How to Grow Rice

Learn how to cultivate a worldwide staple and ornamental plant with these easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

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Rows of Rice Plants

Rice is a cash crop that feeds millions of people around the world, but you can also grow it ornamentally.

Ornamental rice can be found at specialty garden centers and mail-order nurseries. Check the tag or ask a garden center representative to see if the variety is invasive. If it is, plant it in a lined pond only.

If your pond's not lined, mesh containers should help to keep plants in check. These containers allow fresh water in and out but will keep the roots at bay. Use soil-less media designed for ponds since it won't color, cloud, float away or change the pH of the water.

Growing rice from seed isn't as hard as you may think:

  • Soak the seeds in water for about 36 hours and allow to dry for another 24 hours.
  • Fill a bucket with 6 inches of a mixture of soil and compost.
  • Add about 5 inches of water to cover the soil.
  • Evenly spread the seeds in the bucket and place in a warm, sunny area.
  • Periodically add more water to maintain a constant 5-inch depth as the plants grow.


Depending on the type of rice and your climate, it can take up to 160 days before you can harvest any grain. But don't expect a harvest big enough for a good meal. If you want rice by the pound, that's better left to the professionals.

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