How to Grow Cilantro at Home
Cilantro is one of the most versatile herbs you can easily grow at home. Its fresh leaves and plant seeds can be used in many Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian cuisines. While the flavor of this herb can be quite polarizing, it’s still a great addition to any herb garden.
By following just a few simple tips, you can plant, care for, and grow your own cilantro plants at home. Read on to find out more!
Cilantro at a Glance
Cilantro or Coriandrum sativum is an annual herb native from Southern Europe and Northern Africa to Southwestern Asia. This is a member of the Apiaceae family of plants and is related to carrots, parsley, and celery. It is also called coriander and Chinese parsley.
This soft plant can grow up to 6 to 10 inches tall and can spread anywhere between 4 inches and 10 inches, depending on your variety.
It has variably-shaped green leaves, with those at the base being broadly lobed while those located higher up the plant are slender and feathered. It has small white or pale pink flowers and globular fruits (<— Coriander).
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These herbs are relatively quick to mature. You can start picking the flat leaves of the plant within 50 to 55 days of starting the seed. If you want to harvest the Coriander seeds, it produces after flowering. You might have to wait up to 100 days since it typically bolts to make seed heads when the days start to lengthen, and the temperatures rise in the summer.
One of the most unique things about cilantro is the flavor of the leaves and that different people may perceive the taste of its leaves differently. Some people enjoy its refreshing, lemony, or lime-like flavor, while others don’t quite agree with its pungent and soapy taste and smell.
My Mother tastes it as soap, yet I nor any of my kids or hubby taste it that way. Except I told the oldest son, and now he’s upset cause he thinks cilantro tastes like soap – the power of suggestion is incredible! lol
Cilantro is best grown when you sow seeds directly in the garden bed. This is because it can germinate in just 7 to 10 days, so it doesn’t need to be started indoors under grow lights. Plus, it develops a tap root which means it doesn’t like to be transplanted.
This herb prefers a neutral pH of 6.2 to 6.8, but it can grow in any rich, moist soil. Since it is a fast-growing plant, make sure to give it lots of organic matter to feed on.
Sow cilantro seeds 1/4-inch deep and about 1 foot apart directly in the garden soil in late spring or early summer. If you want to have a steady supply of fresh cilantro throughout its growing season, succession plant a new batch of cilantro every two weeks.
Cilantro is a cool weather herb, and it grows best in light shade or partial shade. However, if you keep it moist enough, it can handle warm weather and full sun in the early spring and the fall. But, be careful to avoid overwatering these new plants, so you don’t end up with root rot and waterlogging.
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Caring for Cilantro Plants
If you’re growing this versatile plant for its fresh Cilantro leaves, you’ll want to work towards maximizing its foliage. Pinch back young cilantro plants up to an inch or longer to encourage bushier new growth. As soon as the top part of the main stem starts to develop plants flower buds or seed pods, cut them off to redirect the plant’s energy into leaf growth.
Alternatively, you can gather the seed pods to harvest the Coriander seeds they produce. As we discussed earlier, cilantro starts to bolt once hot weather hits. Once it begins to set seeds, the coriander plant will quickly degrade, and it will self-sow.
Harvesting and Using Cilantro
The great thing about cilantro is you get two kinds of ingredients from just one plant. You can start harvesting the new plant’s leaves once the new cilantro plants are about 6 inches tall.
Simply pinch off portions of the upper stem and use it fresh in your recipes. If you want to store the large leaves, it’s best to freeze them since they lose all their flavor once they dry out. You can store them safely in a freezer bag.
The seeds of the whole plant – Coriander, on the other hand, can be harvested if you allow the cilantro plant to flower. Once the plant flowers or the flower heads have dried, you’ll be left with seedpods. Simply pull them off the plant and set them out to dry for 5 to 7 days before storing them in an airtight container.
Check out how to dry and save harvested fresh herbs using an ice cube tray.
Q: Can you grow cilantro and basil together?
Answer: Cilantro thrives during the cool season since it’s a cool weather crop making it the perfect companion to basil.
Q: How to grow cilantro in a pot?
Answer: First, your pot should be at least 18 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep. Be sure to have good drainage, so you don’t have root rot and waterlogging. For planting, cilantro is best grown when you plant cilantro seeds directly in a pot. It grows best in light shade or partial shade, so be sure not to put your pot in direct sun. It can germinate in just 7 to 10 days, so it doesn’t need to be started indoors under grow lights.
Q: Can you grow cilantro with tomatoes?
Answer: Yes, cilantro is a great companion plant to tomatoes.
Q: Can you grow cilantro and parsley together?
Answer: Yes, they make great companion plants since they have similar needs.
Q: How long does it take to grow cilantro?
Answer: Cilantro can be harvested in 3 to 4 weeks or 45 days.
Q: Can you grow cilantro indoors?
Answer: Yes, learning how to grow cilantro at home, whether that’s in your backyard or indoors, is very similar.
Q: Can you grow cilantro from cuttings?
Answer: Yes, if you don’t have seeds, it is possible to grow cilantro from cuttings.
Q: When is the best time to grow cilantro?
Answer: The best time to grow cilantro is in the spring or fall. But if you’re growing them indoors, any time is good.
Q: Can you grow cilantro from coriander seeds?
Answer: Yes, because coriander and cilantro are the same thing.
Q: Is it easy to grow cilantro?
Q: When to grow cilantro in Texas?
Answer: February or September.
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