Coriander and Cilantro

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Botanical name: Coriandrum sativum

Plant type: Herb

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Bloom time: Spring

Coriander/cilantro is a fast-growing, aromatic herb that grows in the cooler weather of spring and fall.

This herb is used to flavor many recipes and the entire plant is edible.

The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander.

Planting

  • Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. In the Southwest, a fall planting may last through spring when the weather heats up again.
  • Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (so it is past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavor.
  • it is best to chose a sunny site that will allow cilantro to self-seed as it is ought to do. Plant in an herb garden or the corner of a vegetable garden. When the weather gets warm, the plant will quickly finish its life cycle and send up a long stalk which will produce blossoms and later seeds. Little plants will sprout during the season and the next spring. 
  • Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 1 to 2 inches apart. Sow the seeds at 3-week intervals for continued harvest.
  • Space rows about 12 inches apart.
  • It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly.

Care

  • Water the seedlings regularly throughout the growing season. They require about 1 inch of water per week for best growth.
  • Thin seedlings to 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.

Pests

  • Fungal wilt
  • Leaf hoppers
  • Aphids
  • Mildew

To control for insects, use insecticidal soap once they are spotted under leaves.

Clean up debris and spent plants to avoid wilt and mildew.
 
A common problem with cilantro is its fast growing cycle. As mentioned above, it will not grow properly in the heat of summer. Grow so that you harvest in spring, fall, or winter (in mild climates). 
 

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest while it is low. When the cilantro grows its stalk, cut off the plant after the seeds drop and let it self-seed.
  • 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.

Recommended Varieties

  • Slow-bolting varieties, such as 'Costa Rica', 'Leisure', and 'Long Standing' are the best choices for harvesting the leaves.

Recipes

Comments

What if I harvested my

By D L B on July 24

What if I harvested my coriander before it had turned brown...my seeds are still green. Can I still dry them for use as next years cilantro seed or for using as coriander?

To save coriander seeds, we

By Almanac Staff on July 25

To save coriander seeds, we normally leave on the plant until they're baked hard and dry.  You can try it, but we'd probably just enjoy the citrusy taste of the green seeds now and consider letting some of your coriander go to seed next time.

Green cilantro seeds are also

By Lulu Katz on July 15

Green cilantro seeds are also very tasty fresh in salads or roasted with veggies.

Is it temperamental due to

By Amanda In SoFLa on July 12

Is it temperamental due to direct sunlight or the temp in general? Does keeping it in shaded area outside help in high heat? Or is this best for Indoor growth only in south florida? Even our "winter" is in the 80s. Is humidity a factor also? Newbie here and looking to gather as much info for my climate and what can grow when. TY

Cilantro will bolt (go to

By Almanac Staff on July 14

Cilantro will bolt (go to seed) based on temperature and longer day length. Shading the plant in high heat will certainly help the plant cope in general, and might possibly delay bolting for a little bit; you can also keep cutting the flower stalk as it forms to delay it. The plants do not like humidity, and some might become stressed enough to bolt; humidity can also encourage certain diseases. In Florida, cilantro is usually grown in fall and winter, to avoid the higher temperatures. If a plant bolts, though, you can eventually harvest the seeds as coriander.

What does it mean when it

By Kimi on July 2

What does it mean when it says you can get 3 life cycles out of a plant? Also what considered too hot for cilantro? I live in northwest Oregon and our weather varies a lot.

The discussion of cilantro

By Stan Kosek

The discussion of cilantro really helped me.

My Cilantro plants have

By Mongo

My Cilantro plants have bolted and I have green seed pods. How far down do I cut the plant and will it keep regrowing after I cut it down?

Thanks

You might want to wait until

By Almanac Staff

You might want to wait until the seed pods just start to turn brown before harvesting--but don't wait too long, or they will open and scatter the seeds. Some people just cut off the entire plant at the base, put the top part with the pods in a paper bag, and then hang upside down until the seeds dry and fall into the bag. Others find it easier to just cut the stalks a few inches below the seedheads, bag them, and hang the bunch upside down that way. The plant is an annual, so after it goes to seed it will not grow back. Once the plant goes to seed, the leaves become bitter and not as tasty as cilantro.

