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How to Grow Cilantro

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an herb with savory, deep green leaves that are harvested fresh and used to flavor a variety of Asian and Latin dishes. It is also known as coriander or Chinese parsley. Cilantro isn't difficult to grow, and the seeds can be planted directly in the soil as soon as all danger of frost has passed or they can be grown in a pot. Here's how.

Method One of Two:
Growing Cilantro in a Garden
Edit

  1. 1
    Choose the time of year. The best time to plant cilantro depends on where you live. Cilantro won't survive in frosty conditions, but it doesn't like extreme heat either. In temperate climates, the best time to start planting cilantro is in late spring, between the months of March and May (Northern Hemisphere). In more tropical climates, cilantro will grow better during cooler, dry times of year, such as fall.
    • You may also have success by planting cilantro late in the summer and allowing it to grow into the fall.
    • If the weather becomes too hot, the cilantro plants will start to bolt - which means they will flower and go to seed, so choose your time of year wisely. To get a head start on the weather, try starting your seeds indoors and then transfer them outside as the weather improves.
  2. 2
    Prepare a spot in your garden. Select a patch of soil where the cilantro will get full exposure to the sun. It will tolerate some shade in southerly areas where the sun gets very hot during the day. The soil should be light and well-drained with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8.[1]
    • If you wish to cultivate the soil before planting, use a shovel, rototiller or spade to work 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) of an organic mulch such as compost, rotten leaves or manure into the top layer of soil. If you are using manure, make sure the manure is composted or aged for at least 3 months so it doesn't burn the young plants. Rake the area smooth before planting.
  3. 3
    Plant the cilantro seeds. Sow the seeds about 14 inch (0.6 cm) deep, spaced 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) apart, in rows approximately 1 foot (0.3 m) apart. Cilantro seeds need plenty of moisture to germinate, so make sure to water them frequently. They need about an inch of water per week. They should germinate in about 2 to 3 weeks.[2]
    • As cilantro grows so quickly, you should plant a new batch of seeds every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure that you have a fresh supply of cilantro throughout the growing season.[2]
  4. 4
    Care for the cilantro. Once the seedlings have reached about 2 inches (5.1 cm) in height, you can fertilize them with compost or organic fertilizer. Be careful not to over-fertilize, you only need about 1/4 of a cup for every 25 feet (7.6 m) of growing space.
    • Once the plants have established themselves, they do not need as much water. You should aim to keep the soil damp, but not soggy, as cilantro is a dry climate herb.[3]
  5. 5
    Prevent overcrowding. Stop the cilantro plants from becoming overcrowded by thinning the seedlings when the cilantro is 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) tall. Pull out the smaller plants and leave the strongest ones to grow larger, allowing 8 to 10 inches (20.3 to 25.4 cm) between each plant. The smaller plants can be used in cooking and eaten.[4]
    • You can also prevent weeds from growing by spreading some mulch around the base of the plants as soon as they are visible above the soil.
  6. 6
    Harvest the cilantro. Harvest cilantro by cutting off individual leaves and stems from the base of the plant, near ground level, when the stems are 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 cm) tall. Use the fresh, new shoots in cooking, not the older, ferny-type leaves which can taste bitter.[1]
    • Don't cut off more than one-third of the leaves at one time, as this can weaken the plant.
    • Once you have harvested the leaves, the plant will continue to grow for at least two or three more cycles.[1]
  7. 7
    Decide whether or not you want to leave the cilantro plants to flower. Sooner or later the coriander plants will start to flower. When this happens, the plant will stop producing fresh, new shoots with edible leaves. At this point, some people cut off the flowers in the hopes that the plant will produce more leaves.
    • However, if you would also like to harvest coriander seeds from the plant you should leave it to flower. Once the flower dries, you will be able to harvest coriander seeds that can be used in cooking.
    • Alternatively, you can allow the seeds to naturally fall to the ground where the cilantro plant will self-sow, providing you with more cilantro plants the following growing season.[5] You can also save the dried seeds and plant them the next growing season.
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Method Two of Two:
Growing Cilantro in a Pot
Edit

  1. 1
    Select an appropriate pot. Choose a flower pot or container that's at least 18 inches (45.7 cm) wide and 8 to 10 inches (20.3 to 25.4 cm) deep. Cilantro does not take kindly to being moved, so the pot needs to be big enough to contain the full grown plant.[6]
  2. 2
    Plant the seeds. Fill the pot with some fast-draining soil. You can mix in some fertilizer too, if you like. Moisten the soil with a little water until it's just damp, not soggy. Sprinkle the seeds lightly over the soil to disperse evenly. Cover with another 14 inch (0.6 cm) of soil.
  3. 3
    Place the pot in a sunny spot. Cilantro needs full sun to grow, so place it in a sunny window-sill or conservatory. South-facing windows offer the most light and best growing conditions for cilantro. The seeds should germinate within 7 to 10 days.[6]
  4. 4
    Keep moist. Keep the soil moist using a spray bottle to lightly mist the soil. If you pour water onto the soil, it might displace the seeds.
  5. 5
    Harvest the cilantro. Once the stems of the cilantro reach 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 cm) in length, it is ready to be harvested. Cut up to 2/3 of the leaves each week, as this will encourage the plant to keep growing. This way, it is possible to harvest four crops of cilantro from a single pot.[6]
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Community Q&A

