How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Chaya

When I look for a new plant to grow, I consider its food production value. I want long-lasting perennials that fit into an edible forest environment. Tree spinach, or chia, is just that.

It provides you with nutritious green leaves for years. Furthermore, due to its natural status as a natural plant, it is perfect for edible forests as a shrub under trees.

With high levels of vitamins and minerals, tree spinach is ideal for living gardens because it is loaded with calcium, phosphorus, and fiber.

What is the selection?

Conidoscolus aconitifolius Known by various names, the trees include spinach, chyara, kikilchai, chyaken and chye kol. It is a fast-growing and leafy perennial shrub used in many South American cuisines and cuisines.

Chaya is native to Central America, but you can find or cultivate it naturally in Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Galápagos, and South America. You can also see it in some southern states such as Florida and Hawaii and Puerto Rico in the United States.

Many cultures have used tea for hundreds of years and consider it to be a health enhancer, especially to lower blood sugar levels. It is also used to treat many other conditions including acne, eye problems, kidney stones and hemorrhoids.

The best thing about Chia is a leafy perennial that provides year-round production and is a fairly simple plant to grow. The leaves are about three times the size of your normal leafy green color, if not more, you get a lot from just one plant.

Varieties of Chaya

There are four cultivated types of chia which look different from each other. All produce white flowers in summer, and all can be used in the same way.

There are also some basic morphology and species that have spikes and pricks. They are generally wild, non-plowing varieties. All varieties may or may not have fine hairs on the stem, leaves and flowers.

Chaimansa or Maple Leaf (Cernidocollus chaimansa)

The leaves are broad and flat, with a very large maple leaf-like shape.

Estrella or Star (Cnidoscolus aconitopholius)

The leaves are star shaped and look like footprints of a large dinosaur with about five points. I have found that it is the most drought tolerant between it and Chymansa.

Pikuda (Conidoscolus aconitopholius ‘Dumplings’)

This variety has deep-lobed leaves with five to nine toothed lobes. This cultivation produces seeds, while the other three are not here.

Redonda (Cnidoscolus aconitopholius ‘Redonda’)

Redonda has three deeply divided lobes with no teeth or very small teeth.

How to chia

Chaya requires a warmer climate and grows best in USDA growing 8 to 11. You can try out of these, as it is definitely not fussy, but you want to plant in a container and bring them indoors during winter or in the hottest months of summer. .

Chaya does not tolerate heavy or continuous frosts. The average temperature should be between 68 ° F to 90 ° F. It is known to survive at temperatures below 54 ° and wide temperatures up to 100 °.

Plant in soil that is filled with well-rubbed organic materials. Think of the natural environment, where chia grows. It often sits under large trees that leave the leaves on the floor, where they rot.

Aim for soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5, although chia plants will tolerate soil outside this range, but with slightly less vigorous growth.

Once mature, the trunk will be about four inches in diameter, but this does not mean that the plant will stand on its own when it is young. This may require staging in the first year, especially in windy areas.

Planting seed

It is rare for chia flowers to produce seeds, and whenever that happens, they are usually not viable, or they will produce plants a little less vigorously.

The flowers have a strong sour smell and are loved by pollinators. Your chia plant will be a bee magnet, which can only be good for your other plants.

Planting cuttings

Stem cutting is the most common method for chia cultivation. It is simple and usually successful. Stick to these basic steps and you can’t go wrong.

  • Cut 12 inches from the wooded part of the existing stem.
  • Make sure you have a minimum of four nodes.
  • Remove all leaves except the top two.
  • Dry the air for two or three days in a dry dry area so that the ends are sealed. In some areas, this may take up to a week.
  • Plant directly on the ground or pot with a good quality planting medium.
  • Make sure you plant the stem at least two nodes deep. Usually a depth of three to four inches is sufficient. Tighten the soil or medium firmly.
  • Water well to keep the soil moist, but do not add water.
  • If planting after starting in pots, make sure you trim the roots so that they grow downward and do not fall out. Enlarge the hole enough so that the roots face without too much congestion.

