Did you know that chia is actually in the sage family? This is a rare, traditional food crop of the Tarahumara people in Mexico. The harvested seed is mixed with water for a healthy and powerful energy booster that has over 1000 years of use. Heirloom Landrace Super food. Has also been said to help kill lice. Not aromatic or particularly flavorful like other sages.
I find that this plant likes to have midday shade, as most annuals do, to protect from damaging heat.
Common name: Lindenleaf sage, Tarahumara chia
Botanical name: Salvia tiliifolia
Type: Tender annual
Scarification/Stratification: None needed
Sow temp/season: 60-80 F in the early spring through early summer if you have a long growing season. Always helpful to get an early start under lights.
Sow depth/spacing: 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep every three inches
Final spacing: 1 foot final spacing
Final height/spread: 4-6 feet tall and 1-2 foot spread
pH range: 6-8
Soil type: Any well drained soil will do.
Nutrition A sprinkle of good compost is all that is needed.
Drainage: Does not tolerate wet feet.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Time to maturity: 120 days. Shake seed stalks in a paper bag to release the seed into the bag.
Hilling: None needed.
Suckering: No root suckers but will branch heavily.
Propagation: Sow indoors to get a head start. Sow in at least 1 ½ inch pots/plugs and transplant to landscape or to at least a 3 gallon pot.
Hybridization: Salvia species hybridize easily, so keep them separated by at least ¼ mile to keep strain pure if one intends on saving seed for future planting. Houses, fences, trees and areas of flowering plants provide a good buffer for pollinators. Different types of sages bloom at different times so it does you well to plan ahead and plant accordingly…if of course, you plan on saving seed.
Uses: Clean seed is roasted and crushed, then mixed with water to make a paste, gel or liquid. It is then eaten or drunk for an energy-filled day. The leaves make a nice therapeutic tea that has a lasting tonic effect on the blood, the nervous system and the heart. The sprouts are eaten on salads or sprinkled on cooked foods for a healthy bonus.