to grow this plant for my own, friends & Family use so how much area would I need to grow it for say 20 people.
    Regards Peter

  18. I am doing development work at an orphganage in the arid state of Orissa in india, and am very interested in any further information on growing this seed inorder to support the orphanage and to teach local farmers how to grow a healthier and more viable crop. currently farmers are growing rice and wheat.
    Thanks alot!

  19. I am also very interested in growing Chia plants to diversify our beef farm on the South Coast of WA. The health benefits sound like “just what the doctor ordered” for the declining health of our population! Our issue would be dealing with competition from Kikuyu grass and we are not prepared to use soil destroying chemicals…any ideas?

  20. You can find them at most health food shops throughout perth… I wonder if the Australian grown chia seeds from the “chia company” are 100% percent natural/organic?

  21. Thanks DirkDigler. I bought some the other day. But it is the seedlings that I want so I can plant them in my garden.

  22. Hello Everyone,

    The interest for chia seeds is growing!
    The best way to find out if chia seeds will produce a high omega 3 oil in the seeds is to test grow in different locations. The best seeds to use to plant is the Central or South American seeds. When you replant seeds produced here it declines in the oil content which is the plants natural ability to adapt to its new surroundings. This is why the Central and South American chia is so much better nutritionally than the Australian grown in the Ord River, they replant Aussie seeds to produce the next years crop.
    There is no known herbicide to use to with chia. In Mexico and South America weeds are done mechanically for the first 45 days of growth and then by hand should there be a need. The canopy of the chia plant should block enough of the sun to not allow weeds to grow.
    The chia grown in WA has no chemicals used that we know of however they do use chemical fertilizers prior to planting and the amounts used are not known by me. One farmer there I spoke with said they used urea and super phosphate. The irrigation water used on the chia is shared with the other farms in the Ord River Valley so whatever the other farms are using on their crops does find its way back into the irrigation water shared to water the chia.
    To the gentleman from India please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the people that can assist you.
    We are developing several other uses of the seeds other than just the high omega 3 levels found so although different locations around Australia might not product a high omega 3 profile there could be other viable uses that we will incorporate into our products.
    We have a farmer doing tests in the Tamworth area this growing season on organic land and hope to produce a good quality seed, time will tell.
    Anyone wanting to do testing around different locations please contact me and I will do my best to help. I will be doing extensive traveling in the months to come but will try to assist when I am able.
    Thank you one and all!

    1. Joe
      Hi John,
      I like your way of thinking.I wish to have sme chia plant in my garden. Could you allow me to see you and learn from your gardening. Where is your location ? I am visiting Perth for some days looking for a reai Chia plant.but cannot find a place where people grow Chia (except Nimberley thay is too far for my time).
      Thank you and whish to hear from you. ([email protected])

    2. Hi I am interested in growing a test to see if Sri Lanka’s northern territory is suitable for chia crops. What seed would you recommend and where would I get it?

      Many thanks

    3. Hi John,

      Nice article friend :) i want to know the process of cultivation for the CHIA seeds. So it would be great if you can help me on the same.

      Your quick response will be really appreciated.

      Vineet Nehra
      +91 9711 400 329
      Email : [email protected]

  23. Ihave tried to email but with no luck. I am planting 50 acres in Mareeba of chia and would like to contact John to talk to him about further crops. my address 267 Peters Rd Mareeba 4880 I have 150 acres the back of the property has perm water and ready to start work on. the soil is sandy/volcanic. I will be back in Mareeba mid October and will start planting then. contact no 0409 774483.

  24. I planted a handful of Australian chia seeds bought in a health food store – to see if they had been irradiated.(If they had they wouldnt strike). They came up without problem and are now 9 inches tall. There has been commentary about Australian seeds not having the same high degree of Omega content – compared to South American.
    What I would like to know is how can one test for this in a backyard operation…and much less is it purported to be?.
    Thank you to anyone that can offer an answer.

