How Long Do Microgreens Take to Grow? Here’s a Timeline!

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Microgreens are essentially a variety of greens, lettuces, or herbs that are harvested at a young age, usually after they have developed their first true leaves. Gardeners often enjoy growing microgreens because they can be raised at any time of the year, due to their ability to thrive indoors (and outdoors in mild climates). Another reason why people enjoy having microgreens is because they usually do not take long to develop.

How long do microgreens take to grow? How long a microgreen takes to grow depends on its unique variety. On average, most greens can germinate within 2 to 3 days and are ready to harvest between 8 to 21 days.

As you can tell from this range, there are fast-growing microgreens as well as slow-growing microgreens to consider. Some of the faster-growing types take as little as eight to 15 days to grow, while slower-growing varieties require up to 25 days before they are ready to harvest. It all depends on the microgreen’s individual crop cycle.

The Microgreen Crop Cycle

Each microgreen plant undergoes the same type of crop cycle, which starts with the gardener planting its seeds within a designated tray. This step is followed by a blackout period, in which the microgreen is left in a dark, humid environment to germinate. Next, is the sunlight period, when the plant can begin to grow its first true leaves. Finally, there is the harvest, during which time the gardener can then store or use the fresh microgreens for a multitude of dishes.

Planting

As with any plant, the first step to growing microgreens is planting the seeds into your desired medium (soil-based, soil-less media, hydroponic).

Quick Tip: For a successful microgreen crop, we recommend that you scatter six to eight large seeds per square inch of your tray (or 10 to 12 small seeds per inch). This ensures that you will get a more significant yield and will have an easier time harvesting the plants later.

Once you have sown your chosen microgreen seeds in the tray and watered them, the microgreens are placed in a warm and dark environment to officially begin their growing cycle.

Germination (Blackout) Period

The germination phase for microgreens happens during this “blackout” period, in which the tray is covered with a dark lid (or blackout dome) or dishtowel to create a dark, warm, and humid environment, which is ideal for this process to take place.

It is during this period in which the growing times of different microgreen types start to vary. For example, it can take arugula around two to three days before its seeds germinate, while asparagus can take as long as nine days. This is why there is such a large difference in growing times for some microgreens when compared to others.

Sunlight Period

Not long after the microgreen seeds have germinated, they are removed from the dark environment and placed under a source of light for the duration of their growth phase (usually once they have reached an inch to an inch-and-a-half in height).

Again, depending on the variety, microgreens will also differ in growing times between when they are first introduced to light and when they are ready to harvest. For a green like arugula, this may be another two to three days, while asparagus will be an additional nine to 10.

Harvest

Microgreens are ready to harvest once they have developed their first “true” leaves, or are about two to three inches tall. Due to the vast differences in germination and growing times, different microgreens will be ready to harvest at different times.

RELATED: When Should Microgreens Be Harvested?

Fast-Growing Microgreens

Most fast-growing microgreen varieties are considered the “easiest” to grow compared to other greens. They are usually ready to harvest in eight to 15 days. The following tables* list the crop cycles and their respective timelines for each microgreen type:

Arugula

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-6 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Barley

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Broccoli

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Brussels Sprouts

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-12 Harvest

Buckwheat

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 6-14 Harvest

Cabbages

Different cabbage varieties grow at different lengths of time when planted for microgreen harvesting. The below tables list their more common microgreen types:

Bok Choy & Pak Choi Varieties

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Golden Acre, Red Acre, Red Rock Mammoth, & Kogane Varieties

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Cauliflower

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-6 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Chia

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Collard (Champion & VATES)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-8 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 9-15 Harvest

Endive

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Kale (Bright Green, Red Russian, & Toscano)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Kohlrabi (Purple)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-15 Harvest

Lettuces

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase
Day 4-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-9 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 10-15 Harvest

Mustards

Similarly to cabbages, mustards come in a wide variety of species. The below tables lists a few of the more common microgreen types grown:

