How to Grow Cilantro

By: Dan Hagan - Managing Editor
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Cilantro is an herb that is not only incredibly popular in many home gardens, it is also relatively easy to grow.  The savory, deep green leaves are very commonly used in Asian and Latin cuisine, the seeds produced by Cilantro plants are known as Coriander and they are very popular in Indian dishes.

Soil Requirements

Cilantro, as with most herbs, requires a well drained soil.  If the soil is allowed to become soggy root rot will occur, fungus and other growth inhibitors will be the result.

The Soil for Cilantro should have a balanced level of NPK with a slight bias to nitrogen.  The nitrogen bias will allow the Cilantro to grow quickly and have lush green leaves.

Location Selection

Cilantro prefers an area with full sun or partial shade in warmer areas.  If growing Cilantro in a very warm climate it may be best to keep the herb in a container to allow the plant to be moved into partial shade during warmer days.

Sowing Cilantro Seeds

Cilantro seeds can be sown directly into the soil.  They should be sown 1/4″ deep, 2-3″ apart and should be kept rather moist until germination.   Once the seedlings reach about 3″ tall, it is time to thin them to about 6″ apart.

Cilantro is also known for self seeding.  If the plant is allowed to bolt to seed, it will often drop many small seeds to the soil and new plants will germinate in the old plants place.

Care

Once established cilantro is a rather undemanding and fast growing herb.

  • After thinning the seedlings a light fertilization of water soluble nitrogen bias fertilizer
  • Do not over water Cilantro, soil should only be slightly moist
  • Cilantro matures rapidly
  • Frequent harvest help prevent bolting
  • Harvest 1/3 of the plant at a time
  • Harvest the newest portions of the plant, they have the best flavor
  • After every 4th or 5th harvest fertilize with a water soluble nitrogen bias fertilizer
  • Aphids like Cilantro.  If the a plant is struggling look for signs of aphids and control them

Tips and Tricks

  • Cilantro does not like heat.  In warmer climates it is a great fall/winter crop
  • Sow new seeds every 2-3 weeks to ensure a consistent supply of fresh herbs
  • If the plant has bolted to seed save the seeds and use in dishes that call for coriander

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