All You Need To Know About Growing Chard
You plan to grow chard at home but still have many open questions that need to be answered?
Great! Feel free to find answers to all of your questions in the following FAQ section!
Table of Contents
Time & Duration
When to grow chard from seed?
The best time to grow chard from seed is in early spring since chard likes cool weather and should be grown so that it is ready to harvest before hot summer months arrive.
Hence, in moderate climatic zones, you should start growing chard between late March and April.
Of course, you could also wait with growing chard a little bit longer if you live in rather cool climatic zones where frost is still prevalent at this point in time.
Does chard grow year-round?
While you could grow chard year-round, it is usually a good idea to just grow it during the main season between early spring and summer since you will just get the best result.
However, if you want to experiment a little bit, you could also start growing your first batch of chard seeds in early spring and the second one in summer.
You may also want to start growing a third batch in fall and you can decide for yourself what batch worked best for your individual climatic zone and you can therefore adjust according to that in the future.
In fact, trial and error can be great to get better in gardening in general ;).
Does chard grow fast?
Compared to melons or pumpkins that will take many months to grow from seed to harvest, you can grow chard relatively fast.
In fact, if you know what you are doing, you can grow chard from seed to harvest within two months and growing chard at home is therefore great for you in case you are a rather impatient person who wants to see results quickly.
How long does it take to grow chard?
While a gardening expert will often only need 50 days or less to grow chard from sowing to harvest, it may take beginners considerably longer since they will just make more mistakes along the way and the more mistakes you make, the longer it will take you to grow chard.
How long it will take you to grow swiss chard also greatly depends on the climatic conditions you live in.
Does chard grow back every year?
Chard is grown as an annual and will therefore not grow back at all.
Thus, if you want to get chard yields for future years, you will have to plant new batches of seeds every year since your plants will just not do you the favor of growing back after the first growing season is finished and you have harvested your plants.
How long do chard plants live?
If you plant chard in spring, you will usually harvest it in early summer and remove the whole plant from the soil. Hence, the lifecycle of your plants will be over at the time of harvest.
However, you could also let chard grow in a completely natural manner and if you don’t harvest it, chard plants will live until the first strong winter frost arrives.
How long does it take until chard flowers?
Chard will only flower in warmer periods of the year.
Hence, if you grow it in early spring and harvest it before hot summer months arrive, you will often not see any flowers at all. And this is not problematic.
In fact, the quality of the plant material will be better if chard doesn’t flower and you should not care about it unless you want to save chard seeds.
Can you grow chard in fall?
Growing chard in fall is definitely possible.
However, you should make sure to start growing chard early enough so that it will be ready to harvest before the first strong winter frost hits and your plants may decay due to that.
Can you grow chard in winter?
Growing swiss chard in winter is not a good idea since it will be too cold outdoors and you would therefore have to grow chard indoors.
However, you would just not be able to provide natural growing conditions and your yields would be rather limited due to that.
Location & Climate
Will chard grow in shade?
While chard grows well in cool climatic zones, you should still not grow it in full shade since your plants will need a certain minimum level of sunlight to grow fast and strong.
Hence, instead of growing chard in complete shade, make sure to offer your plants at least a few hours of sun per day on average.
Will chard grow in partial shade?
Growing chard in partial shade is perfectly fine.
In fact, this is a great environment to grow chard since your plants would get a decent mix of sun and shade and will be protected from excessive radiation and heat while still getting enough sunlight to grow in a decent manner.
Does chard grow best in full sun?
While you could also try to grow chard in full sun, it will often grow better in half-shady environments since chard likes the cold and if you grow it in full sun, it will be exposed to too much heat and may not grow as well as in a partially shady spot in your garden or on your balcony.
Will chard tolerate frost?
Chard is a cool-weather plant and will therefore not be vulnerable to the cold.
However, like most other garden vegetables, too much of it will do more harm than good and you should definitely not expose chard to strong frost since chances are that your plants would decay.
