Coix: Job’s tears

Height 45-60cm (18-24in)

Planting distance 15-23cm (6-9in)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Fertile well-drained garden soil

Sunny site

Half-hardy annual grass

Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), an ornamental grass, is grown for its attractive pearly grey bead-shaped seeds which form in mid summer and last until early autumn. These are borne in small dangling clusters on graceful arching stems which reach up to 45-60cm (18-24in) high and are set with pale green broad leaves. The seeds are unsuitable for drying.


Sow the seeds in late winter or early spring in trays of seed compost at a temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F). Transplant the seedlings to their flowering site in late spring to early summer, when danger of severe frosts has passed.

The seeds can also be sown outdoors in mid spring.

Grow Job’s tears in well-drained soil enriched with humus. The site should be sunny – ideally south-facing.

Pests and diseases

Mildew may attack the plants.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
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