How To Grow Cilantro

To grow Cilantro, you will need full sun or light shade in southern zones since it bolts quickly in hot weather. It grows best in a well-drained, moist soil. Cilantro plants should be spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart. To harvest fresh cilantro all season, make successive sowings every 2 to 3 weeks starting in late spring.

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, containers (sow direct in final growing pots, do not transplant as root disturbance causes early bolting), and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Cilantro / Coriander usually grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches (45-60cm).

Preferred pH Range

Cilantro / Coriander will grow in a relatively wide pH range between 6.1 (mildly acidic) and 7.8 (mildly alkaline), with an ideal range between 6.5 and 7.5.

Companion Plants for Cilantro

Basil, mint, yarrow and tansy are good choices for companion planting with cilantro. This cool season herb, sometimes called Mexican parsley, may experience warm season growth when planted under and shaded by tomatoes. Include jalapeno peppers and onion nearby to complete your salsa garden

Should I Plant Cilantro Seeds or Plants?

Cilantro is best grown by directly sowing seed in the garden for two reasons. It grows so quickly it needs no head start indoors, and since cilantro develops a taproot, it doesn’t like being transplanted.

However, if you can’t wait to harvest some fresh cilantro leaves in late spring, about 2 weeks before the average last frost date start cilantro indoors in peat pots that can be directly transplanted into the garden. Seeds germinate in about 7 to 10 days.

How Do I Cultivate Cilantro Plants & Seeds?

Prepare soil by adding some compost or other organic matter to the planting area and working it into the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches. Rake the area smooth. Sow cilantro seeds 1/4-inch deep directly in the garden in late spring or early summer. Sow seeds or thin to 6 to 8 inches apart in rows spaced about 1 foot apart. Provide plenty of moisture and feed cilantro plants with a water-soluble fertilizer when they reach about 2 inches in height.

Since cilantro grows so quickly, it can also be sown again in the fall in warmer zones. For a steady supply of fresh leaves all summer, make successive sowings of cilantro seed every 2 to 3 weeks beginning in the spring.

What Are Some Tips For Growing Cilantro?

When growing cilantro, the aim is to maximize foliage. Pinch back young cilantro plants an inch or so to encourage fuller, bushier plants. Snip off the top part of the main stem as soon as it appears to be developing flower buds or seedpods. Cutting off the flower heads redirects the cilantro plants’ energy back into leaf, and not flower or seed production.

Watch the plants carefully as the weather gets hotter. Cilantro has a short life cycle and bolts quickly (develops seed) in hot weather. Once cilantro sets seeds, the plant quickly starts to degrade.

If seeds are allowed to develop, you’ll notice how easily cilantro self-sows when you see delicate, lacy-leaf seedlings growing up around mature plants.

Tips For Harvesting Cilantro

The leaves can be cut at any time. Use the upper, new, finely cut leaves in cooking, but not the mature, lower ferny-type leaves. Cilantro is not normally saved and dried like other culinary herbs since, as stated, it loses almost its entire flavor when dried. If you’re growing the plant for seed, don’t bother fertilizing since that may delay flowering and thus seed production.

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