Coriander / cilantro is a fast-growing aromatic herb that grows best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. Cilantro is grown for its edibles leaves, stem and also for its seeds, which has many culinary uses. The herb can be categorized as an annual. Here’s how to grow and care for coriander/cilantro in your garden.
The herb can be grown in either sun(spring/fall) or shade(summer). If you have mild summer, grow the plants in a shady spot. Two seedlings will emerge out of a single seed. If you don’t want the pain of thinning seedlings, crush the coriander seeds gently and sow them directly in the garden.
Seeds can also be started indoors early spring or can be sowed directly on the ground once the danger of frost is gone.
This is a plant with a very short life. So if you want to enjoy it year round do successive sowing/planting. They can also be grown indoors with minimal light. To collect the seeds let the coriander plant to flower. You can collect the seed heads once they have matured (turns from green to brown).
The leaves will be ready to harvest in about 3 to 4 weeks. Harvest the leaves along with the stem so that new leaves will grow again. You can also pull of the whole plant along with the root, ending the life cycle of plant.
The flowers are in clusters of white. It will attract lot of pollinators to the garden. The seed is called coriander, which is often dried and ground to be used as spice. The stem and leaves are called Cilantro.
Cilantro can be grown in the garden, but many people prefer it in pots. This extends the life of the plant because it can continue to grow if it’s brought inside for the winter.
Cilantro is a common ingredient in many cuisines. The easiest way to use the leaves is garnishing in curries or adding it to salads.
If you are wondering why your plants are not producing leaves but flower, these plants can’t take the heat so it stops producing foliage and produce flowers to end its life-cycle when the temperature warms up. This process is called bolting. The flowers will produce seeds which leads to next generation.
Here is a picture of how I used to grow cilantro (in tin foil trays). I usually harvest them for their leaves to use in cooking.
Do let me know in comments on how do you grow your Cilantros?