How to Plant & Grow Rice


Rice is best suited for outdoor cultivation in warmer climates. Rice in the U.S. grows best in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6 and warmer. Rice does best in areas that get a lot of rain. If you live in a drier area, keep your fields flooded so the plants will not dry out. Rice needs to be started indoors as a seedling before transplanting outdoors. Once you have the seedlings, planting and growing rice is not difficult.

Step 1

Cover rice seeds with compost in a 4-inch pot. Keep the seeds moist until they germinate. Germination can take between two and six weeks. Keep the pots above 68 degrees F.

Step 2

Transplant the seeds into a 6-inch pot filled about halfway with compost, once the seedlings are several inches tall.

Step 3

Plant the rice outdoors once the seedlings are between 1 and 2 feet tall. Plant the rice under several inches of water. Space the plants by 12 to 18 inches. Make sure the root ball of the seedlings is completely buried in the soil under the water.

Step 4

Harvest your rice about 30 days after the rice plants have flowered by cutting it with a knife or sickle. How long this takes will depend on the type of rice, and your climate.

Step 5

Thresh, or separate, the rice, by striking the dried plants against a hard surface, like stone or concrete.

Step 6

Place the threshed rice in a large, flat basket. Winnow the rice by tossing it in the air in a breeze. The chaff will blow away, and the grains will fall back into the basket.

Step 7

Dry the rice grains in the sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Rice seeds
  • 4-inch pots
  • 6-inch pots
  • Compost
  • Floodable field or garden patch
  • Knife or sickle
  • Large flat basket


  • Plant Cultures: Rice - grow it
  • The Nibble: Rice - History & Types of Rice
  • Ricecomp: Rice in the U.S.
  • GrowIt: Missouri USDA Hardiness Map
Keywords: rice cultivation, growing rice, rice agriculture

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.