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June 2011
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Salvia hispanica – belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae

Salvia Hispanica which is also known as Chia belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. It is an annual herb and a flowering plant and is a native of southern Mexico and Guatemala. The seeds of this plant is ground and used in drinks and food source. The leaves are opposite and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) in length and 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) in width. The flowers are in clusters in a spike and in purple or white in color. Chia grows well in hardy zones of USDA 9-12.
It is a source of antioxidants and amino acids. Its seeds are about 1mm and in oval shape. The flowers bloom in July and August. The leaves and stems are good in sandwiches, soups, salads and stews. Its seeds can be made flour and used to make porridge and its leaves are used as flavoring in cooking. It is used as a border and an ornamental plant. It is ideal for butterfly gardens. It prefers clay to loamy soil.

Growing conditions of Salvia Hispanica:

• Sow the seeds in each pot around March along with peat moss.
• This plant needs full sun and so select such a location.
• It grows well in hardy zones of USDA 9-12.
• Add compost while planting.
• It prefers clay to loamy soil.
• Moisten the peat moss with water that is sprayed.
• Let the seeds germinate which is about two weeks.
• Keep moistening periodically.
• Place it in a sunny located once seedlings start out.
• Almost 12 hours of sun is required during this time.
• Transplant them in late spring or early summer.
• Dig a hole and place these seedlings in the hole covering the root balls.
• The space should be 12 inches apart.
• Soak one inch down per week.

Care for Salvia Hispanica:

• Fertilize the plant in specific time frames.
• Keep the soil moist and in indirect sunlight.
• The temperature should be between 65 and 80 degrees F.
• Do not overwater as it can cause root rot.
• Almost 12 hours of sun is required during this time.
• Pinch off the top of the stem to ensure new growth after 4 weeks.

Images of this plant are at the Google Search link

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