Do you have to protect chard from the sun?
Apart from growing chard in partially shady environments, there is no need to protect your plants from the sun.
In fact, if you choose the right location, your chard plants will get a healthy mix of sun and shade in a natural manner and you don’t have to take any manual action in this regard.
How much space do you need to grow chard?
You should plan at least 4 square feet of space for each chard plant so that your chard will not have to compete for sunlight and nutrients with other plants and can therefore grow in a quick and healthy manner and also provide you with decent yields.
Will chard grow indoors?
Since chard needs cool climatic conditions to grow well, it is not a good idea to grow it indoors since your home will just be too warm.
Moreover, you would also have to clean your home more often and your plants would also take away some space from you.
Hence, instead of growing chard indoors, make sure that you rather grow it in your garden or on your balcony.
Can you grow chard without a garden or balcony?
In case you neither have a garden nor balcony, your only chance to grow chard at home would be to do it indoors.
However, there are many issues related to growing chard indoors and you would also just not be able to provide natural growing conditions to your plants.
Thus, in such a case, I suggest you wait until you move to a place where you can provide better conditions to chard plants.
Can you grow chard in small flats?
Growing chard in small flats is not a good idea since you will just not be able to provide the cool climatic conditions chard plants need to grow well.
Moreover, your plants would also take away quite a lot of space from you and in small flats, every square inch really matters.
Therefore, you should never grow chard in small flats but rather wait until you move to a bigger place.
Can you grow chard in an aquarium?
You could also try to grow chard in an aquarium.
However, please note that you will often not be able to make sure that water will run off properly and waterlogging may become an issue.
In turn, the roots of chard plants may start to rot and you may therefore not get good results at all.
Can you grow chard in a terrarium?
While it might be possible to grow chard in terrariums in theory, you should not do so in practice since water will not be able to run off properly and your terrarium would also get quite heavy once you filled it with potting soil which would make you quite unflexible in case you have to move it one day.
Can you grow chard in buckets?
Instead of using conventional flower pots to grow chard, you could also try growing chard in buckets.
This may actually work if you choose big buckets and also drill some holes into the bottom of those buckets so that excess water will be able to run off properly and your plants can grow in a healthy manner.
Can you grow chard in bags?
You may be surprised, but you could also grow chard in bags.
However, make sure to use really big bags and that you use fabric bags instead of plastic bags so that water can run off properly and your plants will also have enough space to grow well.
Can you grow chard in hanging baskets?
Since chard will not develop any crops and the plant material will not get too heavy, you could also grow chard in hanging baskets if you don’t want to use conventional flower pots for some reason or just want to try something new and exciting.
Can you grow chard in rainy climatic zones?
Since chard is a cool-weather plant, it is definitely possible to grow it in rainy climatic zones.
However, in such a case, make sure to utilize every hour of precious sunlight well and therefore plant chard in a sunny spot in your garden or on your balcony so that your plants don’t suffer from a lack of sunlight.
Can you grow chard in tropical climatic zones?
Chard likes cool weather and the tropics are therefore not a good place to grow chard at all.
Consequently, if you live in rather tropical climatic zones, you should definitely rather grow bananas, pineapples, tomatoes or other plants that are fine with the heat instead of trying to grow chard.
Can you grow chard in regions with permafrost?
While chard likes cool weather, you will still not be able to grow it outdoors in regions with permafrost since your plants would just decay.
Instead, you would have to grow chard indoors or in a heated greenhouse and you would likely also not get decent results from it since it implies all kinds of issues.
Consequently, you will just be better off by getting chard from the store in case you live in one of those extremely cold places of our planet.
Does chard grow on vines?
No, chard doesn’t grow on vines. Instead, chard plants produce big leaves and don’t produce any crops that you could harvest.
You will just harvest the whole plant and use the plant material for delicious salads or other dishes that come to your mind.
Does chard grow underground?
