Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cicer arietinum - Chickpeas

Chickpeas, Gram, Bengal Gram, Garbanzo, Garbanzo Bean, Egyptian Pea

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in the world. A key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, they are commonly used to produce the famous dish hummus. Chickpeas are highly nutritious and an excellent energy source.

What are Chickpeas?

  • Chickpeas belong to the plant family, Fabaceae, also known as the legume, pea, or bean family, which includes lentils, peas, and peanuts.
  • They are native to south-eastern Turkey and have been cultivated for over 7,500 years. Next to Soybeans, they are the second most popular grown legume crop in the world today.
  • This annual legume has small, feathery green leaves arranged alternately on the stems. Profuse white, pink, purple, or blue sweetpea-like flowers appear in spring and summer.
  • They produce fat green seedpods containing two or three cream, brown, green, or black seeds, called pulses, with high nutritional value.
  • Chickpea plants can range in height from 8 in. (20 cm) up to 40 in. (100 cm) and, as annual plants, grow over only one growing season.
  • Fresh chickpeas are available from late spring through the summer months, depending on geographic location.
  • There are two main types of Chickpeas: small-seeded, known as Desi (grown mainly in Southeast Asia and the Middle East), and the more globally grown, the larger-seeded, known as Kabuli.
  • Chickpeas fix nitrogen and add nutrients that improve the soil, benefitting the plants that are growing beside them. They are great for heavy nitrogen users.
  • Chickpea is a key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, used in hummus and falafel when ground into flour.

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

  • While Chickpeas make a flavorful addition to various dishes, they also provide health benefits.
  • They are an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, folate, iron, phosphorus, and fatty acids.
  • They have a low glycemic index and contain resistant starch that digests slowly. These can improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Chickpeas are a rich source of carbohydrates that take longer to digest than simple ones. People feel fuller for longer, which can help them maintain healthy weight levels.
  • They are rich in protein and are considered a substantial meat substitute. These proteins benefit the immune system and help maintain healthy bones, hairs, organs, and muscles.
  • Folate: one cup contains 70% of your daily needs. This B vitamin helps reduce the risk of certain birth defects and is also important for reducing depression.
  • Selenium and beta carotene in chickpeas act as antioxidants, which help fight harmful free radicals.
  • Fiber: one cup contains 48% of your daily needs. Fiber helps lower harmful cholesterol levels and improves your heart health. Fiber also helps regulate the digestive tract and keep your digestive system healthy.
  • Potassium: one cup contains 14% of your daily needs. Potassium plays a role in kidney health, bone and muscle maintenance, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.
  • Iron: one cup contains 26% of your daily needs. Iron can help prevent anemia.
  • The iron, calcium, and other nutrients in Chickpeas can contribute to healthy bone strength and structure and help prevent osteoporosis.
  • A cup of chickpeas contains 70.2 mg of choline, which helps with brain and nervous system function (mood, muscle control, learning, and memory).
  • Nutrition Facts (per 100 grams): 164 calories, 27.4 grams carbs, 9.1 grams protein, 2.6 grams fat, 7.3 grams fiber.

Cooking with Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas are a type of legume that can be eaten fresh and dried. They are, however, mostly consumed cooked.
  • They have a starchy, buttery texture with a mild bean flavor that is sweet and nutty.
  • Fresh Chickpeas can be boiled, roasted, stir-fried, deep-fried, steamed, and grilled.
  • Dried Chickpeas are often soaked overnight, boiled, and then used in various savory dishes.
  • They can be fried, used to make falafel, or pureed into hummus.
  • They can be added to salads, soups, stews, and curries.
  • Their texture and nutritional properties make them a popular plant-based protein in areas where meat is scarce or vegetarianism is important.
  • They are an excellent substitute for kidney beans or cannellini beans.

How to Grow Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas grow up to 8-40 in. tall (20-100 cm), depending on the variety.
  • They perform best in fertile, sandy, loam, acidic to neutral (pH ranging from 5.3 to 7.0), moist, well-drained soils in full sun (at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day).
  • If your soil lacks nutrients, add well-rotted organic matter or compost before planting.
  • Because of their deep tap root system, they can endure drought conditions by extracting water from deeper in the soil.
  • However, make sure the soil is evenly moist but not soggy. The plant requires consistent and even moisture once it has formed flowers.
  • Chickpeas are a cool season annual crop and grow best between 70-80°F (21-26°C) during the days and between 64-70°F (17-21°C) at night.
  • Sow seeds outdoors after the last spring frost date when the soil has warmed to at least 41°F (5°C).
  • If you want to get a head start, you can start Chickpeas indoors two to four weeks before your average last frost date. However, note that their roots are fragile and may not survive transplanting.
  • Sow seed 1-4 inches deep (2-10 cm) and 4 inches apart (10 cm) in rows 10-24 inches apart (25-60 cm). Seedlings usually emerge 7-15 days after sowing, depending on the temperature.
  • Mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
  • Chickpeas are leguminous and fix their own nitrogen with the aid of micro-organisms. Feed regularly with a high potassium and phosphorus fertilizer throughout the growing season unless your soil is rich and fertile.
  • Suppression of weeds is important as Chickpeas do not compete well.
  • Rotate crops: Prevent problems by not planting Chickpeas in the same location where you grew other legumes the year before.
  • Compost plants after harvest. Cut them at the root. The nutrient-rich roots can be tilled back into the soil.
  • Chickpeas are susceptible to a few pests. Keep an eye out for aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leaf hoppers, and mites.
  • They are susceptible to diseases such as anthracnose, blight, and mosaic virus.

Harvesting and Storing

  • Chickpeas take 100-120 days to harvest after sowing.
  • In the home garden, Chickpeas can be collected and eaten when green.
  • For dried seeds, the leaves should be allowed to turn brown before collecting the pods. The pods should be allowed to dry and split open before collecting seeds.
  • To store, keep fresh Chickpeas refrigerated and use within 3-4 days.
  • Shell your dried Chickpeas and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to one year.

Buy Cicer arietinum - Chickpeas


Hardiness 3 – 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Annuals
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Height 8" – 4' (20cm – 120cm)
Spread 8" – 2' (20cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Hardiness 3 – 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Annuals
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Height 8" – 4' (20cm – 120cm)
Spread 8" – 2' (20cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained

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