GROWING CILANTRO AND CORIANDER OUTDOORS

Coriander is easy to grow and is best used fresh, and therefore is a very good choice for growing your own kitchen herbs. Especially if you like cooking, Asian or Latin food. Coriander finds several uses because both the leaves and seeds are used as food. The leaves of coriander are, called cilantro, can be chopped and used for garnishing or used while cooking in a variety of dishes including, rice, soups, salsa, and more.

To grow coriander, you need to provide the plant with a lot of sunshine as is the case usually when growing kitchen herbs though when the sun is at its peak; it prefers some shade. If the plant is not cared for well, it very often does not grow rich foliage and instead of flowers and produces seeds. So, if you are growing coriander for its leaves, you should keep the conditions right for its growth.

Coriander can be grown directly from its seeds by sowing them in the soil.

Cilantro is really easy to grow, fast growing, and does not require a lot of work. 

Growing Cilantro and Coriander in The Garden

Cilantro was one of the first herbs/spices grown by the early colonists in America. Growing a few feet of Cilantro in the Spring, and areas with milder winters as a fall and winter crop will provide plenty to eat, dry for later use and/or to let go to seed in hot weather to use as Coriander spice.

Cilantro As A Companion Plant

If you are a believer in companion planting Cilantro is said to:

  • be a good companion to anise, tomatoes, and peppers
  • be a bad companion plant for fennel
  • repel aphids, Colorado potato beetle, and spider mites
  • attracts bees when in bloom

When to Plant Cilantro

When to plant cilantro depends on the general climate condition in which you live and the specific average hardiness frost dates.  The general strategies vary somewhat depending upon whether you live in northern or southern regions of the United States.

In The Northern

Plant cilantro a two or three weeks before the last frost. To have a steady harvest throughout the summer, plant cilantro every couple of weeks until late autumn.

In the South

Plant in the beginning in early autumn to have a winter (until a killing frost sets in) and two or three weeks before the last frost for spring harvest.

Days to maturity

Cilantro takes about 30 to 40 days from planting to harvest as green herbs and 40 to 50 days for the seeds to be ready for harvesting as coriander.

Coriander, Cilantro, Chinese Parsley

Is it an herb or a spice?

The coriander plant is both an herb (cilantro leaves) and a spice (coriander seeds).

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a very fast-growing herb which can be grown just about anywhere. Cilantro is a relative of the carrot family, sometimes called Chinese parsley, or Coriander. Cilantro is the leaves, roots, and stems (eaten as herbs) of the Coriander plant, while the seeds (coriander) are used in cooking as a spice.

Cilantro has a very strong unique odor and is relied on heavily for Latin, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines. Cilantro, also, resembles Parsley in appearance which is not surprising since they are related. Cilantro has been in use a long time in Egypt, India, and China, and later it was introduced to Latin America where it is still used today.

Cilantro can and has been used to mask the scent of rotting meat. Cilantro has two identities since Cilantro is what the plant is referred to in its earliest stages, and when it is fully developed and sets seed, which is the Coriander spice. Cilantro is fast growing grows very quickly but will bolt in hot weather and die  fast also.

Cilantro can easily grow in a pot, or as microgreens. Cilantro is best harvested early and frequently before the onset of bolt or flowers.  Once the bolt or flowers begin, it is best to let it go to seed And harvest the seed for coriander or stock seed for the next planting.

Today, Cilantro can be found in most grocery stores in the United States both as fresh green or as dried herbs. Not everyone likes Cilantro. Generally, people either love Cilantro or hate Cilantro.

Life Span

  • Annual

Scientific Name

  • Coriandrum sativum

Height

  • 24 to 36 inches of inches leaves look

Spread

  • 6 inches

Description

  • The bright green, lacy leaves look very similar to flat-leaved Italian parsley on the lower part of the plant but become more finely fernlike further up. This large annual has a leaf and root flavor that is a cross between sage and a citrus. The seeds, however, are simply citrus like.

Ease of care:

  • Easy

How to grow:

  • Plant in rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Coriander plants are best located where they are protected from the wind since they blow over easily.
Flowering Coriander, Cilantro, Chinese Parsley
Flowering Coriander, Cilantro, Chinese Parsley

Propagation:

  • By seed, once the soil is warm in spring. This service a cool weather loving herb, when the weather turns warm it will Bolt and go to seed

Culinary Uses

Cilantro Herb
Cilantro Herb
  • Fresh or frozen leaves (Cilantro) can be used on potatoes, rice, clams and oysters or chicken. Fresh leaves are frequently used in salsas and on chicken soup.
spice (coriander seeds)
spice (coriander seeds)
  • Seeds (Coriander)  can be used in marinades, cheeses, pickles, mushrooms, stews, curries, chicken, quickbreads, potpourris
  • Fresh roots can be used in salads, relishes

Preservation

  • Harvest only fresh, young leaves and freeze them promptly.
  • Harvest seeds when they have turned brown but are not yet released.
  • Cutoff whole plant and hang-dry inside paper bags to catch seeds.

Related References