Coriander and Cilantro

Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Cilantro and Coriander



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Coriander/cilantro is a fast-growing, aromatic, annual herb that grows best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. Here’s how to grow coriander and cilantro in your garden.

This herb is used to flavor many recipes and the entire plant is edible, though the leaves and seeds are used most often.

Coriander vs Cilantro

Cilantro and coriander are in fact different parts of the same plant. Cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant, which are used as an herb, while coriander refers to the seeds, which are typically ground and used as a spice. Here’s the difference between an herb and a spice.


  • Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. In the Southwestern US, a fall planting may last through spring until the weather heats up again.
  • Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (such that it will be past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavor.
  • It is best to choose 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.


  • 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 ¼ 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.


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 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 1-½ 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.

Coriander seeds.

  • 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

Wit & Wisdom

  • Coriander is thought to symbolize hidden worth. Explore more plant meanings here.
  • Does cilantro taste like soap? Folks occasionally report a strong dislike for cilantro, claiming it tastes exactly like soap. Some studies show that this reaction may be influenced by genetics, while others propose that the taste is due to a molecule called aldehyde, which occurs naturally in cilantro, but is also used in some soaps. Does cilantro taste like soap to you? Let us know in the comments below!


Reader Comments

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Replanted Celantro

I just replanted some cilantro, 7 inches apart, buried evenly at the top, I replaced dirt with fresh soil and lightly fertilized and watered 4 days before replanting. Now they look like they're dying. Recently the weather has been hot, then cold, then hot. What do you suggest.

Cilantro in the Summer

Hi Michael,

Cilantro does not do well in heat, and the quickly changing temperatures you describe don’t help. Spread a 1- to 2-inch-layer of mulch or compost around the cilantro plants to help to keep the roots cool and wet. Another option is to plant more cilantro plants in with the others, leaving 3 to 4 inches of space between each plant. The close together leaves will shade the soil at the base of the plants, helping to keep them cool. We hope this helps! 

Question about Cilantro

Hi! Here in Australia the seeds and plant are called Coriander. Do you know why the Americans call the seeds Coriander and the plant Cilantro?

No idea, but it's the same in

No idea, but it's the same in the UK and Ireland; both leaves and seed are called coriander, although the seeds may be labelled as 'coriander seed' when sold as a cooking spice.

How hot is too hot? Prolonging cycle?

Hello. I live in AK & just planter cilantro a few days ago. The Temps this week are to hit high 60s, low 70s. What is considered too hot for plant? Thanks!

too hot...

Over 80°F is generally considered too hot for cilantro.

if it's too warm in your area

this year I planted my cilantro in a very large in Pennsylvania this year we had a weird fall/winter and I didn't have to bring my pots in until a week before Christmas..after harvesting fresh leaves all summer I am now pleased to watch my plant starting to bolt a month after bringing it indoors.

for those that are growing in a hot climate you could try bringing it indoors (if you have AC) to give it the cooler temps it likes..for me it's backwards , since I have to bring mine in to get it to bolt

What if my coriander plant

What if my coriander plant starts wilting? Am i giving it too much/too little water? It is rainy season here currently. Thank you!

wilting coriander

Coriander may wilt for a few reasons. Too little water, it will wilt and yellow, with leaves browning. Too much, and the plant may become mushy and wilt. Don’t let the soil get soggy; make sure that there is good drainage, and let the soil dry out in the top inch a bit before watering once plants are established. Young plants need more water, however.

Check for insects, such as aphids (which suck the sap, causing wilting). Various diseases can cause wilting as well. Fusarium wilt usually strikes seedlings, but if it attacks mature plants, they may wilt and yellow, or their growth may be stunted.

Hope this helps!

Thank you for the useful

Thank you for the useful info! And reading the comments was informative too. I love fresh cilantro and looking forward to trying to grow some in my home.

I just want to say...Thank

I just want to say...Thank You So Much!! I learned a lot!!

My cilantro plants have grown

My cilantro plants have grown to be about 18 inches tall. On the bottom are the thicker green leaves, in the middle there are thin wispy leaves, and on top there are small white flowers. What are the flowers? Can they be used? Were should I cut them down? And how do I dry/store each part? I would like to use the cilantro in fresh salsa but the rest of the garden, of course, is not ready for harvest. Any ideas on how to keep it fresh until then?

As stated at the top of this

As stated at the top of this page, the leaves are cilantro and the flowers are coriander. You will find answers to all of your questions above: You can use the leaves (the cilantro), and allow the flowers to self seed or harvest, dry, and store them for culinary use. The plant tends to flag in really hot conditions, does best in spring or fall.

I live in Managua, Nicaragua

I live in Managua, Nicaragua and was wondering if I could grow cilantro here and if so can I grown it in an aquaponic system?

