Microgreens vs Sprouts - What’s The Difference and Should You Care?

Posted in Education on February 21, 2021

Many people with basic knowledge on microgreens farming would assume that microgreens and sprouts are practically the same thing.

Even today many people would still assume that microgreens and sprouts are the same thing.

microgreens vs sprouts

Contrary to very popular belief microgreens, are not the same things as sprouts.

After reading this post you should understand what the difference is.

All plants start as a seed

Think of a seed as an embryo. Seeds are embryos that come with a protective shell, which is called the seed coat, and in it contains all the wonderful nutrients and vitamins that the plant inside needs to burst out of that coating.

Between the protective coating and the embryo is the endosperm, which wraps around the embryo and gives the little baby nutrition.


Unlike microgreens, sprouts are germinated seeds.

Sprouts are germinated seeds. The germ becomes a live plan.

The embryo develops its stem taking the nutrients contained in the seed.

Imagine a bean sprout: that’s the infant plant’s stem!

Very often sprouts are germinated in water. To avoid molding, you need to rinse. They grow and are ready for harvesting after 5 days on average.

Sprouts almost do not need any nutrition and they are still tasty and great for our health. And cooking them is the probably the safest way to avoid any type of outbreaks of foodborne illness. You cook it to kill all of the bacteria.

Sprouts are used in a number of dishes, mostly for their textural contrast as opposed to their visual appeal. They’re relatively mild in flavor.

Tiny little baby microgreens

Microgreens are the result of the cotyledon growth stage, which is when the first couple of leaves from a plant appear.

The “cotyledon” usually becomes the plants’ first set of leaves. They’re formed in the seed, and function in the same way as leaves do when it comes to photosynthesis—both convert light energy into chemical energy that the plant will use to grow.

The leaves and stems can generally be eaten, and the seeds are started in soil or peat moss, as opposed to in water like sprouts. The soil is what gives the plants nutrients.

They take a little longer to grow, around one to three weeks, depending on the plant. The seed, unlike sprouts, cannot be eaten as it’s in soil.


Clean Greens Micros Microgreens
An image by Clean Greens Micros

Like any other plants, microgreens also require lots of light and good air ventilation.

And they shouldn’t be confused with baby greens. Baby greens are not associated with any growing stage. It’s safe to accept that they are leafy plants harvested before maturity.

They have their first set of true leaves, but still not as big as they could be.


Microgreens bring in the most when compared to their younger selves, the sprouts and their older siblings (baby greens or full-grown vegetables).

Microgreens are more concentrated in nutritional value than their mature counterparts.

In conclusion:

Grown in soilGerminate in water
Leaves and stems are ediblethe ‘stem’ and seed of sprouts are edible
Take one to three weeks to growTake under a week to grow
Packed with flavor; used as garnishesGreat for crunch

Hopefully, this helped dispel some misconceptions and confusion regarding microgreens and sprouts.

If you want to go even deeper and find out more about the origins of microgreens and sprouts, here’s a video by the founder of Pura Verde Life

So, are you a microgreens grower or sprouts enthusiast?

Leave a comment below and let us know if you have any specific questions that you want answered in some of the next blog posts or here in the comments section.

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