Salvia Hispanica, known as chia, has “grown” in popularity as a component of the Chia Pet. But chia is more than a novelty plant. The name “Hispanica” is a reference to the native origins of the plant. This aromatic member of the mint family was grown by the Aztecs and is still widely used in Mexico and South America. The Aztecs, who called it ?Running Food? reportedly used it to invigorate the body, increase energy and prolong life. The seeds are a rich source of Oemga-3 fatty acids, fiber, amino acids and antioxidants. The seeds also provide mucilage similar to flax, which aids in digestion. They are eaten raw or in cooking. Fresh sprouts are also eaten. Plants grow to about 3 feet in height and have spike of blue flowers which appear in July and August. They are frost tender and are hardy to zone 9.
Growing Information: Salvia Hispanica prefers a well-draining soil. A mix of sandy and loamy soil is ideal. We have also found these to do well in a seed-starting mix. They should be sown about 1/16? deep and kept between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the seeds moist but not overly wet. Water causes the seeds to form mucilage, which is why the seeds are often germinated on terracotta. It was this process that inspired the chia pet. This species enjoys bright, indirect sunlight. A final spacing of 12 inches is recommended. Do not overwater.
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