Growing Wheatgrass for Nowruz: Persian New Year

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Habitot has a tradition of celebrating Nowruz (Persian New Year, also spelled Norooz or Norouz) – a holiday that’s been celebrated since at least 6 BCE! Falling on the first day of spring, many of its traditions and symbols center around growth, rejuvenation, and new life. For years, Habitot families were invited to learn about Nowruz by planting and displaying sabzeh (lentil or wheatgrass sprouts) in the museum. This week, we’re sharing how to grow wheatgrass in your own home! 

What We’re Learning & Skills We’re Building

  • Plant biology – learning about seeds and watching them sprout into plants
  • Fine motor skills – developing small muscles in the hands for holding utensils
  • Cause and effect – understanding that water and light cause seeds to sprout and plants to grow 
  • Appreciation of cultural traditions – learning about the different ways people celebrate spring 


  • Whole wheat berries (can be found in bulk sections of natural food stores) 
  • Large bowl for soaking wheat berries
  • Trowel or measuring cup for scooping wheat berries and soil
  • Mesh strainer 
  • Tray, dish, or planter pot(s) (3″or deeper) 
  • Potting soil 
  • Spray bottle 
  • Newspaper, paper towel, or dish towel  
  • Child-safe scissors for harvesting

Prepping the Wheat Berries

  1. Thoroughly clean the bowl and fill it with cool water. Use a trowel or a measuring cup to scoop up 1-2 cups of wheat berries and add them to the water. Wheat berries will expand by at least a half-cup after soaking in water.
  2. Soak the wheat berries in the water for at least 12 hours (a full 24-48 hours of soaking is best). Ask your child, “What soaks wheat berries outside in nature?” (Answer: rain.) Soaking the wheat berries will help them sprout!
  3. After 12-48 hours, drain the water using a mesh strainer. Look closely at the wet wheat berries. Ask, “Are they sprouting?” (Freshly sprouted seeds will have tiny white “tails” emerging from one end.)

Planting & Growing Wheatgrass

(Note: Sabzeh is often grown in a decorative dish without soil. Steps 1 & 2 below are optional.) 

  1. After draining the seeds, use a trowel to fill a tray, a dish, or planter pot(s) with about 2″ of soil.
  2. Spray the soil with water so that it’s moist but not soaking.
  3. Sprinkle an even layer of wet wheat berries onto the tray or dish, or into the planter pot(s) (if you’re using soil, sprinkle a light layer over the tops of the seeds).
  4. Cover the wheat berries with newspaper, a large paper towel, or a dish towel (wheatgrass sprouts best in dark, moist environments). Lightly mist the cover with water.
  5. Place the container in indirect sunlight either indoors or outdoors (keep them indoors if it’s cold or consistently raining outside).


6. The next day, uncover the container and mist the seeds, then cover them again. If you can, check the moisture level of the soil and seeds a few times each day. Give them a light misting if they become dry to the touch.

7. Repeat this step every day until green sprouts start to emerge (about 3-4 days). Your wheatgrass is growing! Once the green sprouts have fully emerged (about 6-7 days), stop covering them.

8. Watch as beautiful green blades of wheatgrass keep growing in height every day!


Talk with your child about the changing seeds and wheatgrass (color, height, roots, etc). Use a ruler to measure the height of the wheatgrass every day. If you’re using a clear dish, you might be able to see long white roots growing down through the soil!



  • Once the wheatgrass is about 8″ tall (usually around day 8-9 of growing), it’s ready to harvest. Using child-safe scissors, show your child how to cut the grass about a half-inch above the surface of the soil. 
  • You can both try chewing on the wheatgrass, or you can blend it into a juice! 
  • A second round of wheatgrass will regrow in about a week with daily misting.

More About Nowruz 

Nowruz is celebrated around the world by millions of families! There are many different traditions and activities, but one common tradition is setting up a haftseen – a table where seven symbolic items are displayed. The placement of sabzeh on the haftseen can symbolize new life and the renewal of nature. Check out this video to learn more about Nowruz haftseen tables!  

Colorful, decorated eggs are often a part of haftseen tables. In our Art Studio, families would dye eggs during Habitot’s Nowruz celebrations. Here’s a really cool set of instructions for how to decorate eggs using natural dyes and materials.