  25. I am currently in Kenya doing a project with Masai who are a nomadic tribe.
    I heard about salvia hispanica and would like to buy the seeds so that local comunity could engage in growing the chia seeds.
    I shall be grateful if you could possibly guide me to an organisation which could supply us with large quantity of seeds.
    Your guidance will be highly appreciated

  26. HI Beth
    The difference in minerals will depend on the soil content and the omega 3 oils are the main problem with replanting seeds outside the location they originally come from. When you replant chia grown in a climate not suitable to produce good omega 3 levels the plant adjusts itself to the new conditions it is grown. The only way to test is to send off about 500g of chia seeds to a nutritional testing facility for testing. You can choose what you want tested after all you are paying for the tests. Ask for the fats to be tested with the breakdown of all fats contained and it is always good to specify the omega 3, 6 and 9 to be part of the breakdown.

    For the person in Kenya please contact me via email: [email protected] and I will assist you with seeds and as much growing help as possible.

  27. Hi John, Many thanks for your reply..I guess that answer would go for just about anything one grows on reflection.
    Actually the reason I grew a handful was to make sure the ones from bolivia and of course Ozzie, hadnt been irradiated.
    So…..I will continue downing the good ones!!
    Thanks again John and good luck with all your chia efforts.

  28. You’re welcome Beth.
    There is one thing that a lot of people don’t know. You can not irradiate seeds for human consumption, this info was told to me from AQIS. I think some of our competitors have put that out there to scare people from buying imported seeds. Even if you could, we wouldn’t. Heat treatment would kill the weed seeds and the chia in the imported seeds however it is a moist heat treatment which would ruin the chia seeds and that is why we are setting up the cleaning premises which just sorts out the unwelcome seeds with air and vibration. We want seeds that are alive and well.


  29. Dear John
    I hope you recieved my email which I emailed to you on [email protected]
    I am interested in starting with trials with chia seeds and shall be grateful if you could let me know where to purchase the seeds
    With best regards


  30. Hi John

    I’m interested in trialing growing Chia in the New England area, a traditionally higher rainfall area with a lower soil Ph. Would be grateful for further information, regarding time of planting, spacing of plants, plants nutritional requirements, prefered soil Ph. etc. I would be interested in growing organically. So would require information on where to purchase reputable seed.


  31. I am wanting to plant chia seeds out in the garden. Just wondering: Is it best to plant direct, or plant out as seedlings? How deep do I sow the seeds?

    Thanks very much for this article, I really enjoyed reading the comments too :)

  32. Just found a source of small packets of organic chia seed. It’s advertised in The Good Life Book Clun, PO Box 2, Trentham, Vic 3458, Australia. Their email is [email protected] – maybe they can help with bigger supplies :)

  33. Hi Jenny, all I did was to sparsley sprinkle chia seeds into a shallow furrow.lightly covering with soil, and up they came!! My chia seeds are mixed in a container with both bolivian and Ozzie seeds together so I guess whichever you plant they should come up.I see Bunnings are selling one plant for some astronomical price. Quite ridiculous .


  34. I’m also thinking of growing chia, but I will need a variety that does well in tropical savanna or tropical monsoon – my local climate. Does it require shade or can it grow in full sun? Also, where I live the soil is very calcareous and sandy. Would chia grow well therein or would some amending be necessary? Much obliged in advance for any comments ^^

  35. HI Arian
    Chia grows in full sun and should grow better for you in the winter months because too much rain will just keep the plant growing and in turn won’t flower in time or be too tall and the wind tossing the plant around would break the seed heads loose. Are you in the Darwin area? I’m not sure on the calcium carbonate in the soil and how it would affect the growing.


  36. HI Jenny

    The best bet would be to get the book from Ayzera & Coates which explains growing techniques. There are many ways you can plant and in Mexico a lot of farmers broadcast it like you would wheat and some place it in raised beds. As far as how well it would grow in your area you would need to do some testing. Planting about now would be good for your area. We’re interested in the plant leaves as well so your area might produce a good leaf.


