How to Plant Jojoba Seeds

Oil extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant (Simmodsia chinensis) has a long history in North America as a medicinal and cosmetic agent. Its scientific name is actually the result of an error during its classification; "chinensis" places the plant's origins in China even though it is an American native.

Jojoba resembles a tree or evergreen shrub rather than a garden plant. It grows over 12 feet tall and can live for decades. Plants grown from seeds tend to produce less extractable oil compared to engineered commercial breeds sold as seedlings.

Step 1

Till or plow a patch of soil large enough to hold your crop of jojoba. If you are only planting a few seeds, simply till a circle with a 2-foot diameter for each one. Dig these areas at least 6 feet away from each other. Jojoba matures into a small tree and needs more space than most crops. For a larger amount of seeds, till a field into rows spaced 4 yards apart.

Step 2

Check the temperature of the soil weekly during spring. You can safely plant your jojoba seeds once the temperature is stable above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare to plant your jojoba seeds by moistening the soil with water until it is damp.

Step 3

Plant the jojoba seeds in the tilled patches of soil. If you are planting in rows, place each seed about 6 feet apart along the row. Press the seeds 1 to 1.5 inches into the ground. Cover it with loose dirt and pat it down gently.

Step 4

Water the soil consistently, but don't saturate it. Don't overwater; it can damage the jojoba seedlings or delay seed germination. The seeds need a moist environment, but cannot tolerate an overly wet one. Remove weeds as they appear in your tilled soil.

Step 5

Apply fertilizer to the plants. The Alternative Field Crops Manual, available through the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, recommends applying lime to boost the soil's pH level to 6 or more.

Step 6

Water the plants as they emerge, which is usually within three weeks of planting. Continue to remove weeds and tend to the trees as they mature into adults. Various pesticides and weed inhibiting chemicals are available for larger jojoba crops.

References & Resources

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