Coix Species, Adlay Millet, Bead Seeds, Job's Tears

Coix lacryma-jobi

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Coix (KOH-iks) (Info)
Species: lacryma-jobi (LAK-ry-muh JOB-ee) (Info)


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Dark Green


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (yellow-green)


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Scarify seed before sowing

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Menlo Park, California

San Diego, California

Rincon, Georgia

Hilo, Hawaii

Sunman, Indiana

Marshalltown, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Madisonville, Kentucky

Lafayette, Louisiana

Opelousas, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Mathiston, Mississippi

Lincoln, Nebraska

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Chillicothe, Ohio

Dundee, Ohio

Lynchburg, Ohio

Mansfield, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Westmoreland, Tennessee

Seattle, Washington

MAYAGUEZ, Washington Dc

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 22, 2019, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

I originally wanted to grow this grass for seed production. However the plants grew to huge proportions- 8 to 9 feet tall! They never bloomed or produced seed! Instead they were an obnoxious weed taking over my planting of three tropical Salvias and two Gingers! I gave it more than it deserved and it never did anything but suck the sun, water and nutrients from more desirable plants!

I would amend the cultural requirements for this plant... It will thrive with an abundance of water... in fact it will make a great bog plant! I tried cuttings in water and they grew incredibly well with roots in a water-saturated condition!!!

If I were not interested in getting seed production... this is a lush and attractive grass... wide, corn-like leaves. It forms a central, r... read more


On Aug 23, 2015, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

I have grown Job's Tears' for over twelve years-- fifteen years (?) as an annual In my zone 7A garden in Petersburg, Virginia. I have been warned that it is invasive, but it reseeds itself in only two little plots. It grows from three to four feet tall, with a little corn like tassel. The seeds start off green, mature to black, and then to silver. Some become white. They are supposed to have a natural channel in them which facilitates beading. I've read that it originated in India, and that it grows on the edges of rice paddies in Southeast Asia. People from the Philippines and from Puerto Rico have recognized it. It is not as ornamental as some grasses, but it looks pretty in a patch.


On Nov 8, 2012, Shirrush from Ramat Gan,
Israel wrote:

A few Job's Tears beads "stuck to my fingers" when I visited Paris' Jardin des Plantes last month. I've sown four of them in two pots filled with my usual seedling mixture. Two of these seeds were lightly scarified with a nail file to aid germination. A full week has passed since then. Does anybody know how long this plant takes to emerge at around 20 Celsius? Nobody grows Coix lacryma-jobi here in Central Israel, and I really want our Community Garden to be the first!

By the way, if you happen to be in Paris, the Jardin des Plantes and the nearby Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle are a must! Seriously!


On Jul 1, 2010, AngieSollecito from Menlo Park, CA wrote:

I was given 2 seeds while on vacation in Antigua in 2007. I kept the seeds for 2 and a half years on my dresser, and decided to try and propagate them in 2009. The first seed sprouted and then died shortly after. The second seed took a month to sprout, but now it is an extremely healthy 2 feet tall with several off-shoots at the base.
I had no idea what the plant was for the longest time so I tried a google search for "grass with hard gray seeds" or something like that, and I actually got results back and was able to find out the name of my mystery grass. Apparently it is very rare in California, and nobody knows what it is here. I am glad to have this plant.


On Nov 24, 2009, ismaelm from Mayagüez,
Puerto Rico wrote:

My goodness! This plant is known in Puerto Rico as "camándulas." They used to be found near streams. I haven't seen them since the 1980s, something must have happened...Our native dwellers (the Tainos) used them as decorations such as necklaces, wrist bands and ankle bands.
The seeds are wonderful! Their color can turn from almost white (gray) to a dark purple.


On Aug 25, 2008, wind from Mount Laurel, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I started this from seed from a DG seed swap. It is growing well in a large pot on our front porch, surrounded by purple petunias along the base. It sort of reminds me of a short corn stalk; stays green all summer and is just now showing its bead seeds (Aug. 25). I plan on overwintering it indoors.


On Jun 6, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

While Job's Tears are one of my favorites to grow each
year, I find they can be tricky to get going at times.

Simply fill a pot (with drainholes) of your choice with good
quality soil, set the pot in standing water and poke the seeds
into the soil. I've grown Job's in many different ways, but find
this to be a foolproof method, provided the temperatures are
not too cool. Great pot to sink (not submerge completely) into
one's pond.

In a short time, all of the sprouts will appear and thrive well.



On May 10, 2006, kennyso from Markham, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

These are used to make rosaries and other prayer beads. Rosaries made from these are a great hit with the people at my church. Mother Theresa was extremely fond of these seeds. The late pope John Paul II and Bl. Mother Theresa are often pictured holding a rosary madefrom these.


On Oct 27, 2001, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Japanese name - Juzu Dama - means Buddhist rosary beads.


On Sep 5, 2001, Badseed from Hillsboro, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is usually grown for it's pearl or stone looking seeds. They have been used for centuries as beads for jewelry ('Good Luck' necklaces) and rosaries. The seeds when ripe can be any color from pearly gray to pure black. The mature seeds grow with a pre-made hole through the center and can be stained with common wood stains. The plant itself is often grown as an ornamental grass that somewhat resembles corn. It easily grows four or more feet tall in my zone 6 garden and does manage to leave a few seeds to self seed the following year.
In the Orient, the seeds are eaten as a cereal called "Adlay". This plant is a perennial there, as well as in zones 9 and 10, but grown elsewhere as an annual. In these warmer climates, Job's Tears can easily reach ten feet tall.
... read more