Botanical name: Coriandrum sativum
Plant type: Herb
Soil type: Loamy
Bloom time: Spring
Coriander/cilantro is a fast-growing, aromatic annual used to flavor many recipes. This plant is easy to grow, and the entire plant is edible. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander.
- Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 1 to 2 inches apart. Sow the seeds at intervals starting after the last spring frost date; the best time to plant is between March and May.
- Plant the seeds on raised beds. Be sure to space the rows about 12 inches apart.
- You can grow the plants in partial shade, but the seeds do well in full sun.
- It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly.
- Be sure to avoid planting the seeds during the hot summer because this will make the plants bolt. The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavor.
- It is important to water the seedlings regularly throughout the growing season. They require about 1 inch of water per week for best growth.
- Space the seedlings about 6 inches apart so that they have room to develop healthy leaves.
- Once the plants are established, they do not need as much water per week. Keep them moist, but be careful not to overwater them.
- Fertilize once or twice during the growing season with nitrogen fertilizer. Apply 1/4 cup of fertilizer per 25 feet of row. Be sure not to over-fertilizer the plants.
- To help prevent weeds, mulch around the plants as soon as they are visible above the soil. You can also till shallowly to help prevent root damage from weeds.
- Fungal wilt
- Leaf hoppers
- The large leaves can be cut individually from the plants. For the smaller leaves, cut them off 1-1/2 to 2 inches above the crown.
- You can also remove the entire plant at once; however, this means that you will not be able to continue harvesting for the rest of the growing season.
- To store coriander seeds, cut off the seed heads when the plant begins to turn brown and put them in a paper bag. Hang the bag until the plant dries and the seeds fall off. You can then store the seeds in sealed containers.
- To store cilantro leaves, you can either freeze or dry them. To freeze, put the leaves in a resealable freezer bag and store them in your freezer. To dry them, hang the plant in a warm place until fully dried, then store the leaves in a resealable bag or container.
- Slow-bolting varieties, such as 'Costa Rica', 'Leisure', and 'Long Standing' are the best choices for harvesting the leaves.