Health food stores are brimming with pricey wheatgrass juices and powders, but why buy these when you can easily grow this chlorophyll-rich superfood at home?
Wheatgrass seeds are inexpensive and have really good germination rates, making this a fun and super-quick growing project if you can provide the right environment.
If you’re curious about growing this gloriously green crop, we’ll help you find the best seeds and provide detailed care tips and a step-by-step guide on taking your wheatgrass successfully from seed to harvest.
Wheatgrass at a Glance
Popular Wheatgrass Varieties
The classic annual wheatgrass variety (Triticum aestivum) is typically grown as a potted vegetable crop and produces thick bright-green grass shoots reaching roughly 6 inches tall.
A highly popular wheatgrass variety is ‘Whole Hard Red Spring Wheat’, especially seeds that are 100% certified organic as these tend to have fast growth and superbly reliable germination rates.
When grown, the following varieties share much the same looks and nutritional properties, though the flavor intensity when juiced can vary among some.
Some types also have slightly different soil and weather tolerances that may affect growth rates. Let’s take a look at the most favored wheatgrass varieties:
- ‘Whole Hard Red Spring Wheat’ (T. aestivum) – germinates in 7 days; excellent germination rate; intense sweet taste; tall, thick blades; cold hardy.
- ‘Hard Red Winter Wheat’ (T. aestivum) – germinates in 7-10 days, high-protein content, good germination rate, nutty flavor with bitter aftertaste, greater porosity.
- ‘Triticale’ (×Triticosecale Wittmack) – Hybrid of wheat/rye; fresh, sweet flavor; tolerant of soil erosion and rainstorm damage; germinates in 7-10 days.
- ‘Rye Wheat Grain’ (Secale cereale) – Sharp, bittersweet flavor; germinates in 7-10 days; drought tolerant; very cold hardy; thrives in sub-standard soil.
Best Places To Buy Wheatgrass Seeds
Wheatgrass Seed Planting & Germination
- Sprouting jar + mesh lid
- Shallow seed/planting tray with drainage holes
- Organic potting soil/compost
- Misting bottle
- Tea towel/newspaper
- Heat pad (optional)
1. Soak the Seeds for 8-12 Hours in a Sprouting Jar
Put 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of wheatgrass seeds in a clean glass sprouting jar, and fill with enough tepid water to cover them completely.
Place a mesh lid or piece of cheesecloth with an elastic band over the jar opening, and let the seeds soak overnight (8-12 hours) in a cool, dark area at room temp, such as a kitchen cupboard.
2. Prepare a Planting Tray With Potting Soil
Sterilize a shallow planting tray with a mild bleach/water solution – rinse clean and dry thoroughly.
Next, fill the tray 2 inches deep with organic potting soil, and moisten the medium with a misting bottle in preparation for seed planting.
3. Drain the Seeds & Sow Evenly in Tray Medium
After soaking, strain the seeds through the mesh jar lid – they should now have begun to swell in size and the outer seed coating should show signs of cracking.
(If not, rinse the seeds once more, strain, and return the jar to the cupboard for a further 8-12 hours, placed on its side.)
Next, sprinkle the seeds evenly on the soil, and press them very lightly into the medium so the soil is barely covering them.
4. Cover the Tray With Newspaper & Place in a Low-Light Area
To trick the seeds into assuming they’re below the soil surface, place 2-3 sheets of newspaper or a thin tea towel over the tray, and moisten it well to provide humidity and shade.
Next, place the tray in a low-light area at average room temperature (60-75°F) for 2 to 3 days. (If attempting to germinate during winter or in colder climates, a heat pad may be necessary.)
Water the towel 3 times each day, and check on their progress.
5. Move Seedlings to a Sunny Location & Continue Watering
By day 3 or 4, the seedlings should appear yellowish and measure 1 inch or so tall. They’re now ready for bright light, so remove the towel/paper and place the tray in a bright windowsill to grow.
Continue to mist the soil at least twice daily to maintain a moist growing medium.
