United States Edition


Chenopodium quinoa

Quinoa is part of the Chenopodium genus. Its scientific name is Chenopodium quinoa.

Grown for its edible seeds and leaves, Quinoa is a grain that has been to known to be cultivated for at least 5000-6000 years continually.1

Rinse seeds and leaves thoroughly before eating as both contain saponin, a toxin. The toxin however is usually present in such small quantities that it has an extremely little chance of doing any harm. Don’t eat leaves to excess to avoid any ill-effects from the saponin.

To prepare the grains for eating, place in a water bath for 1-2 hours, rinsing and changing the water 1-2 times. Other methods include placing grain in a cheesecloth or fine strainer and placing it under running water to remove the saponin. 1

Quinoa can be prepared like rice, although for a more al dente texture, mix equal parts quinoa and water.

It is a flowering edible herb / vegetable that typically grows as an annual, which is defined as a plant that matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of a single year. Quinoa is known for its forb habit and growing to a height of approximately 1.20 metres (3.90 feet). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer, followed by first harvests in late summer.

Chile is believed to be where Quinoa originates from.

Quinoa is normally fairly low maintenance and is normally quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Quinoa have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Quinoa

  • Full Sun

    OR +
  • Partial Sun

  • Low

Once plants mature, they are more tolerant of dry conditions, but younger plants require more regular watering.

Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. Use Zone 3 - Zone 10 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Quinoa needs a loamy soil with a ph of 6.0 to 8.5 (weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil). Keep in mind when planting that Quinoa is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Quinoa to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Quinoa from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 5.85 inches (15.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.23 inches (0.6 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 10°C / 50°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Quinoa

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Quinoa is a tender plant.

Harvesting Quinoa

Harvest any time after seeds have changed from green to their calico colors, even after light frost. Rain near harvest time will cause problems since mature seed will start to germinate.1

Seed Saving Quinoa

Store seed dry to prevent germination.1

Common Quinoa problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Quinoa plants:

May contract disease from beets or spinach. 1

damping off (Sclerotium rolfsii)1
downy mildew (Peronospora farinosa)1
stalk rot (Phoma exigua var. foveata)1
leaf spot (Ascochyta hyalospora)1
grey mold (Botrytis cinerea)1
bacterial blight (Pseudomonas sp.)1

flea beetles1
caterpillars (insect larvae)1
sugarbeet root aphid (Pemphigus populivenae)-keep crops watered just enough to prevent soil cracks, especially in early summer.1
quinoa plant bug" (Melanotrichus sp.)1
beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua)1

Quinoa has developed a great bird resistant ability thanks to the bitter taste of the saponin on the seeds and leaves. Rain can wash off the saponin and invite hungry birds.1

Quinoa Etymology

Quinoa is a Spanish spelling of a Quechua name for the plant.

Quinoa Folklore & Trivia

To the Incas Quinoa was sacred, they called it “chisaya mama” which means “mother of all grains”.1 The Inca emperor would traditionally sow the first seeds every year with “golden implements”.

Other names for Quinoa

Goosefoot grain, Pink quinoa, Red quinoa, Strawberry quinoa, Cherry quinoa, Inca wheat, Quinua

Misspellings: pigweed, Cherry vanilla quinoa, cherry vanilla

Latest Quinoa Reviews

  • 22 Dec 2014

    Upadhyaya1973 Upadhyaya1973's Quinoa was Reviewed day 43

    I have done quinoa sowing in 5 acre and applied different irrigation and fertigation techniques.Within 15 days, plants were 3 inch. 0n 22 dec , 2 feet height. harvesting in April. looking for buyer

    0 stars

See all Quinoa reviews and experiences »

Quinoa care instructions

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