Keep your plants about 8 to 10 feet apart. The lines should be the same.

Young chia plants are not cold tolerant, so be sure to plant in the spring when all chances of frost have disappeared. There is a possibility of an unexpected heavy frost that will kill the young Chia.

The established chaya is known to be recaptured from the roots after freeze.

Care for

Given its tendency to spread in its natural habitat, chia is a suitable plant if you plant it in the right environment. There are some tips, which we can improve by sharing it.


Make sure that your soil has a good amount of rotten organic matter when you first plant chyas. After that, use good quality, preferably organic fertilizer once a year in mid to late spring.


Once chia is established, it is often drought resistant, but if watered regularly will produce better quality leaves, but not too much.

Chaya grows in areas where there is an annual rainfall of up to 70 inches, so keep the soil moist at all times if you can.

sorting out

I definitely recommend pruning your tea plant. Left to its own devices, it will rise to 20 feet high.

To maintain a height of about 6 feet, pry your chai. This is to keep it as a sensible plant and ease of harvesting the leaves.

If the plant becomes too high, there is a risk of branches breaking in the air.


Use mulch in summer to retain moisture. This is not always necessary with chia, but in very dry places it can only help. Slightly mulch the mulch to help retain moisture.

Planting partner to grow gram

Chia plant under any fruit tree in an edible forest environment. Also consider applying it with:

  • Body shot
  • Perpetually foster
  • Chilli
  • One type of fruit
  • Tamarillo
  • Lemon
  • Guava

Common problems and solutions to growing problems

Chia is considered an insect and disease resistant plant. After saying this, I have some issues that I need to address.

Tomato Hornworm

Tomato hornworm can cause widespread damage to plants, especially if their numbers become very large.

Read our in-depth article on identifying this insect and how to prevent it.

Cassava Common Mosaic Virus

Chia is similar to cassava plants and shares this virus with many other plants in your garden.

The leaves become yellow or speckled, and the plant is usually disjointed and unhealthy. This is not something you want in a plant where you eat leaves.

The virus is spread by aphids, so practice good pest management in your garden with neem oil or a mixture of soap and water. I have found that aphids come to the chia plant after establishing themselves on other nearby plants, so keep an eye out for them in the rest of your garden.

Soil crunch

I have included it here because chia is not a fussy plant, but there are some soil issues that will affect its health.

If your chia plant is growing very slowly, it is probably due to nitrogen deficiency. The second reason for this problem is the yellowing or overall development of the leaves.

Inadequate calcium and potassium will not be noticeable, but will affect the nutrition of the leaves at harvest. If you ensure that the plantation has well-planted organic material and is fertilized annually with organic fertilizer, then you should be fine.

Chyvan harvesting and use

Although I believe you will like your chia leaves and wonder why you had not planted them before, you should take some precautions.

Make sure you wear gloves because Sta may contain Sta, latex. They often have fine hair which can enhance the skin of some people.

Chia leaves contain a toxin that needs to be cooked outside. These contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can be broken down to produce hydrogen cyanide when damaged in crops. Do not neutralize it as it is easy to neutralize.

Cooking breaks it all. Suggested boiling time is 15 to 20 minutes. After this, you can use it in your dishes or further cook it in butter or oil. You can also mix the leaves in a blender or dry them to get rid of cyanide.

Do not cook in aluminum or you will cause a toxic chemical reaction. Do not take the steam from the boiling leaves.

When I harvest Chia, I start with the leaves at the bottom which are young and tender and work upwards.

To give it a chance to fight, do not remove more than two-thirds of the leaves, or slow the regrowth. Store the leaves in the fridge for up to a week.

Bottom line on selection

Chaya is a plant I heard about earlier because it is a perennial that keeps on giving. You will need five plants to get two family-sized servings per week because you need to make time to recover it, although picking leaves stimulates further growth.

If you can wait, start harvesting in the second year for a more robust plant.

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