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  • I have been growing cilantro but when the plants reach about two inches tall they fall over. Why is this?
    Answered by Andrew Carberry
    • If the plants don't have enough light, they can get "leggy". The plant is trying to grow taller and find light. This leads to thin plants that eventually fall over. Try placing the plants in an area with more sun or using a grow light.
    Thanks! 62 9
  • Can coriander live in the same pot as thyme?
    Answered by Andrew Carberry
    • Yes they can grow together in the same pot as long as there is enough space for each to get sunlight, and the pot is big enough that they do not become root bound.
    Thanks! 30 4
  • Can cilantro grow with two hours of sunlight?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Most likely not. The seedlings might sprout, but the plants wouldn't grow. Cilantro needs full sun, about 6-10 hours a day.
    Thanks! 16 1
  • How can I make sure my cilantro grows okay in the cold?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Cilantro is naturally very resistant to the cold, it can easily handle temperatures ranging even to the low/mid 20s Fahrenheit.
    Thanks! 66 13
  • My cilantro is not germinating. It's been three weeks, but I could not see the green shrub coming out of soil. I'm watering it daily. What might be the reason?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It could be that it is getting too much water. Cilantro's soil should be moist, not wet -- it is a dry herb.
    Thanks! 70 16
  • Can I grow cilantro in a small pot?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Cilantro roots grow fairly deep even from a 3 inch tall plant. Thus, any small pot should be a pot 8 to 10 inches deep at a minimum.
    Thanks! 77 24
  • How do I dry cilantro for future use?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Hang the cilantro in small bundles upside down in a dry area until they are dried out.
    Thanks! 37 11
  • How should I grow cilantro during the rainy season?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Cilantro is very susceptible to powdery mildew, so it is important to not wet the foliage. During rainy season, bring it indoors.
    Thanks! 22 6
  • I am not using fresh seed to plant Cilantro. Will it grow?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Cilantro seeds should last two years. If germination doesn't occur in 7 to 14 days, you'll know it isn't viable.
    Thanks! 32 13
  • It is very hot and sunny where I live. Will cilantro bolt in this weather, even if they get some shade?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If you live in a region where it is hot in summer and cool (some frosty mornings) in winter, you may find that if your plant your coriander (cilantro) in the summer, it does tend to bolt to seed quite quickly. To get around this, plant your main crop in the autumn, giving it a good start before the winter hits (as long as you're in a non-snowy area) and then it will just keeps going through the winter. The frosts don't kill it but slow down or even stop its growth. For areas with snow, plant direct into containers.
    Thanks! 42 22
Show more answers
  • Where is the best place to store my coriander seeds to plant in the fall?
  • How would I grow coriander strong or big enough to use the roots for cooking? The roots are widely used in Thai cooking.
  • My balcony doesn't get direct sunlight. Can I grow cilantro here? I live in a hot and humid climate?
  • Can I grow cilantro in water? If so, how?
  • I planted cilantro stalks with little roots. Do they need any extra care?
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Quick Summary

To grow cilantro in your garden, choose a location that gets full sun and good soil drainage. Sow the seeds about 14 inch (0.6 cm) deep and 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) apart so they have plenty of room to thrive. Give seedlings about 1 in (2.5 cm) of water each week and thin them out if they grow in too close together. To grow cilantro indoors, fill a pot with fast-draining soil and sow the seeds 14 inch (0.6 cm) deep. Put the pot in a sunny location and water your plants whenever the soil feels dry.

TipsEdit

  • Cilantro is a good choice for a butterfly garden, as the plant is a butterfly favorite, especially during the morning and evening.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • 'Costa Rica', 'Leisure', and 'Long Standing' are all good varieties of cilantro to begin growing with, as they are slow-bolting and will produce a plentiful harvest of leaves.[3]
    0 Helpful?  0
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Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Shovel, rototiller or spade
  • Organic matter
  • Cilantro seeds
  • Watering can or garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Mulch
  • Compost or organic fertilizer
  • Flower pot or container
  • Sunshine

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Expert Review By:

AC
Professional Gardener

This version of How to Grow Cilantro was reviewed by Andrew Carberry on January 13, 2017.