Chard doesn’t grow underground. In fact, the whole plant will grow above the soil surface and this will make it quite easy for you to harvest chard once the time has come and the leaves of your plants are big enough to use them in your kitchen.
What is the best orientation for growing chard?
Since chard grows well in partially shady environments, you should either grow it in east or west orientation.
South orientation is also fine even though your plants would be exposed to more sunlight.
Avoid growing chard in north orientation since your plants would just not get enough sunlight to grow well.
Can you grow chard with indirect sunlight?
You could also try growing chard with indirect sunlight in a greenhouse.
However, while this may work, you will likely just get better results by growing it outdoors since you would just be able to provide better and more natural growing conditions in your garden or on your balcony instead.
Where does chard grow best?
Swiss chard grows best in half-shady spots in your garden where it gets enough soil and sunlight to grow well while your plants are still protected from excessive sunlight, radiation and the heat.
Moreover, also make sure to keep away pests as best as possible to assure great yields.
Where to grow chard in pots?
If you want to grow chard in pots, the best location to do so is on your porch since your plants would get sufficient sunlight while they would still be protected from storms, hail and other adverse conditions waiting for your plants outdoors.
Where to grow chard indoors?
If you really want to grow chard indoors, you should make sure that you choose a sunny room for your plants.
However, you should still not expect the same results compared to growing chard outdoors since you will just not be able to provide the same natural conditions to your plants.
Can you grow chard in water?
Growing chard in pure water will not work at all since chard plants need sufficient nutrients to grow well and you should therefore grow chard in a high-quality soil mix so that they can grow big and strong early and will also be able to deter pests in a natural manner.
Can you grow chard with LED lights?
While you could use LEDs and other forms of artificial lighting if you want to grow chard indoors, it would just be a huge waste of energy and I therefore recommend you just grow chard with as much natural sunlight as possible instead of relying on any artificial light sources instead.
Can you grow chard in dark rooms?
While chard is a cool-weather plant and you should not grow it in full sun, dark rooms are still not a great place to grow chard since your plants would not get sufficient sunlight and would therefore also not grow well and your yields would be quite limited.
Can you reuse soil for growing chard the next year?
You can reuse the soil for growing chard for many years. However, make sure to loosen it after every growing season so that the roots of your plants can grow well.
Moreover, you might also want to add some fertilizer to make the soil rich in nutrients again to provide the best growing conditions for chard and other plants.
Does chard grow well in waterlogged soil?
Like most other plants, chard doesn’t like waterlogged soil at all.
Consequently, make sure that water will be able to run off properly so that waterlogging will not become an issue and the roots of your plants will not rot but rather stay healthy instead.
Does chard grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?
Chard grows best in slightly acidic soil with an optimal soil pH between 6 and 6.7.
However, as long as you rely on a decent soil mix, you will not have to worry about these technicalities that much and you should therefore just get a good soil mix from the garden center and will be good to grow chard.
Will chard grow in sandy soil?
While you could grow chard in sandy soil, it would still grow better in a rather balanced soil mix and you should therefore make sure that the fraction of sand in the soil mix is not too high to ensure proper growth of your plants.
Will chard grow well in clay soil?
Clay soil is not the best environment to grow chard in since it will just be too solid and the roots of your plants would have a hard time growing well.
Moreover, waterlogging will also become an issue in this type of soil and you should therefore rather rely on a looser soil mix instead.
Will chard grow in compost?
Compost is great to grow chard since it is loose enough but still provides sufficient nutrients to your plants.
You can also mix compost with potting soil from the garden center and you will have a perfect soil mix for growing chard and also various other garden vegetables.
Do chard plants need a lot of water?
The bigger chard plants grow, the higher their water demand. Hence, in the beginning, you will barely have to water your plants.
However, once your plants get older, their water demand will increase exponentially and you have to water your plants more often.
Do you have to water chard on a regular basis?
