The Three Most Important Things to Do For Success with Coriander
Cilantro is the Spanish word for the leaves of the coriander plant. I hope we have that little issue sorted out. (There is no "cilantro" plant) :-)
There was a bit of research that hit my desk indicating there may be a genetic reason for those who do not like coriander leaves / cilantro. If that's the case, I have that gene for sure. This is not one of my favorite flavors.
You can start coriander seeds indoors very easily but understand that
the seedlings do NOT like to be transplanted into the herb garden.
Grow in individual peat pots (two to three seeds per pot and thin to a
single plant) in the middle of March. Cover the seed as it does not
like light when germinating (cover ¼ inch deep) and keep at 60-65F for
germination. Transplant outdoors after your last frost.
Coriander leaves (Cilantro)
Coriander Prefers Light Soil
Coriander prefers a light soil (sandy) with good drainage and being in
full sun. It doesn't do well in heavier soils (clay) or wet soils.
Having said that, you do have to water it until it is well established
and growing strongly.
For far less hassle, sow directly into the ground outdoors (cheaper
than buying plants too).
The seeds usually germinate well if planted in early May (USDA zone 4)
or late April in warmer areas. If the spring is cold and wet, delay
planting until it dries out a bit because the seed is prone to rotting if
kept too damp.
When seedlings are three inches tall, thin to one plant every 10-12
Coriander is an annual in the north but a semi-tender perennial in more
southerly climates. It may start to self-sow in warmer gardens where it
is happy. You do have to allow some of the seeds to mature to brown
seed to let this happen (caution, it can get weedy)
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Harvest the seed as soon as the flower umbels turn lightish brown and
the seeds are immature. They will be useful at this stage.
The leaves - now known as cilantro - can be harvested anytime but until the plant has set seed
(mid August) those leaves may have a bitter or offensive smell/taste if
used fresh. Dried leaves lose the smell so if planning on early leaf
harvests, plan on drying the plant outdoors.
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