Microgreens: What Are They and How to Grow Them at home

Microgreens: What Are They and How to Grow Them at home

This article discusses the health benefits, nutrition, and methods of growing microgreens.

These small greens, commonly referred to as micro herbs or vegetable confetti, have a strong taste and can enhance the appearance of many different types of food.

Despite their small size, microgreens contain high levels of nutrients, making them a beneficial addition to any diet.

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are a type of young vegetable greens that typically measure between 1 and 3 inches in height or roughly 2.5 to 7.5 centimeters.

These foods have a distinct aroma and high concentration of nutrients and are available in a range of colors and textures.

Microgreens are classified as young plants, which are between sprouts and baby greens.

It is important to note that sprouts and microgreens are not the same. Unlike microgreens, sprouts lack leaves and have a shorter growing cycle of 2-7 days. Microgreens are typically harvested 7-21 days after germination when the plant's first true leaves have appeared.

Microgreens are comparable to baby greens as only their stems and leaves are edible, but they differ in size as microgreens are much smaller and can be sold before harvesting.

The microgreen plants can be purchased intact and then sliced at home, allowing them to remain alive until they are eaten.

Microgreens are versatile in their growing capabilities, as they can be cultivated in various settings such as outdoor environments, greenhouses, and even within the confines of a windowsill.

Different Types of Microgreens

There are various types of seeds that can be used to grow microgreens.

The production of the most popular varieties involves using seeds from specific plant families.

  • The Brassicaceae family includes cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish, and arugula.
  • The Apiaceae family includes plants such as dill, carrot, fennel, and celery.
  • Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek
  • The Amaranthaceae family includes plants such as amaranth, quinoa, Swiss chard, beet, and spinach.
  • The Cucurbitaceae family includes melons, cucumbers, and squash.

Cereals and legumes are occasionally cultivated into microgreens, including rice, oats, wheat, corn, barley, chickpeas, beans, and lentils.

Microgreens exhibit a range of tastes, ranging from neutral to spicy, slightly sour, or even bitter, depending upon the type. In general, their flavor is perceived as potent and concentrated.

Microgreens can be grown using different types of seeds, and their flavor varies based on the specific variety.


Microgreens have high nutritional value.

Microgreens contain a high concentration of nutrients.

Different types of this food have varying nutrient contents, but generally, they are high in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper.

Microgreens provide beneficial plant compounds such as antioxidants.

Additionally, the nutrient content of young greens is more concentrated, resulting in higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to mature greens of the same quantity.

Research has shown that microgreens can contain up to nine times more nutrients than mature greens.

The vitamin and antioxidant levels in microgreens were found to be considerably higher than those in more mature leaves, with variations observed across different samples.

The nutrient levels of microgreens compared to mature plants may vary depending on the species.

Microgreens have been found to be highly nutritious, with significantly higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to their fully grown counterparts.

Health Benefits of Microgreens

Microgreens have been found to contain comparable or higher levels of nutrients than mature greens, which may potentially lower the risk of certain illnesses.

  • Studies suggest that microgreens, due to their high polyphenol content, may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels in animals.
  • Research suggests that consuming foods high in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, may be associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Studies have shown that antioxidants may aid in reducing stress that prevents proper sugar absorption in cells. Fenugreek microgreens have been observed to increase cellular sugar uptake by 25-44% in lab experiments.
  • Studies suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables with high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols may potentially reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and there is a possibility that microgreens with high polyphenol content could have similar benefits.

Microgreens have a high concentration of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, which may help lower the risk of certain diseases.


Are there potential risks associated with consuming them?

While there is a concern for food poisoning, the risk is lower in microgreens compared to sprouts due to a smaller potential for bacteria growth.

Microgreens have a lower requirement for warmth and humidity compared to sprouts, and only the leaf and stem are consumed instead of the root and seed.

When growing microgreens at home, it's crucial to purchase seeds from a trustworthy company and select growing mediums that are not contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.

The commonly used growing mediums for microgreens are peat, perlite, and vermiculite. It is considered hygienic to use single-use growing mats specifically designed for microgreen cultivation.

Microgreens are safe for consumption. It is important to ensure the quality of seeds and growing mediums when cultivating them at home.

How to include microgreens in your diet

There exist various methods to incorporate microgreens into one's diet.

They have the versatility to be included in numerous dishes, such as sandwiches, wraps, and salads.

Microgreens have the potential to be incorporated into smoothies or juiced, with wheatgrass juice being a frequently consumed example of a juiced microgreen.

They can also be utilized as toppings for various warm dishes like pizzas, soups, omelets, curries, and more.

Microgreens are versatile and can be consumed in their raw form, as well as incorporated into both cold and warm dishes through juicing or blending.

Instructions for cultivating your own plants.

Microgreens have the benefit of being simple and convenient to cultivate. They can be grown throughout the year, and don't demand a lot of equipment or time. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Good-quality seeds.
  • For optimal growth of microgreens, it is recommended to use a suitable growing medium, such as potting soil or homemade compost, or a specialized growing mat that can be used once.
  • For optimal growth, it is recommended to provide adequate lighting, such as sunlight or ultraviolet lighting, for a period of 12-16 hours daily.


  • Add soil to your container, being careful not to pack it too tightly, and then lightly water it.
  • Evenly distribute the chosen seeds onto the soil's surface.
  • To help your seeds grow, it is advised to moisten them slightly with water and then cover the container with a plastic lid.
  • It is recommended to check the tray on a daily basis and spray water as necessary to ensure the seeds remain moist.
  • After a few days of germination, it is recommended to remove the plastic lid to allow exposure to light.
  • It is recommended to water microgreens once a day in order to promote growth and color development.
  • Typically, microgreens are ready for harvesting within 7-10 days.


Microgreens are a versatile addition to one's diet, providing both flavor and ease of incorporation. Growing them at home can be a cost-effective way to increase nutrient intake without the need to buy large amounts of vegetables. Including them in your diet can be beneficial.