How to

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.


[Edit]Growing Cilantro in a Garden

  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.[1]
    Grow Cilantro Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • 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.[2] To get a head start on the weather, try starting your seeds indoors and then transfer them outside as the weather improves.
  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.[3]
    Grow Cilantro Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • If you wish to cultivate the soil before planting, use a shovel, rototiller or spade to work 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. Plant the cilantro seeds. Sow the seeds about deep, spaced apart, in rows approximately 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.[4]
    Grow Cilantro Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • 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.
  4. Care for the cilantro. Once the seedlings have reached about 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 of growing space.
    Grow Cilantro Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • 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.[5]
  5. Prevent overcrowding. Stop the cilantro plants from becoming overcrowded by thinning the seedlings when the cilantro is tall.[6] Pull out the smaller plants and leave the strongest ones to grow larger, allowing between each plant. The smaller plants can be used in cooking and eaten.[7]
    Grow Cilantro Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • 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. 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 tall. Use the fresh, new shoots in cooking, not the older, ferny-type leaves which can taste bitter.[3]
    Grow Cilantro Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaves at one time, as this can weaken the plant.[8]
    • Once you have harvested the leaves, the plant will continue to grow for at least two or three more cycles.[3]
  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.[9]
    Grow Cilantro Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • 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.[10] You can also save the dried seeds and plant them the next growing season.

[Edit]Growing Cilantro in a Pot

  1. Select an appropriate pot. Choose a flower pot or container that’s at least wide and deep. Cilantro does not take kindly to being moved, so the pot needs to be big enough to contain the full grown plant.[11]
    Grow Cilantro Step 8 Version 2.jpg
  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 of soil.
    Grow Cilantro Step 9 Version 2.jpg
  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.[11]
    Grow Cilantro Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  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.[12]
    Grow Cilantro Step 11 Version 2.jpg
  5. Harvest the cilantro. Once the stems of the cilantro reach 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.[11]
    Grow Cilantro Step 12 Version 2.jpg



  • Cilantro is a good choice for a butterfly garden, as the plant is a butterfly favorite, especially during the morning and evening.[13]
  • ‘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.[5]

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • 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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