How to Grow Coriander/Cilantro

Grow Coriander/Cilantro
Grow Coriander/Cilantro

How to Grow Coriander/Cilantro. You can grow this Mediterranean native for its leaves, which are known as cilantro, or for its dried seeds, called coriander. It's an annual herb that will grow in USDA zone 3 and warmer, but it thrives in damp, cool springs and hot, dry summers.

Things You'll Need

  • Bypass Pruners
  • Compost Makers
  • Fertilizers
  • Garden Spades
  • Garden Trowels
  • Mulch
  • Planting Containers
  • Potting Soil
  • Seeds

Choose a site that gets full sun. Like most herbs, coriander isn't fussy about pH, but it needs soil that's well-drained and amended with plenty of compost.

Plant coriander where you want it to grow; it quickly develops a deep taproot that doesn't respond well to transplanting.

Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep after all danger of frost has passed. When plants emerge, thin them to 4 inches apart and mulch to conserve moisture and deter weeds. Keep a close eye on young plants to make sure they don't dry out, but once established, coriander (Mediterranean native that it is) needs little water.

Ensure a steady supply of leaves by sowing succession crops every three weeks until late summer.

Harvest entire plants when they're about 6 inches high if you want only the leaves.

Wait until the seeds start to ripen, in late summer or early autumn, if they're your prime target. Cut plants off at the base and hang them upside down in paper bags to finish drying.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, finds its way into myriad Asian and Mexican recipes; coriander has long been a favorite on British and European spice racks.
  • Like most herbs, coriander performs well in containers, but choose pots that are at least 12 inches deep to accommodate the plant's taproot. Use potting soil enriched with compost and water regularly.
  • In containers, as in the ground, direct seeding is best. If you must have the instant impact of started plants from the nursery, be sure they're growing in peat pots that can go into the soil, leaving the roots undisturbed.

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