I'm harvesting my first

By Kathleen Boyd

I'm harvesting my first coriander love it! Unfortunately it is going to be short-lived now that I realize it has bolted. I live in Kansas and expect the cooler spring we've had to transition to hot. Can I still try to grow more coriander from the seeds or try more plants or wait until fall?

Wait to sow the seeds in late

By Almanac Staff

Wait to sow the seeds in late summer for a fall crop. You can also harvest the seeds as coriander spice; wait until most of the seedpods (which look like tiny round seeds) have turned brown, then cut the seedheads and a bit of stalk, place in a brown paper bag, and hang upside down for a few weeks. The dry seedpods will split, and mature seeds will fall into the bag; store the seeds in an airtight jar in a cool, dry location until you need them.

I use the larger leaves to

By Monica Hayes

I use the larger leaves to chop up for salsa making. . . I like it. Remember all cilantro can be eaten... if it suites your taste, then size is not a problem.

Can you cook with the small

By Linda Hardy

Can you cook with the small green cilantro leaves that grow when it bolts? They seem to taste the same.

The bolted leaves of cilantro

By Almanac Staff

The bolted leaves of cilantro can be bitter, but if the taste is pleasing to you, there is no reason not to use them.

how big can it get height

By yo

how big can it get height width?

i just pulled all the round

By judi peiper

i just pulled all the round green seeds off the 'sticks' that remain here in New England, Cape Cod, after our first cold snaps. Can i use these green seeds to
a/ start new plants?
b/ seasoning?
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

Fresh green coriander seeds

By Almanac Staff

Fresh green coriander seeds are delicious in cooking. You can keep the fresh seeds in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or you can freeze them. For planting the seeds need to mature (turn brown) on the plant before you harvest them.

This was like a class for

By Marvetta Rutherford

This was like a class for dummies like me who love cilantro and it's afterlife...lol please send all your links. Thanx and God Bless

So...now that I better

By Iowa Salsa Gardener

So...now that I better understand the life cycle of coriander/cilantro, i still have one question. It's now mid-late august and I have a plethora of dried coriander pods on the plant. All the web-sites talk of putting them in paper bags. I don't have the time for that. If I want more cilantro, I need to plant them ASAP. Will they germinate?

You can plant the seeds if

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the seeds if they are completely dry. An easy way to tell is to squeeze the pods. If they split open and the seeds fall out you can plant them. If the pods don't open readily put them in a paper bag and check them in a couple of days.

I removed some of the dry,

By Lanie

I removed some of the dry, tan-colored seeds from my cilantro that had bolted. Do I need to do anything else to these seeds before I use them? I plan to put them in my spice grinder after I remove the harvest debris and small drt twig pieces.

To use coriander seeds for

By Almanac Staff

To use coriander seeds for spice: Collect the seeds and put in a brown paper bag and let them dry (for a few weeks). Once dry, measure out the amount of seeds needed, warm up a dry teflon frypan, toss in the seed, and shake the seeds about for a minute or two. Then, toss the seeds into a spice grinder (or use another time of grinder or mortar and pestle). Then, grind the seeds into corinander powder and enjoy the spice! 

I live in Arizona, up in the

By Jimbolee11

I live in Arizona, up in the mountains. Grew some Cilantro from seed in a pot. I put 25% deodorized manure, 25% reg soil, & 50% organic gardening soil. The pot was a simple 12x12 pot I planted the seeds about 2 inches a part, 1 in the center & 4 others surrounding it. They grew quickly & we started getting great aromatic leaves that we could harvest rather quickly. Not very many, but i figured i was doing it right .But within a week or so the plant just got real tall very firm & kept growing leaves but very small ones & not wide but just tall & thin.. Now its like just stalled with little white flowers & it's not getting any taller. How can I just plant cilantro seeds, watch the plant grow clip off what I want to eat, & keep harvesting the same plant throughout the year? why does my plant keep flowering, why does it just seed it self why is this such a task? Please help me? What does bolt mean? What does sow mean? Why can't I grow a plant that can allow a harvest that I can bushel like the ones you see at the supermarket?