  37. Hi there, I live in Pretoria South Africa, and I was wondering if you could help me… I am looking to find suppliers here of seeds, I’m wanting to buy some.
    I have heard that they are grown here, just having some trouble finding out were…. Grrrr!!!
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanking you kindly.

  38. HI Renee

    I’m not aware of any growers there in South Africa however we do send it there from the USA.You can follow the link to our web site and order from the International orders page.
    I have met with family friends in Kenya and we may do some trials there in the future.


  39. Hi,
    I’m interested in trialing growing Chia on the mid north coast area, would be grateful for further information, regarding time of planting, spacing of plants, plants nutritional requirements, prefered soil Ph. etc. I would be interested in growing organically. So would require information on where to purchase reputable seed.

  40. Hi,

    Thank you for all of your information. I was wondering about how many seeds one plant produces? I recently purchased a package of white and a package of regular seeds and am planning on planting both of them. I live in a fairly warm climate with minimal rainfall in the winter, in Northern California – we’re actually considered high desert in climate.

  41. G’Day I have read many things here about growing Chia, however I would like to know how many plants do you need together for them to grow. Like corn needs a group to pollenate each other,so does the Chia plant need others or are they self pollenators. Also are they better in rows or will they be fine in a pot in a circle. My backyard garden consists of an old bathtub 3 large half wine barrels and a smaller pot with a lemon tree in it, I practise companion planting and no chemicals at all and everything is growing great from my snowpeas to my tomatoes,so is there any special companion plant or herb that likes to grow with Chia so that it will be happy to be part of my garden famly.
    Cheers Annmaree

  42. Hi I’m one of the staff of SARDI in Uni Adelaide in Roseworthy campus and I just want to have some additional information ragarding chia, where can I find a seed to plant it and test it. I’m a bit curious-if you don’t mind- about what I’m reading about this super food. I just want to try it.Thanks

  43. Interested in growing so many acres on the darling downs.
    When would it needed to be planted? Have irrigation.
    Where do we buy good seed?

    Thanks linda

  44. Hi John! Will the chia seed grown in a hot, humid, tropical agricultural country? Very interested to have this “superfood” as one of the projects for a women’s livelihood program. It is a third world country and I think it would be wonderful if children and families can take advantage of the nutritional benefits the Chia seeds has to offer.

  45. Hi John
    I farm in the South East of South Australia, high winter rainfall and hot dry summers.
    I have plentiful and very high quality irrigation water and land available for summer cropping. As well as soil very high in organic carbon.
    I have years of experience in growing summer crops especially small seeds.
    I am very interested in trying Chia as a commercial crop.
    I would greatly appreciate a chance to talk to you regarding the possibility of this if you dont mind.

  46. Hello All

    First let me apologize for the delay in getting back to the questions. There is a lot of product development going on right now and at times I am spread a little thin.
    The question from Susan: I’m not sure on how many seeds per plant as this will depend on the size of the plant. Northern California probably won’t produce a good seed due to the climate but give it a try so we will know for sure.
    To Annmaree: Chia will grow with any plant and because of its natural ability to deter bugs is a great companion plant in a herb garden. Chia is self pollinating.
    Raymond, Damien and Linda please contact me on 0427 123 031 to talk chia.
    Michelle, the problem with hot and humid climates is the plant grows too tall and doesn’t flower in time but you can use the leaves for tea and the young developing flower as tea as well.
    Update on growing this season: We have encountered a very wet summer as you all know and lost some of the test fields due to flooding but on a good note the first batch of plant has been harvested and dried and will go into our chia leaf extract for a natural preservative in our skincare range. We will also be releasing chia flour next month which is different than the meal or bran you see in the market as this is a fine flour that is milled using a patented milling process, nutritional test results are very very good and you will soon see this added to many baked goods in the immediate future.

  47. I too am wondering about my location. Coastal North WEST Tasmania where winters are down to zero right on the coast and down to -7c at 500meters and 50 kms from the coast. Summers mild to 25c
    My guess its similar to over 1000 meters in central america so I m guessing its suitable here. Any comments Thanks Oh will imported seeds for consumption germinate and grow .