Hello! I started growing my


I started growing my coriander about 3 weeks ago. It's been growing great, but it seems like is not growing anymore. At this moment, my plant has 2 different leaves, the first one is the first to appear while growing, is like a thin leaf. The second one is the common big and fancy leaf that we all use to cook. My question is, should I cut out the thin leaves? Like in order to leave more space for the big leaves. They're all beautifully green and I really want to do the best for the plant, but since it's the first plant I grow in my entire life, I'm kind of lost in what to do now.

Thanks to anyone who can help me!


Congratulations, Daniel! Now

Congratulations, Daniel! Now that your cilantro is underway, let it get established. Do not do anything to it. Go out, take a walk, cook something—do anything that will distract you for a while. Whatever you did to get your plant going was great; now give it some space and time. Water as needed, of course, and soon enough you will have true leaves to harvest.

I just planted cilantro

I just planted cilantro 4/15/15 and wanted to know if it would be cool enough to last through the summer heat in tucson,az. I have it in a raised planter with a framed out sunshade cloth so it doesn't get direct sunlight. Can you delay the bolting by keeping it in shade, well watered and cutting the flower stalks?? Also when harvesting it what is the best way cut it so it goes dormant until the next season and you don't have to start with fresh seeds/clones? Thank you!

Cilantro does not like heat.

Cilantro does not like heat. You need to keep your plants in the shade and adding mulch around the plants will help keep the soil a bit cooler. Keep the plants well watered. See our tips about harvesting on top of this page. After cilantro bolts it will go to seed and it will reseed itself or you can collect the seeds to start new plants. Cilantro is always best started from seeds directly in the ground.

I have planted Cilantro about

I have planted Cilantro about three weeks ago. Now the seeds are germinated and they grow about one & half inches tall.
Some of the plants put down there heads. What would be the cause? And how to avoid this?

Cilantro can be subject to

Cilantro can be subject to damping off, where seedlings may wilt or die. It is caused by various fungi that like cool, damp conditions. Be sure to provide well-drained medium, thin seedlings so that they are not crowded, and provide air circulation. You might try putting a little sand on top of the soilless mix, to help keep the area around the stems from becoming too damp. Water at the base of the stems, rather than from overhead. Some varieties are resistant to this disease.

Other diseases, such as Fusarium wilt, also can cause seedlings to wilt and die.

Sometimes, seedlings can grow tall and lanky and not be able to support themselves. This can be due to insufficient light, or too much fertilizer or water. (Of course, if they don't get enough water, they'll droop, too.)

I have read in your replies

I have read in your replies to previous questions that it is best to wait until the seed turns brown before harvesting and then let it dry in a paper bag. My problem is that once the seed is turning brown it seems to fall off the plant before I collect it. The coriander plants I have pulled have much less seeds than when they were green. Would it also work to pull the plant when the seeds are large and green, let them sit in a bag in heat (window with sunshine coming through, and would they then turn brown with a wee bit of time?

What if I harvested my

What if I harvested my coriander before it had turned 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

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

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

Is it temperamental due to

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

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

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

The discussion of cilantro really helped me.

My Cilantro plants have

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?


You might want to wait until

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

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

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

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.

I'm looking for a very mild

I'm looking for a very mild salsa recipe. I know that some don't like to share their recipes and I understand. Thank you very much

I use a large can of stewed

I use a large can of stewed tomatoes (or equivalent ripe tomatoes), put in the blender with a medium onion(quartered) or 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, 3 cloves of garlic(chopped), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, juice of one lime and pulp, and 1 to 2 cups cilantro leaves and tender stems. Blend all but the cilantro and pulse a few times till onion and garlic chunks are gone, 15 seconds maybe. Then add cilantro and pulse a few times till chopped but not liquefied. If using green onions with some minced tops, add with the cilantro. Salsa will be dark. To keep bright red/pink, chop cilantro fine instead of blending and stir by hand into salsa at the end. If you have leftovers, keep in jar or plastic sealed container 3-5 days in refrigerator. We usually don't have leftovers!

Mild Salsa

I use my mother's recipe, which is from her girlhood in Jalisco:

½ jalapeno
1 tomato
½ tomatillo
1 clove garlic
cilantro to taste, chopped coarsely
1 sweet onion

Mince garlic.
Dice everything else. Top with juice from ½ lime (squeezed lightly).

If you want, you can add a diced avocado, or smush it and add a dollop of sour cream for guacamole.

Can you cook with the small

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

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

how big can it get height width?

i just pulled all the round

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?

Fresh green coriander seeds

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

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

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,

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

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

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?

This herb has a short harvest

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!

Hi! I hope to give you some

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!

I love coriander seeds in my

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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!


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

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

Botanical Name: 

Coriandrum sativum

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Bloom Time: 

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