Red Streaks Mizuna Variety

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Mibuna Variety

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-12 Harvest

Mizuna, Osaka, Feathered Red, & Yellow Varieties

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Southern Giant Variety

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-12 Harvest

Tokyo Bekana Variety

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-4 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Radish (Daikon, Hong Vit, Purple Stem, Red Arrow, Red Rambo, & Red Stem)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 3-8 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 9-14 Harvest

Red Clover

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase
Day 3-5 Blackout Phase Continues + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Saltwort

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-7 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 8-9 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 10-15 Harvest

Sesame

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-8 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 9-15 Harvest

Sunflowers

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-14 Harvest

Wheatgrass

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 3-7 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 8-12 Harvest

Other common fast-growing microgreen varieties include:

  • Borage
  • Celosia
  • Salad Burnet
  • Cress (Cressida, Persian)
  • Brassicas Mustard
  • Tat Soi

Slow-Growing Microgreens

Slow-growing microgreens usually take around 16 to 25 days to grow before they are ready to harvest. Although their growth period is more extended, these plants can be raised any time of the year, similarly to fast-growing greens. However, some gardeners note that these microgreens require more care due to their longer germination and growing phases.

The following tables* list growing cycle timelines for common slow-growing microgreen varieties. From the list, you will notice that many of these plants consist of more herbs than vegetables.

Anise (Hyssop)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-7 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 8-16 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 17-25 Harvest

Asparagus

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-9 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 10-21 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 22+ Harvest

Basil

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-13 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 14-21 Harvest

Beet (Bull’s Blood, Early Wonder, & Yellow)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-4 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-25 Harvest

Carrot

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-7 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 8-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-21 Harvest

Celery

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-6 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 7-14 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 15+ Harvest

Chard (Pink Stem, Rainbow, & Ruby Red)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-5 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-25 Harvest

Chives

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-8 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 9-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16+ Harvest

Cilantro (Monogerm)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-5 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16+ Harvest

Dandelion

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16+ Harvest

Dill

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-5 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 6-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-25 Harvest

Fennel (Bronze & Green)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-4 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-11 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 12+ Harvest

Marigold (Gem)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-4 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-25 Harvest

Oregano

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-6 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 7-19 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 20+ Harvest

Parsley

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-6 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 7-20 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 21+ Harvest

Pumpkin

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16+ Harvest

Sage

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-10 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 13-23 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 23+ Harvest

Scallion

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16-25 Harvest

Shiso (Britton)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-3 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 4-15 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16 Harvest

Sorrel (Red-Veined)

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-10 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 11-20 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 21-30 Harvest

Thyme

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-12 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 13-25 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 25+ Harvest

Wasabi

Day 1 Planting + Start of Blackout Phase
Day 2-4 Germination Phase + Initial Growing Phase
Day 5-11 End of Blackout Phase + Final Growing Phase
Day 16+ Harvest

Other slow-growing microgreen varieties include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Amaranth
  • Chervil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Magenta Spreen
  • Orach (Ruby Red, Scarlet)
  • Purslane (Red Gruner)
  • Shungiku (Broadleaf)

*Note: There are many types of microgreens, some of which may not be included on either the fast-growing or slow-growing microgreen list. For more details on additional microgreens, see the comparison chart offered on the Johnny Seeds website; it has information about nearly every type of common microgreen available, and also mentions whether they are of the fast or slow-growing variety.

Also, please note that many of the timetables mentioned here are averages. The exact time in which your microgreens will be ready to harvest will depend on the environment they are in, in addition to their variety.


Most microgreens only take between eight to 25 days to grow, making them ideal for gardeners who want to reap the rewards for raising beautiful, nutritious greens in just a few weeks’ time. Because each microgreen is different, their harvest time will depend on their variety, how long it takes for them to germinate and grow, and the type of environment they are raised in.

In conclusion, this eight to 25-day timeline offers just enough time for these plants to germinate in the dark, and thrive in the sunlight, before being ready to harvest. However, if you are feeling a little impatient, especially about a crop of possibly slower-growing microgreens, remember that good things come to those who wait, no matter how long.

Happy gardening!

Microgreens Corner
Microgreens Corner
We are Janette & Jesper, and we love microgreens.

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