  48. Hi John,

    I like grow Chia plants in Tavoy region (Around 15 degrees North Latitude- Southeast of Burma). Could you please help where and how to start. Any farm around Perth?

  49. Hello Kenneth Lee..I live in Australia and would like to start something in Burma for the poor. If you can contact me I plan to visit Myanmar and we might be able to work together.

  50. Hi John,
    We have a farm in centeral Thailand 16.30 N 99.55 E and are looking at an alternitive to rice and sugar cane.
    2 seasons Dry Nov-April ave rainfall 30ml per month and a wet season May-Oct with 160ml per month rainfall.
    Dry season temp 20-32,wet season 25-33.
    We have irragation.
    Your thoughts.
    Possible start time early 2012.

  51. Hi John,
    I love chia seeds and have converted quite a few people from work. Can I grow them in Sydney and where can I buy the plants from? Is the plant toxic for dogs? Thanks.

  52. Hi John,
    We have just bought a 50 acre property 45 kls from Canberra, the soil is rich and there are 5 dams on the property, we would like to crop some of the land and we are looking seriously at chia. Any and all advise would be appreciated from beginning to the end product and would organic be better.
    Kind Regards

  53. Hi, I’m from Townsville Nth Qld. Chia grows very well here and sets an abundance of seeds. I planted mine both in the ground and in pots and intend to try growing some vertically when I have set up some more vertical vege towers. Hope this helps. I’m 70, eat chia every day and am constantly astounded the difference this plant has made to the quality of my life

  54. I am keen to grow Chia for personal use in Chianti, Italy at an altitude of 550m. Does anyone have any tips, suggestions, or ideas? I have the seeds already and was considering planting them amongst some olive trees. Our soil is rocky, but if this plant is robust as it seems to be, then maybe it will do well with our warm, but not hot, temps and relatively dry climate? THANK YOU.

  55. I’m in Perth, Western Australia and looking forward to growing a crop that likes the DRY! Just want to let all the Aussies know I have found Chia seeds (and the elusive Quinoa too) available from the Diggers Club.

  56. I am also looking for growing conditions. Like how much to water. I live at 3800 elevation in southern Utah. I can see I have overwatered as my plants are about 5 ft tall. I will stake them to keep them from falling over. How long does it take to flower from planting of seed? I grew 3 plants last year and they didn’t ever flower even at 4 ft tall. I plant in march it is now August, but still have several months of growing conditions left. I appreciate all the info I am finding on this site. Very well done! Thank you

  57. I live in tropical Queensland just north of Cairns and planted some chia seeds a month ago. they have all come up and are flowering. I am so glad to get this information – thanks for all your help!

  58. Thank you Isabell for the informative article on the benefits of chia. It will be great if you can post here and perhpas send me the references of studies done on chia so as we know that claims about it are scientifically proven.

    I live in the suburb of Winthrop about 12 km south of Perth CBD and one day in Winter decided to scatter some chia seeds that I had kept in my pantry for some months. I spied some spotted-neck doves feeding in the area I had scattered the seeds and didn’t think more of it. Then one day I saw litle green things sprouting from the gutless sand that is much of Perth soil. Today weeks later the whole area is full of chia plants and the purple flowers are a delight to the eyes ( as seen in the photo in this article above)

    Yes chia seeds are hardy and will germinate even if you plant them in Winter in Perth ( temperature 2-12 deg centigrade this year) and I didn’t even water the seeds or did anything. I merely scattered the seeds and forgot about them. I bought the seeds from a health food shop.

    I was going to experiment eating the leaves and am pleased to read it can be consumed like a tea. And its value for those who may have problems with bloating is simply great because I was talking to my medical doctor wife about it and she mentioned people who are fructan intolerant. They get big bellies from fructose from eating fruit etc. So here’s another good natural remedy from the beneficial chia.

