Chia Seed Lab Results

By Chris Guy and Matthew Ghanayem

Chia Seed Growth in different substances

Does the substance (soil, pea pebbles, or fertilizer) that chia seeds are grown in affect its growth?

Background Info

Fertilizer is like soil, but has extra nutrients/food for the plant to use. Soil and Fertilizer can absorb water better than pea-pebbles can.


If you grow chia seeds in fertilizer, then it will grow the best and quickest because unlike the soil and pea-pebbles, fertilizer contains food for the plants.


Independent: substance grown in

Dependent: height of chia plants in centimeters

Control: amount of water, same lighting, same amount of starting seeds, same amount of substance (soil, fertilizer, pea pebbles).

Extraneous: Distribution of nutrients/water (not every seed is created equal genetically), distance of plants from the sun.


Control: Soil

Experimental: Pea pebbles and fertilizer


  1. take 3 small plates and spread fertilizer, soil, and pea pebbles evenly across the surface in a thin layer (height of the dish).

  2. Evenly divide the chia seeds you are given into three piles. Then take each pile and sprinkle the seeds into each plate (1 pile per plate). Note: leave a little space in between each chia seed.

  3. Evenly water each plate with 50 ml of water.

  4. Observe each plate and record your observations.

  5. Water each plate with 50 ml of water each day. If the plants seem underwatered, water each plate with 75 ml a day. After you water the plates each day, make observations of each plate and record your observations.

  6. Keep doing step 5 every day until you want to end the experiment (I suggest ending it at around 1-2 weeks).

Expected Results

We definately expected the pea pebbles to grow very little, but mainly because the chia seeds wouldn't get much nutrients from the pea pebbles, not because water flooded the dish whenever we watered it with at least 30 ml. of water. We also expected the fertilizer to do better than the soil because the fertilizer would provide more nutrients to the plants.
Big image


We are sorry about some of the missing data in the graph, (we just couldn't figure out how to do some things). Anyways, the green line is soil, the blue line is fertilizer, and the pink line is pea pebbles. In the beginning, the pea-pebbles showed no signs of life, but then at days 6-8 signs of life were showing but they didn't grow much and still aren't growing that much. The soil started off to a great start germinating quickly and showing sprouts at day 4. They grew rapidly after that reaching 7 cm. at day 13. The germinating process took a little longer with the fertilizer not showing sprouts until day 6. Now at day 10 (really day 11 because day 10 was Sunday) the fertilizer along with the soil reached 6 cm. The fertilizer also maxed out at 7 cm. on day 13. The fertilizer ended up having less seeds that grew than the fertilizer, so overall, we think the soil had a better, faster growth. Also not relating to the experiment that much, we observed that the plants grew so that the leaf faces the sun. This is the plants reacting to their environment using phototrophism which is how plants grow towards the light.

Why did this happen?

We are not sure why the soil grew faster than the fertilizer which is against our hypothesis, maybe it was a uncontrolled variable, but some reasons why there was such little growth in the pea-pebbles is that maybe some of the pebbles crushed the seeds killing them, and or the pea-pebbles weren't able to absorb much of the water giving the seeds too much water flooding them.

Changes for next time

We gave the plants an equal amount of water, but we gave them a different amount of water based on what we observed. Next time we would like to give one set amount of water to the plants every other day. We would also want to be more careful with the distribution of the seeds space-wise next time so more of the seeds would have grown.