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, 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.
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.
In more tropical climates, cilantro will grow better during cooler, dry times of year, such as fall.
- If the weather grows 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.
In cooking, cilantro seeds are called coriander. The “seeds” are actually two cilantro seeds encased in a husk. The husk is hard, round and is light brown or grey in color.
Before you plant them in the ground, you need to prepare the cilantro seeds to increase the chances that they will germinate. Gently crush the seed husk holding the two seeds together. Soak the cilantro seeds in water for 24 to 48 hours. Remove from the water and allow to dry.
Growing Cilantro In Pot
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
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 1⁄4inch (0.6 cm) of soil.
Place the pot in a sunny spot. Cilantro needs full sun to grow, so place it in a sunny window-sill or conservatory. The seeds should germinate within 7 to 10 days
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.
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