    I am experimenting with chia and look forward to tasting the first seeds from my harvest..but thanks to Isabell I can try some chia leaves tea now. Incidentally I spread some sheep manure pellets all over the chia patch and they have taken off like wild weed.

  59. Hi,
    I have tried chia in the Canarian island, in May, and they grew more than 2 meters for some of them. They are only starting to flower since the beginning of October.

    So I was wandering… Do they flower only when days are about 12 hours long?

    I was today looking for informations on Internet because I was thinking to sow more now, in autumn… And I saw Isabell suggested this. Of course, I am in a frost-free place. So I hope they would grow less tall, and flower next spring, when days will again be 12 hours long, and I could harvest at the beginning of my dry season.

    I also wander if it is better to get new seed from latin America each year, or if I should as much as possible grow from my own seeds?

  60. Dear Friends, I am also interested in growing chia in India. We have just planted some seeds obtained from Mexico. It is now October. We broadcast the seeds and they came up well. We have transplanted some seedlings and they are doing pretty well too, some I think were a bit young. Any advice on growing Chia in North India, in Uttar Pradesh, will be welcome, when is best time to plant, best soil conditions, how much and when to water, when to harvest, what to expect. Your answer will be deeply appreciated. Thank you and best wishes, Bhavani Lev

  61. I started using chia seeds 6 months ago. 2 tsp a day, with water and a slice of lemon. Sometimes I put a sprig of mint in the glass also. This remedy indeed lasted me a crucial 30 hour working day a couple of months ago. No food, an all nighter – just water/lemon/ chia!

    I exercise regularly, I use soy and organic products as much as possible and I avoid wheat like the plague. I’ve always had low iron levels and was used to being sick with a flu once a month. Within the first month using chia seeds, and I have not seen flu symptoms once. My energy is level, my head is clear of heavy nuisance. I just did a flight from Sydney to Cairns return and for the first time ever I did not experience horrible sinus issues on the decline.

    I would love to grow my own. Thanks for all the suggestions. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to plant it this weekend!!!!!

  62. The southern Utah growing was quite a disappointment, but in reading today on this site, I learned to plant later in the summer. When I planted in March the summer was too long, and learned the Chia needs less light to produce blossom and therefore seed. We did get flower heads a couple of weeks ago, but no seed yet. Now getting frost so probably won’t get seed, as it freezes here.
    Next year I will try planting later in the summer, and covering it to shade it more, or plant in a more shady place.
    Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

  63. Do you think it would be okay to add a few Chia leaves to a smoothie each day or are they poisonous in some way if eaten whole and raw rather than in a tea?

  64. I live in northern Missouri would like to know if chia will grow in this area. How many seeds per acre? How deep to plant the seeds? Where do I get certified seed? Thank Bill Bear

  65. hi would like to know commercial aspects of Chia seeds is it costly to maintain the farm & what would de the shelf life of chia seeds. Does chia seed grown in ay condition has the same nuritional value.

  66. I am also experimenting growing chia seeds in Ranchi, India.. They have sprouted. Next step is to transplant them in pots. I hope I shall be able to Harvest in early July.
    If any one has suggestions, please feel free.

  67. I have come across chia seeds recently and would like to know how to grow Chia in South India. The weather conditions are as follows From June to October there is heavy rain(Rains almost all through the day) temperature around 20 degree , November to feb winter with light rain fall temperature-25 degree and summer march to may with temperature around 30-40 degree. Would like to know if I can grow Chia in these conditions and if yes then in which month.

  68. I am a Kenya based farmer and I would like to know where I can get Chia seeds. I would like to start growing this wonder seed.

  69. I have been following Chia for a couple of years now and I would greatly appreciate if I am able to source more information about its cultivation / marketing aspects. Towards this end, I would like to suggest that India-based persons seeking information through this webpost should form a group email id so that the flow of information is maintained for the benefit of all concerned. I am based in Chennai, India. My email id is [email protected]

  70. Matt, you can get Chia Seeds in Australia. Don’t know where you are but if you ring this phone number 1300 888 012 and speak to Geoff from Australia’s Own at The Entrance NSW, I’m sure he will be able to help you out.