25 votes - 92%
Co-authors: 18
Updated:
Views: 749,800

Reader Success Stories

  • A

    Anonymous

    Nov 30, 2017

    "I live in South Africa where temperatures are very high. The tips on sunshine and heat were very helpful. Thanks!"
  • AR

    Anne Rutherford

    Mar 28, 2016

    "I didn't know that cilantro is coriander. I don't have a large garden so I wanted to know how to grow it in a pot. You've answered my question really well. Would it be okay to grow some indoors if the container is in front of an east-facing window with a thin, medium dark drape? In Australia, it is the beginning of autumn. On the Gold Coast, where I live, it's very hot and humid just now. The morning sun can be brutal to plants. It killed our parsley even though it was regularly watered. Thank you for the information I needed. I really appreciate being able to access sites like yours."..." more
  • SO

    Susan Oosenbrugh

    May 18, 2016

    "Found this really helpful with regard to how deep to plant the cilantro. I also wasn't aware that cilantro doesn't like to be moved once it's been plotted or that I should cut the stem from near the base when I wish to use some. Now I know where I've been going wrong. Informative and easy-to-read post."..." more
  • SO

    Susan Oosenbrugh

    May 11, 2016

    "Informative and easy-to-read article. I found this really helpful with how deep to plant the cilantro. I wasn't aware that cilantro doesn't like to be moved once it's been plotted or that I should cut the stem from near the base when I wish to use it. Now I know where I've been going wrong. "..." more
  • BA

    Barbara Aguilar

    Nov 5, 2016

    "I've had success with cilantro, until I moved into an apartment. The cilantro in pots on the patio haven't done so well. Should have better results now, thanks to these helpful tips. I will keep them out of the hot sun and not so wet this year. Thank you!"..." more
  • VK

    Veez Kanga

    Jul 10, 2016

    "The tip about how to speed up the celery seeds to sprout was great. I also did not know that cilantro plants encourage butterflies to visit the garden, so I will be planting lots of cilantro in with my roses!"..." more
  • RR

    Rathe Radha

    May 11, 2016

    "Very informative and useful for beginners like me. Please continue to share such useful information for different plants in terrace gardening. Thank you."..." more
  • KF

    Kim Fowler

    Jun 4, 2017

    "I now know coriander is cilantro, or vice versa. Besides growing in pots on my deck, I will plant in my butterfly garden. I learned a lot, thank you."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Mar 7, 2017

    "I was unaware the soil had to be kept moist, but not wet. I was also cutting too much of the plant. Now I know it should only have the top 1/3 cut."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Oct 18, 2016

    "This helped me a lot because I have to do a science experiment and I needed to know some facts. It is well organized and the pictures helped."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Aug 4, 2017

    "In California and experiencing a very hot summer, my 1st attempt turned to seed right away. This time I'll start them indoors."..." more
  • S

    Stef

    Jun 5, 2016

    "Great post with important small details, like spraying with water instead of watering directly so as not to displace seeds. "..." more
  • GN

    Giang Nguyen

    Mar 30, 2016

    "Very useful article. The tips are very easy to understand! I learn better when I can see both images and instructions."..." more
  • LM

    Lekha M.

    Jun 22, 2016

    "Concise instructions with relevant visuals and without personal stories and other redundancies helped the most. "
  • KR

    Kannuvellil Rajan

    Jun 13, 2016

    "Step-by-step, detailed, easy-to-understand instructions with all necessary information. Thanks for the guidance."
  • JS

    Janet Saldanha

    Mar 30, 2016

    "The details in the steps were really informative. I will plant cilantro this coming Sunday."
  • VL

    Vanessa Lim

    May 17, 2016

    "I love the step-by-step pictures. They're really helpful for a novice gardener like me."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jul 16, 2017

    "Really benefits those who don't have experience in gardening. Well-explained."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 13, 2017

    "I found everything that I needed on this, it explained everything clearly."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Aug 13, 2016

    "Learning about the pot size and watering requirements helped."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Mar 5, 2017

    "All the steps were so useful in growing cilantro in a pot."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Nov 30, 2016

    "Every tip in this article helped me to grow cilantro."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 16, 2016

    "The correct time to plant the seeds was most helpful."
  • RR

    Rathi Radha

    May 11, 2016

    "The whole article helped me with most of my queries."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Sep 6, 2016

    "The most helpful tip was not to overcrowd the seeds!"
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 25, 2016

    "The most info on growing cilantro I have found yet."
  • SS

    Sajin Sajin

    May 18, 2017

    "Pi Pictures with precise details helped. "
  • FS

    Farah Soori

    Apr 5, 2016

    "The best and easiest explanation. Thanks."
  • A

    Anonymous

    May 27, 2017

    "I learned how to cultivate coriander. "
    Rated this article:
  • LS

    Lori Sanders

    Jun 27, 2016

    "Planting seeds every 2-3 weeks helped."
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