How often you have to water your plants greatly depends on the climatic conditions outdoors.
For instance, if you grow chard in your garden and it rains a lot, you will not have to water your plants at all since your plants will get moisture from the soil.
However, during dry periods of the year, you will have to water chard plants on a regular basis so that they will not dry up.
Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water chard?
You should use unfiltered instead of filtered water for chard plants since it will barely make any difference for the end result and it would also take some time and effort to filter tap water.
Hence, in my opinion, the effort is just not worth the reward and you should therefore make your life as easy as possible in this regard.
Should you use rainwater to water chard?
The easiest and most natural way to water chard plants is by just using rainwater.
Not only is it free, but it is also quite easy to collect.
Just install a rainwater tank in your garden and you will be able to collect many gallons of rainwater during rainy periods that you can use for dry periods of the year to water your plants.
When to stake chard plants?
While you don’t have to stake chard plants at all, you can still do so to add more stability to your plants.
However, you should wait with staking chard plants until they reach at least 5 inches in height since they will become more vulnerable to wind at this stage and stabilizing them makes more sense compared to even younger plants.
What to stake chard with?
It is pretty easy to stake chard plants. Just anchor some sticks next to each plant and tie chard plants with cord to those sticks.
This will give your plants more stability and your plants will also be better able to deal with all kinds of adverse conditions outdoors.
What to do when chard turns yellow?
Yellow chard leaves usually indicate that there is something wrong with your watering behavior.
Hence, if the soil surface is still wet, make sure to wait a few days before you water your plants again and see if the symptoms vanish over time.
If not, your plants may also need some nutrients and you may therefore want to add some fertilizer.
How to protect chard against wind?
The bigger chard plants get, the more vulnerable they will become to wind.
Consequently, it is a good idea to stake and stabilize them as soon as they reach a certain size.
You can do so by just tying your plants with cord to sticks and you will be good to go.
How to protect chard against heavy rain?
There is no need to protect chard from heavy rain.
If you still want to do so, you can start growing chard plants on your porch and transplant your chard seedlings into your garden once they get bigger and stronger and can deal with rain and other issues on their own.
How to protect chard against hail?
If you grow chard directly in your garden and moving them to a safe place is no option, you can use some foil cover from the garden center and try to protect your plants from hail as best as possible.
If you grow chard in pots, just move those pots to a safe location around your home once you expect hail.
Should you pinch out chard?
There is no reason for pinching chard. In fact, since you will harvest all of the plant material, pinching out chard would greatly reduce your overall yield and you should therefore never pinch chard if you want to maximize your yields.
Where to pinch chard?
If you still want to pinch chard for your own reasons, the best location to do so is in your garden outside your home since you will just produce a mess that is much easier cleaned up outdoors compared to inside of your four walls. Plus, you will also be able to keep away pests from your home.
Can you grow chard without fertilizer?
If you use high-quality soil, there will usually be no need to use additional fertilizer for growing chard.
However, if you really want to maximize your yields, you may still want to add some organic fertilizer from time to time to get the best results.
Should you cover chard plants to protect them against frost?
You should never cover chard to protect it from frost since you would just alter natural growing conditions and lighting which could adversely affect the growth behavior of your plants.
Hence, just wait with growing chard outdoors until you don’t expect strong frost anymore and there will be no reason to cover your plants at all.
How to get rid of moss when growing chard?
Moss on the soil surface of your plants is a clear indicator that the soil is too wet and that you should slow down your watering schedule.
Otherwise, chances are that the roots of your plants may start to rot and also fungal plant diseases will become more likely.
Pests & Diseases
Can you grow chard without using pesticides?
The better the growing conditions you provide to chard plants, the more likely it gets that you will be able to grow chard without the need of using any pesticides.
Hence, make sure to provide high-quality soil and a perfect location to your plants and chances are that you will not have a huge problem with pests in your garden.
Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for chard plants?
