Cilantro is used to enhance the flavor of many South-East Asian and Mexican cuisines. The highly aromatic herb cilantro can also serve as dressing to improve meal appearance. Most people would buy this herb rather than growing it themselves because they think that it’s one of the most difficult herbs to grow.
Well, they’re wrong because it’s not that hard.
You can easily grow cilantro by following these few simple steps:
Choosing a pot
Similar to dill, cilantro needs a pot that is deep and wide—not the too shallow pots like most people believe. To grow cilantro in a pot, the perfect pot you need would be the one that’s at least 18 inches wide at 10-12 inches deep.
A deep pot is perfect for growing cilantro.
Growing cilantro from seeds
Sow the seeds at 1/4 inches deep and keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate. If you have grown them in the seed tray, plant them to their final location once the plants have formed 2-3 leaves. On a side note, gently crush the seed husk before sowing if you’re planting grocery store seeds to improve the germination rate.
It’s better to sow the coriander seeds directly in a pot because cilantro has a long taproot and doesn’t transplant well.
Grow cilantro plants 3-4 inches apart for optimum growth.
Requirements for growing cilantro in a pot
- Location: Cilantro grows best in the sun, but be careful not to expose it to too much heat as it will make it go to seed quickly.
- Watering: Cilantro likes evenly moist soil. Make sure you never wet the foliage when watering as cilantro is really susceptible to powdery mildew.
- Soil: Neutral soil that’s rich in organic matter with crumbly texture helps cilantro to grow. Addition of aged manure or compost also provide a good steady supply of nitrogen and other trace elements, thus promotes vegetative growth.
- Spacing: You can grow cilantro closely but space the plants 3-4 inches apart for optimum growth.
Cilantro likes evenly wet soil.
Best cilantro planting time
Cilantro needs a frost-free period to grow but doesn’t like extreme heat. It can be successively grown from spring to fall. In warm temperate and much hotter regions, you can grow cilantro in winters too.
Avoid growing cilantro in extreme heat.
Cilantro plant care
- Fertilizer: Feed cilantro with any half strength nitrogen-rich fertilizer bimonthly to promote the foliage growth. If you side dresses the plants with compost or aged manure, you don’t need to fertilize them as much. Application of fish emulsion is also recommended.
- Deadheading: Inspect your plants daily to see if flowers are appearing and deadhead them regularly to promote the production of leaves. You can leave them if you want your plants to seed.
- Problem with cilantro: The recurring problem with cilantro is bolting. The plant will eventually go to seed, but it’s a lot earlier in hot weather. When the flowers start to appear and give seed, the plant will die after seeding. Once the plant starts to bolt, pinch the top to slow down the process.
- Pests and diseases: Always look out for aphids. Mildew disease commonly kills this herb, especially in humid warm weather. To prevent mildew, keep distance between plants, provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering. Wetting the leaves also promote the growth of fungal infections.
You can start to harvest cilantro leaves when they have reached 3-6 inches length—about 3 to 4 weeks after sowing seeds. If you want to harvest the entire plant, wait for at least 45 to 70 days.
Cut the entire plant at soil level or 2 inches above the crown.
It’s actually very easy to grow cilantro. Shall we go get some pots now?
Credit: Balcony Garden Web