Job's Tears Seeds- Cherokee Corn Beads


Coix lacryma-jobi

Also known as corn beads, coix seed or tear grass, Job's Tears are a member of the grass family, and grow similarly to corn. Used for beads since at least 2,000 BCE, and recently uncovered at a western Native American historical site. Once an important source of food, most likely originating in India. Today we grow them primarily for their very hard, teardrop shaped grains that are used as beads for making jewelry and other craft projects. Job's Tears are also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are known as yi yi ren.

This particular strain comes from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Western North Carolina, and is favored by Cherokee craftspeople for its particularly large, round seeds. Our grower for these seeds notes that they germinate significantly faster if soaked overnight in warm water before planting.

Sprouting Tips: 

Soak seed beads overnight in warm water.
Lightly cover with potting soil. 
Keep soil moist.
For improved germination rate, cover seeds to ensure soil remains moist.

SMALL FARM GROWN by Butterfly Cove Botanicals, Bryson City, NC

  • Planting Information
  • How to Grow
  • Seed Saving


Seeds per Packet
Packet weight
Seeds / gram 
Seeds / oz
Planting SeasonIdeal Soil TempSunFrost Tolerance
Spring FullSensitive
Sowing MethodSeed DepthDirect Seed SpacingDays to Harvest
Direct/ Transplant½-1”6”110
Mature SpacingDays to SproutProduction CycleSeed Viability
6-12”2-3 WeeksAnnual 

Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)

Hearty plants are easy to grow, requiring full sun, and moderate water and fertilizer to produce a good crop of beads.The grains make perfect beads, because they grow with a ready-made hole down the center that just takes a gentle poke with a needle to make it ready to string.This is a unique opportunity to grow your own art supplies!

Bed Preparation

Job’s Tears is grown as a frost sensitive annual in temperate regions. Job’s Tears prefers full sun and tolerates a wide variety of soils. Provide moderate soil moisture and fertilizer for optimal growth.


Job’s Tears can be direct seeded outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. Seeds can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Soaking seeds overnight may improve germination rates.


Harvest “beads” (seeds) in approximately 110 days after planting.


Allow to dry on the plant as much as possible, harvesting the darkest beads as they begin to mature. In general, the darkest beads are the most viable. Lay out to dry for another two weeks before storing.