If you really have to use pesticides to get rid of various possible pests on chard plants, make sure to use organic pesticides instead of chemical substances to make your growing project as eco-friendly as possible and also to avoid any damage to your plants.
What are the most common chard pests?
Flea beetles, bugs and snails are just some of the most common pests you may have to deal with when growing chard at home.
There are many additional annoying companions out there you have to keep away from your plants.
How to protect chard against pests?
Fortunately, I invested plenty of time to provide you with a good resource on how to get rid of chard pests and diseases and also on how to get rid of pests in your garden in a simple but yet effective manner which you should definitely have a look at.
Should you grow chard with children?
Growing chard is great for children since it is not too difficult and you will also see results rather quickly.
However, chard will not produce any crops and it may therefore be a little bit boring for your kids.
Hence, if you want to grow something that produces crops and does so quickly, you might rather want to grow carrots with your kids instead.
Is chard a good plant for a school project?
It can also be great to grow chard in your school garden since school kids will learn how to care about plants, how our food is produced and how much time and effort it really takes to feed our population.
In turn, those kids will become more aware of those things and will also be more likely to behave eco-friendly.
Is growing chard difficult?
While growing chard is not really difficult, you should still follow all the advice in this article so that you get a better understanding of how to avoid mistakes and how to really optimize growing conditions to get the best out of your gardening project.
What color does ripe chard have?
While the stems of ripe chard will be red, the leaves will usually have a healthy green color.
However, this also greatly depends on the chard variety you want to grow and you should therefore harvest chard once the leaves have reached the desired color and size.
Can you save seeds from chard plants?
Saving seeds from chard is pretty difficult since your plants will often just not flower at all if you grow them early in the year.
Hence, for saving seeds from chard, you would not be able to harvest the plant material but you would have to rather let your plants grow for many months until you finally get flowers from which you could save seeds.
Can chard get overripe?
If you don’t harvest chard in time, the leaves of your plants may just start to rot and you would miss out on many precious nutrients and also the flavor would suffer.
Thus, make sure to harvest chard as soon as it reaches a decent size to get the most out of your gardening project.
What parts of a chard plant can you eat?
You can eat the whole chard plant. Since chard will not produce any crops, you will just use the plant material for delicious salads, pestos or many other dishes that may come to your mind.
Just be creative and I am sure you will find many different ways how to make use of your chard harvest.
Is growing chard expensive?
Growing chard at home is not expensive at all. All you need is getting some seeds from the garden center or from an internet vendor and you will be good to go.
If you want to grow chard in pots, you might have to get some flower pots as well.
However, gardening equipment will still not cost you a fortune and it is therefore a pretty cheap hobby to grow chard and other plants at home.
Is growing chard fun?
Growing chard can be quite a lot of fun. In fact, it is really interesting to see the progress your plants make each day and it can also be quite relaxing to just sit down next to your plants after a stressful day at work.
Does chard grow on trees?
Chard doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, it grows on plants that produce big leaves and grows above the soil surface.
In turn, this makes it quite easy for you to determine when your plants will be ready to harvest since you see the leaves of your plants all day long.
Does chard grow from flowers?
While chard may produce flowers, it actually doesn’t grow from flowers.
In fact, flowers are not necessary to get decent chard yields since chard will not produce any crops but you will rather harvest the plant material instead.
How many chard plants should you grow per pot?
You should never grow more than one chard plant per pot since those plants can get quite big and would take away lots of nutrients and sunlight from each other if grown in a single pot.
Hence, make sure to provide each plant with one pot and to also use big pots to get the best results.
Which animals feed on chard?
Mice, rabbits, squirrels and other rodents are well-known to feed on chared.
Hence, it is crucial to install a fence around your garden plants to protect them from hungry intruders so that you don’t wake up one day and your plants will be gone.
Will your pets eat chard plants?
If you keep rabbits or other rodents as pets, you should keep them away from your garden plants.