  71. Hello! Thank you for the info on chia. I am going to try growing some this year. I live in Bakersfield, CA. Some really good info here. Tanks again!

  72. I got a Chia plant from Bunnings Caloundra Qld and it is growing well despite torrential rains we have had. Flattened chia but staked up again and recovered. Beautiful blue flowers.
    I have been eating the leaves on sandwiches and enjoy them. Now
    harvesting the seeds hopefully.

  73. Sir, i am interested to grow chia plants. Please inform from where i can get the seeds /plants for growing in india.i am located at solan, himachal state of india.j .c.nijhawan

  74. interesting to go thru the faqs.please let me know the crop duration
    we have facilities to produce chia in a large area. can you suggest buyers?.what will be the yield per hectare under good management practices? i am motivated to popularise the usage of chia seeds in india as it is a super food crop.yu all may join me to popularise this crop in india if yu wish . thank you. prasad kilaru.hyderabad.11-6-2012

    1. Hi!, Prasad kilaru, i am intrested in cultivation in chia seeds in india hyderabad,if you can share information pls email or call 9000920555.

  75. Dear John

    Am in South Africa and would liked to start growing this wonderful plant of the future. I am in Durban and the place is sub-tropical and would like to get more information and where to get seeds to grow. I can come to Australia to learn more about this superfood. I have also sent you an e-mail and can be contacted on [email protected]

  76. Hi everyone,I am in the midlands in the UK and have a good sized allotment.I am always looking to grow interesting and different plants to eat.Does anyone know if I can grow Chia here?

  77. Dear John
    I feel ,after harvesting seeds,we can use all the other parts of the plant like leaves,stem and roots for the purpose of animal feed.please advise. My query dated 11 th June 2012 is yet to be addressed by you.
    Hope you will respond as soon as possible.
    Thank you

  78. I live in Mombasa, Kenya and want to seriously look into chia farming here. We have a variety of climates in this region. I would like to learn what is the best climate and rainfall levels for optimum growth of chia plants for food production. This would also be an excellent emergency food for the periodic famines we have throughout various regions of Africa, especially for the children. I would also like to know of any contact information for acquiring seeds from Mexico and South America. Thank you.

  79. Hi,

    I want to start production of this in India (Punjab), is it possible to grow chia in this part of globe.

    thank you


  80. Please enlighten me on the deseases that attack chia and remedies for that we wish to grow chia in India and wish to know the agronomical and entomological aspects of chia. Can some one respond?
    Thank you
    Brahma teja

  81. Please. Let me know the deseases that frequently or occasionally attack chia crop and what remedies we have to controller such deseases and pests.we wish to grow chia in India.
    Thank you

  82. I’m successfully growing chia in my sunroom in NJ USA. I would like to use the greens for salad. My question is if I pinch the greens will more grow back or will that be it for that part of the plants? I’m very excited at how well my sprout trays are doing. I also plan on planting some trays outside once they’re sturdier and weather gets warmer. I think I’m in zone 6. Thanks!

  83. Hi guys. I am astounded by the information on chia seeds, all those wonderful benefits. Please can anyone advise if chia seeds are available in South Africa, Durban..or anywhere in South Africa. Thanks and much appreciated.

  84. Hi Leigh
    Yes, chia is available from soaringfree superfoods, imported currently.
    I plan to setup organic growing and processing operations in southern Africa.

  85. I am a farmer in Zambia, with well balanced soils and good climate with irrigation. I am interested in growing Chia commercially under organic conditions. Is there an organization out there who would be interested in buying the chia seed.
    Paul Young

    1. Dear Paul,

      I’m a Zambian living in Chilanga. I need seeds/seedlings to plant. I’m ready to buy from you if you have.