In another 3 or 4 days, you should have a tray filled with bright green wheatgrass blades measuring 6 inches tall – these are now ready to harvest.
5 Tips for Growing Wheatgrass From Seed
- Bear in mind that while wheatgrass can be sown outdoors, this short-term crop is better suited to an interior setting – germination can take 3 weeks or more outside due to uneven soil moisture and unreliable sunlight levels.
- For stellar results, allow the seeds to fully sprout in the jar before planting – after the initial overnight soaking, repeat a process of draining and rinsing the seeds for 2-3 days or until you notice tiny white tail-like roots sprouting from the seeds.
- If you keep the seed tray in temperatures over 80°F, be sure to give them adequate ventilation to prevent mold growth by leaving a low-setting fan nearby to circulate air.
- Once the seeds begin sprouting, allow the seed tray to drain between every other misting as waterlogged soil can cause fungal issues for the wheatgrass roots.
- Make a note of your progress as you go – recording things like germination times, best temperatures, issues faced, etc. will come in handy for next time.
Growing & Caring for Wheatgrass
Now you have all the basic steps laid out it’s easy to assume that successful growth of your wheatgrass is inevitable – not so!
Though this is an easy-to-grow plant, things like incorrect watering or poor lighting conditions can really mess things up.
Stick to this care regimen, and you’ll be harvesting delicious, top-quality wheatgrass in no time:
If you’re planning on transplanting your tray-grown wheatgrass into a container pot to let it regrow after harvesting, don’t make the mistake of using garden soil as this is way too dense.
Commercial potting soil will suffice, but an organic medium containing natural matter such as compost or worm-castings offers a perfectly fertile, well-draining mixture.
Once they reach an inch or so in height, wheatgrass seedlings need bright light for healthy, even growth, but take care not to let them scorch in the midday sun.
Placing the tray near a south-facing window or on the sill of an east-facing window will provide the ideal indirect sunlight needed to promote that vivid bright green color.
Watering & Fertilizing
The soil needs to remain moist but not soggy, so take care to only water when the surface of the medium starts to feel dry.
The developing wheatgrass will clue you in to over- or underwatering by appearing yellow and leaning over.
While fertilizer isn’t crucial, you can ignite a nutrient-rich growth spurt to your wheatgrass by adding some diluted liquid kelp fertilizer to your mist spray.
Wheatgrass shoots become more bitter with age, so be sure to harvest as soon as the sprouts measure 6-7 inches tall.
Clip the grass just above soil level using sharp, sterile scissors or pruning shears, and use the clippings immediately in a juicer (I use my juicer all the time and love it!) for best results.
Otherwise, you can store the freshly cut wheatgrass in an airtight container or sealable bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Wheatgrass Common Questions:
Are Wheatgrass Seeds Just Wheat?
Wheatgrass derives from the wheat plant Triticum aestivum and is essentially wheat in its early stage.
The term “wheatgrass” refers to the young sprouting that is grown and harvested long before the wheat “grain” is produced.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Wheatgrass From Seed?
Taking into account the time needed to pre-soak the seeds to encourage sprouting, the 2 day germination period, and the subsequent growth in bright sunlight for a further 3-4 days, wheatgrass can take as little as 6 days and as long as 10 to grow from seed.
Growth rates will alter depending on the growing culture.
Can You Eat Wheatgrass Seeds?
If you intend to eat raw wheatgrass seeds, nutritionists recommend soaking the seeds for 24-72 hours beforehand, followed by a thorough rinse.
This allows bacteria to begin fermenting the seed to make it more digestible. Those with gluten allergies/intolerances should consult a doctor before consuming wheatgrass.
Will Wheatgrass Keep Growing?
If you don’t disturb your current batch of wheatgrass by transplanting it or damaging the root crown, wheatgrass will regrow 1-2 weeks after being harvested.
However, the second and third harvest will have a depleted nutrient content and the resulting juice quantity and quality will be poor.