Otherwise, your pets will likely feed on chard and other plants and this would greatly adversely impact your yields.
Is chard toxic for pets?
While chard is not toxic for most pets, you can still never be 100% sure and it is therefore a good idea to separate your plants from your pets, not only to protect your pets but also to make sure that your plants can grow as undisturbed as possible.
Why chard grows small?
Chard grows small if you haven’t provided good growing conditions to your plants.
Hence, make sure to provide better quality soil and also make sure that you choose a better location next time.
Also add some fertilizer to your plants if you want them to grow bigger in future years.
What to grow with chard?
You should have a look at my chard companion plant guide to learn what to grow with chard and what plants you should never grow with chard.
Can you grow chard from chard?
Growing chard from chard is not possible since chard heads will not contain any seeds and it would also be a huge waste of food to try to grow chard from chard.
Instead, just grow chard from seeds and you will be much better off instead.
Can you grow chard from rotten fruits?
Instead of using rotten chard to grow chard, you should rather dispose of this rotten plant material so that plant diseases will not spread in your garden and you will be able to sustain a healthy soil environment in the long run.
Can you grow chard without seeds?
If you don’t want to grow chard from seed, you could also rely on chard seedlings from the garden center.
While this would speed up your growing project, you would still miss out on the first important step of each gardening project and I therefore still recommend you grow chard from seed instead of seedlings.
Do you have to pollinate chard by hand?
There is no need to pollinate chard by hand. In fact, chard plants will not produce any crops and you will rather harvest the plant material.
Consequently, you will not have to care about pollination issues at all and can rather focus on the growth of the plant material instead.
How to grow big chard?
The bigger your yields should be, the better conditions you have to provide to chard plants.
Consequently, to maximize yields, make sure to use high-quality soil and that you also provide enough space to your plants to provide them with sufficient nutrients and sunlight.
You may also want to add some fertilizer to increase yields even further.
Can you grow chard commercially?
While you could try to grow chard commercially, you would have to do it on large scale to make it worth your time and you would also have to invest lots of money upfront.
Hence, instead of growing chard commercially, I recommend you just grow it for fun to save you many nerves and lots of money.
Can you grow chard from fresh seeds?
Growing chard from fresh seeds is pretty difficult since you would just not get fresh chard seeds most of the time.
Thus, instead of growing chard from fresh seeds, you should just get some seeds from the garden center and you will be good to go.
Can you grow chard from dried seeds?
Growing chard from dried seeds is the standard and dried seeds are used by most gardeners since they give you a high level of flexibility regarding when you want to start your gardening projects and you can also get as many of those dried seeds as you need within no time from online seed vendors.
Can you grow chard from cuttings?
Growing chard from cuttings is possible in theory.
Yet, it is still not easy at all and if you are still new to gardening, you should rather grow chard from seed since it is just much easier and also a much more reliant way to grow chard at home.
Should you use a chard growing kit for growing chard?
While you could use chard growing kits, I am not a big advocate of this since it is just a waste of money in my opinion and you should rather invest this money in more sustainable gardening equipment that you can use for quite a long time.
Does chard grow in the wild?
Many chard varieties also grow in the wild.
However, they often look quite different from what you know as swiss chard from the store and you may therefore already have seen wild chard but haven’t recognized it as such during your walks in natural environments.
Should you talk to chard plants?
While you could talk to chard plants, you should not expect any positive results from it.
Hence, I suggest you use your time more wisely on more important things that could really have a positive impact on your gardening projects.
Should you plant chard at half moon or full moon?
It is perfectly fine to grow chard at half moon, full moon or new moon.
In fact, the moon phase you start to grow chard doesn’t matter at all and you should therefore just do what’s best for your schedule and don’t care about moon phases at all in this regard.
Now that you hopefully found all the answers you came for, you may also want to learn how to grow chard from seed to harvest step-by-step to get even more information on how to grow chard in the best possible manner.
Own research and experience.
About the Author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.