  86. Hi Paul,
    I was born in Kitwe Hospital, Zambia. I am wanting to sell organic chia seeds in Croatia. Do you have any seeds for sales?

  87. Hi am very interested in gowing some chia in Auckland NZ and would appreciate some contacts for south American seeds also how does chia do under a plastic topped house?

    1. Newzeland is not ideal place to grow chia. Because it’slatitude is beyond 42degrees south of equator. Ideal would be below 15degrees north or south of equator.

            1. Gday Geoff, I have been through your neck of the woods many times years ago and can understand why you are there. Chia should be very successful for you there. Would like to talk more you can get my email from previous post . Am free on Gold Coast 28-29/09/2014 if you want to meet up on this matter. JOHN.

  88. I cannot find any clinical farming procedure for braud acre farming of Chia seed. Can any one help.

  89. I have still no clinical information on chia farming. all the big boys are claiming intellectual property non disclosure priviliges, in other words they know how to do it but wont tell anyone. Does anyone elese know where to get this information or give this information to me would be most thankful. JOHN.

      1. hi john found you on google so now know about you would love to meet and talk, havent got time this time but will make time in future lotsa luck with chia tea etc. john.

      1. Please also send me information if you got on how to grow Chia, climate, soil, seeding / planting, irrigation, harvesting or whatever. Thanks..

  90. I from Kazakhstan, the city of Astana (capital). I am interested in Chia seeds.
    1. Whether the earth and climate of the central Kazakhstan is suitable for cultivation of seeds of the Chia?
    2. What your price for me? (according to plans – sale of a product of seeds in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, etc.)

  91. Hello! I tried growing Chia along the central Oregon coast this summer, plants were started in April, transplanted in early June, tested some in a greenhouse and some outdoors. We have very mild summers, but temps get into the low 80’s for part of the summer. The plants have grown fabulously, the ones in the greenhouse reached 12+ feet high, outdoors 8+ feet high. Yet, it’s now October, and there’s been no flowering… The greenhouse and outdoor plants were irrigated. Seed was purchased from a health food store. I’ve been searching for an answer to why it hasn’t seeded. Any thoughts?

    1. it looks like you got everything right but your timing, suggest you google chia farming to get an idea of its life span requirement.

  92. I need information on how to grow Chia i.e. climate, soil & seed bed preparation, seeding, irrigation & fertilizer and harvesting. Thanks and regards… KB

  93. Iam Al ready engaged in planting it in Eastern Uganda Its doing very well.
    However the challenge is the market.

  94. Hi Friends,

    Hope you all are doing well !

    Anybody can help me for the cultivation of CHIA seeds,who can let me know the process for growing the seeds.your all comments are more welcome.

    Will Appreciate for your responses.

    Email : [email protected]

    Phone : +91 9711 400 329

    Vineet Nehra

  95. Hi friends If anyone like to join me to setup Chia seed farm in Sri Lanka,Please free to contact for more details.

    1. Hi last AUgust I posted hoes I’d be interested in trailing chia here in Sri Lanka. Are you currently involved in agriculture here. Where about are you thinking of farming it?

  96. Hi! Isabell I am a Sri Lankan who is very interested in growing both Chia and Quinoa in Sri Lanka as we have the similar climatic conditions for same.
    How could you help me with the necessary know how and the seeds etc.
    Thanks. best regards.

  97. i am interested in commercial cultivation of Chia seeds in state of Uttar Pradesh, India. is the climatic conditions of this indian state favorable? how much yield i will get per acre ? pls let me know about a genuine seed supplier.

  98. Hey all,

    I know this posting has been a while back, but trying to get some answer. Hoping to see if anyone would know if Flores / Bali in Indonesia would be a suitable place to grow chia with altitude between 10-50m prolonged drought in some areas in Flores, but looking into investing on an irrigation system. I’m currently piloting the project in both islands.

    If any of you guys have further info / interested in know more. Please email [email protected]

    Gday y’all!

  99. I am also interested to grow in the seed in zambia , where do I get the seed and is there any technical support providing
    thank you

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