Fabulous Freelancer Fix-It: How to Successfully Grow a Chia Pet

Ah, Chia Pets. They’ve been around for decades now, and have grown (no pun intended) into so much more than just the standard models that everyone remembers from that commercial…

As much of a novelty as they are, it’s been my experience that they’re notoriously difficult to grow. After trying (and failing) to grow the puppy version in my childhood, I was like, “Yeah, whatever.” For me, Chia Pets became another one of those faulty as-seen-on-TV products.

Then, at 2018 holiday party, Chia Bob Ross came into my life during a Yankee swap. Perhaps it was my love and respect for the actual Bob Ross that made me determined to honor his memory by growing his Chia alter-ego to the best of my ability. Or, maybe it was because I’m competitive, and I was out to prove to people (including the person who purchased it in the first place) that I would conquer the longstanding Chia Pet conundrum.

Whatever the reasons, little did I know that over the next two months, I would actually find the secret to growing a vibrantly hilarious Chia Pet. I can only hope that the real Bob Ross would be proud of my newfound happy little chia seed growing skills…

The first attempt = learning experience.

So, here I was with this delightful Chia Bob Ross. In early January, I decided there was no better way to start a new year than to grow Bob Ross’s ‘fro AND beard. If you ever happen to come across a Chia Bob Ross box (which you probably will, because Bob Ross merchandise seems to be everywhere) you’ll notice that it’s usually only the ‘fro – that’s just lessens the novelty of it all by, like, a million points.

Although Chia Bob Ross came with a set of what seemed to be comprehensive directions, they didn’t work for me. His beard washed off, the seeds wouldn’t grow, and he even got moldy. I kept trying, though, until the initial package of chia seeds was all used up. I ordered some more online, and decided that by the time they arrived, I’d have my own plan to put into place.

The second attempt = triumph.

The only thing I still followed from the original directions in my more successful second phase was the soak-Chia-Bob-Ross-in-water-for-30-minutes part. So, yes, begin there…

  • While your Chia Pet is soaking (it needs to be fully submerged someplace like the sink or a very large bowl) get a not-for-drinking-use cup or ramekin and pour just enough chia seeds so that they lightly spread out across the bottom.
  • Pour a tiny bit (like water bottle cap size-ish) of water on top of the seeds, and stir them with a plastic knife, fork, or spoon. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then stir again. Do this one final time during that 30-minute period.
    • The result should be gel-like consistency. It has to be able to adhere to your Chia Pet. If it’s too runny, add a bit more seeds, if it’s too dry, add a bit more water.
  • Now that the 30 minutes are up, take your Chia Pet out of its submerged state and put it on the little plastic pan that it should come with.
  • Get a plastic knife and evenly spread the gelled chia seeds on your Chia Pet. Here’s what Chia Bob Ross looked like after I did so:


  • Next, get a paper plate to place beneath the little plastic pan so that it’s Chia Pet>plastic pan>paper plate.
  • Leave your Chia Pet alone (no watering) until the gelled chia seeds solidify on it (about three days).

Here’s the trick: place a plastic shopping bag (not a Ziploc bag) over the entire Chia Pet, tucking it under the plate so that it forms a tent of sorts.

Like so:


  • Don’t fill the Chia Pet with water. Instead, use a spray bottle to lightly-yet-thoroughly water its surface once every couple of days
    • I suggest a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday watering until the seeds sprout, then switch to a Monday/Friday routine once they do.
      • You can also go on instinct with this – after all, some climates are more humid than others! Basically, if the Chia Pet feels dry to the touch, then it needs water.
      • If you’re in a particularly warm and humid location, then you might not need the plastic bag, either.
    • Your chia seeds should sprout within a week. Here’s Chia Bob Ross right after those initial Chia sprouts made their appearance:


  • About a week after that, your Chia Pet should be in full bloom. Here’s Chia Bob Ross, modelling his green finery for the world to see. Some might call it overgrown, I call it glorious:


  • I should mention that, through all this time, the plastic bag (yes, yes, they’re bad for the environment – good for Chia Pets, though) should be kept on your Chia Pet overnight/just after a watering session.
    • If your climate is more humid, then you might need the plastic bag even less than that.
    • It being the winter = dry air when I did this, I actually kept the plastic bag on mine more often than not. However, that’s obviously no fun if the plan is to have your Chia Pet be a desk ornament.
  • And, there you have it! Your Chia Pet should last about 2 weeks. Once the chia seeds have run their course, it’s easy enough to peel the layer off. Wash away any residual seeds, allow your Chia Pet to dry for a couple of days, and store it or go through the process again!

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  1. I used to constantly beg my mom to buy me a chia pet. I didn’t even realize they were still in existence lol.

    I may be saving this post then hitting up amazon for a Bob Ross 😏

    Thanks for the blast from the past!

    • You’re welcome! Yep, not only are they still a thing, there are a ridiculous amount of varieties.

      I’m hoping they start a GoT line – Jon Snow, the Weirwood tree, direwolves, Tormund….so many great options!!!!

      Definitely give it a try – it’s a great distraction during really long writing days 😁

    • I have to tell you I appreciated this post! I got a t-Rex chia pet for my son and wanted to be sure it worked. You have great suggestions! I found a great solution to needing to have it covered but wanting to see it. I put it under a cloche! Holds in the humidity and totally visible! Anyway, thanks again!

      • Thanks so much for the kind words, Tia! I’m happy you’ve found the post so helpful. What a great idea to use a cloche, too! 🙂

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