Hi! I hope to give you some

By jakt

Hi! I hope to give you some basic answers to your beginner questions like I have. I was impressed with how detailed you were with how you planted and don't want you to give up on gardening your own herbs. The best feeling for me is when I can season my food with fresh cut herbs and I, too, was disappointed with how quickly my cilantro "bolted."

Bolted is what you described your plants doing, it's when one shoot grows up usually the center of the plant and forms a flower head that, in this case, become the coriander spice/seeds for new cilantro plants. As the other person said (and I didn't know this, so I learned something new today!), cilantro grows better in lower temps and will bolt when it gets hot. Living in FL, I thought I had a few more weeks, but mine bolted starting in early April.

I continued to use the thinner leaves, not finding them bitter, but not as satisfying as the big flat leaves. I also learned that you can harvest the seeds while green, they are citrus-y and were delicious added to salads, marinades, etc. So you can keep harvesting from plants that bolt. You can even let some of the coriander seeds dry on the stalk, then harvest them. I am in that process for the first time today!

I guess if we want cilantro bunches a la the grocery store in our states, we will have to grow them indoors and in lots of pots started 3 weeks apart. Don't cut the plant all the way back, leave 3-4 shoots, so the plant will survive the trimming. I will have to find a good windowsill, because while mine was growing this spring, it became a favorite!

Five plants also might have been a lot of herbs in one pot - I know basil likes lots of room for roots and is a water hog. Not sure how cilantro compares.

Good luck and keep gardening!

This herb has a short harvest

By Almanac Staff

This herb has a short harvest cycle if it is hot and that is just the way it is. To keep it growing in the Southwest, it may be best to plant in the fall and it may keep growing until spring when the weather heats up again. If you would like more harvest, you also want to start multiple plants 3 weeks apart. If you plant outside, you can just let cilantro drop its seeds when it is done and more plants will grow!

I love coriander seeds in my

By Jolene Timon

I love coriander seeds in my pepper grinder with amixed pepper blend and all spice , also a lot of asian dishes call for ground coriander so if it goes to seed it isnt nessicarily wasted.

I'm looking at a full grown

By Erin Hunter

I'm looking at a full grown plant with flowering. The stems have green and some purple redish stem. Mostly green above never grown before so would appreciate suggestions

If your coriander flowered,

By Almanac Staff

If your coriander flowered, it's gone to seed. Coriander has a very short harvesting window and it's easy to miss. If it's too hot, it will go straight to seed. Grow in a cooler season.

I am volunteering at a

By Kathleen Pautler

I am volunteering at a community garden. The cilantro is veru tall & limp. The leaves are very small. The plant appeared to be very dry. Should they be staked?

Cilantro is really a

By Almanac Staff

Cilantro is really a cool-weather plant (spring and fall) and won't grow well in summer heat. This is what you are seeing: When the weather gets warm, the plant bolts and sends up a long, lanky flower stalks that will later seed. Even in cool conditions, cilantro yields a fast crop; plants are barely up before they try to flower and set seeds. Two weeks tops. So those tasty leaves aren't around long, especially in warm weather.

Since I have already planted

By Jaynekc

Since I have already planted my cilantro seeds too late, (6/16) should I just let them bloom? I now know it is a cooler weather plant so what should I do with the little leaves I am getting? Should I keep cutting until fall- any suggestions from community will be greatly appreciated!

Keep harvesting the little

By Almanac Staff

Keep harvesting the little leaves but let some of the plants bloom and go to seed. As seeds fall to the ground, new cilantro plants will come up later in the season.

This post is a great guide

By Garden-nz.co.nz

This post is a great guide for growing Coriander...In truth, cilantro is not the easiest herb to grow. It's very delicate. This post is very helpful!

Cilantro

By Anonymous

It is very cold in Alabama but I still have a large pot of cilantro outside in a somewhat covered area. The leaves are very large. Is it still edible? Even if the leaves are really large?

The optimum time to harvest

By Almanac Staff

The optimum time to harvest cilantro leaves is when they are young. If they have grown large, they will not be palatable.

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