Grow this herb for its leaves and/or seeds, which are called coriander. The entire plant is edible and the root is said to taste similar to the leaves with a slightly nutty flavor. Young leaves are the most aromatic.
Coriander seeds are used in Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, while the cilantro leaves are a common ingredient for cooks in Mexico, Central and South America, and China (it is sometimes referred to as Chinese Parsley). Many chefs feel that cilantro is essential to an authentic salsa.
Be warned though that people either love or hate cilantro — there's no in between. Don't try and win new converts to become cilantro lovers. This love or hate relationship seems to last a lifetime. Some scientists theorize that the taste perception of cilantro is genetic. People who don't like it aren't just being difficult! The coriander seed has a completely different flavor and doesn't have the same polarizing effect of the cilantro leaves.
- Annual warm season herb.
- Plant where you want it to grow. It quickly develops a deep taproot and resents being transplanted.
- Like most herbs, cilantro performs well in containers as long as you use pots that are at least 12 inches deep to accommodate the plant's taproot.
- Direct sow in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed. It is tender to frost and light freezes. For a detailed spring planting schedule, check out this Vegetable Planting Schedule.
- Seed planting depth: 1/4 - 1/2”.
- Seed spacing: 6 - 8”.
- Ideal germinating temperature is 50 - 70 ° F.
Planting and Tending
- Requires no fertilizing.
- Keep young plants moist until the plants are well-established, after which they need little water (Mediterranean native that they are).
- Grows easily, but does go to seed quickly when the weather is hot. Plant successive crops 1 - 2 weeks apart for a steady supply of leaves.
- If growing for seed, stake the plants. When seed turns brown (but before it starts to drop) in late summer or early autumn, cut plants at the base and hang them upside down in paper bags to finish drying.
- Attracts beneficial pollinators.
- Plant near:
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