How To Grow Cilantro
Cilantro (Coriander sativum) is two herbs in one. The leaves, called cilantro or Chinese parsley, impart a musky, citrus-like (some even say “soapy”) flavor to Mexican, Chinese, and Thai cooking.
The tiny, round seeds, called coriander, taste of sage and lemon or orange peel, and season many traditional Indian dishes, especially curries.
Tips on the better way to grow cilantro, a useful culinary herb. To keep leaves coming, one can sow seeds every two weeks for a continuous crop.
Or, even better, one can try the method perfected in Sunset’s test garden–to grow cilantro as one would mesclun.
First, one should sow seeds thickly in a wide, shallow container–then, as soon as plants are three to four inches tall and sporting a couple of cuttable leaves, one can use scissors to cut off some foliage for cooking.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have cilantro growing right outside your kitchen door? Have You asked yourself how to grow cilantro? Then, whenever you feel like making Mexican salsa or guacamole or a Middle Eastern yogurt gravy for your lamb kabobs, there the lacy, sweetly pungent leaves could be available to harvest.
However, if you’ve ever tried to grow it, you’ve probably noticed that cilantro yields a short crop; plants are hardly up before trying to flower and set seeds. So those delicious leaves do not last long, particularly in a warm climate.
To maintain leaves coming, you can sow seeds every two weeks for a continuous crop. Or, much better, try the method we perfected in our test garden last year:
Grow cilantro as you would mesclun. First, plant seeds thickly in a wide, shallow pot; then, as early as plants are 3 to 4 inches in height and sporting a couple of cuttable leaves, use scissors to cut off some foliage for cooking as shown at top right.
Snip from a different section of the container every time, rotating the pot as you go and never letting plants in any area mature. By the time you go back to the first section harvested, new leaves will have appeared.
Tips on How To Grow Cilantro
1. Choose a bowl-shaped pot minimum 18 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches in depth.
2. Put in the pot a quick-draining potting soil; blend in natural granular fertilizer.
3. Ahead of seeding, dampen the soil with a delicate spray from the hose with a sprinkler.
Since the seeds are relatively small, blend them in a pot with sand (3 parts of sand to 1 part of the seed) as they’ll spread more equally. Plant the seeds, then top up softly with soil.
4. Lightly mist the soil so as not to displace the seeds.
5. Put containers in a sunny place or live in a hot region, light shade. Seeds usually sprout in 7 to 10 days.
6. Harvest at least weekly to keep leaves coming. Using this method, it’s possible to harvest four crops from a single pot.
Final Word on How To Grow Cilantro
Cilantro grows effortlessly from seeds, or you can buy bunches of fresh cilantro and jars of dried coriander seeds in most supermarkets’ produce and spice sections.
Snipped stems of cilantro will keep in the refrigerator for several days in a plastic bag (clip the stem ends off and set the sprouts in a glass of water before you put the plastic bag on top). You also may freeze leaves that have been washed and patted dry.
Frozen, cilantro leaves hold much of their flavor; when dried, leaves lose flavor.
Store dry coriander seeds whole, in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place; they will keep for more than a year.
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