Growing Cilantro (Coriander)
Call it what you will Cilantro or Coriander its the same plant, and its also known as Chinese Parsley. Some people love it, others can't stand it but the plant is Coriandum sativum and it is widely grown both for its seeds and its leaves, and we love it....
You can blame the Spanish for the name thing, and you can praise chefs around the world for using the leaves and seeds in so many ways.
Can you grow it at home, yes, it is easy, and well worth the effort, the taste of really fresh cilantro leaves is much better than old ones which may have suffered from to many food miles.
This is a versatile herb, widely used in Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and French cooking coriander is sometimes called chinese parsley, however it is really a very different plant.
It is a divisive plant, those who dislike it say it tastes/smells like soap, however when crushed this changes. Those who love it are united in its praise. And one more thing, even where they call it cilantro, its only the leaves are called cilantro, the seeds are called corriander.
Growing Coriander in the kitchen garden
Another one of those plants that is best grown from seed sown directly to the garden or container, yes it resents being transplanted.
If you are going to grow coriander from plugs make every attempt not to disturb the roots at all when planting out, or better still buy the plants in one of those biodegradable pots and plant the whole pot.
Growing Coriander from Seed
From seed try sowing in early spring as soon as the soil warms up, coriander planted later tends to bolt, this is OK if you want seeds, but not the right thing for most gardeners. The best time to sow Corianders seeds is in the UK is in March.
- Choose a position that does not receive to much afternoon sun.
- A humus rich moist but well drained soil.
- Prepare the soil well by digging over and ensuring that the soil is fine enough for the seeds to sitting snuggly.
- Cover lightly and water in with a seaweed fertiliser, moist but not wet.
- Coriander seeds will take around 3 weeks to germinate in good conditions.
When Coriander forst germinates the first two leaves may look a little 'different' the second lot of leaves will look like true Corriander leaves
As seedlings emerge thin a little to around 5cm apart. As soon as plants start to get to a good height you can start picking for use.
If you are looking at starting seeds indoors, use biodegradable pots or newspaper pots and plant out the whole container for best results. Can you grow coriander in containers, certainly, as long as you keep it moist.
Growing Coriander in Containers
- Choose a deep container to accommodate the long tap root.
- Sow the seeds and wait until they germinate.
- You can thin them, however just try to sow at a a reasonable density.
- Use an organic liquid fertiliser each week.
- Keep moist, but not wet.
Remember that with Coriander you can eat the stalks as well as the leaves, in fact the stalks have lots of flavour, so dont waste them.
A sunny position in a humus rich moist but well drained soil is best. Coriander grows well in pots. We fertilise with a liquid seaweed solution every two weeks.
Best Tips for Growing Coriander
Sow directly to the garden or grow seedlings in biodegradable pots
- Not to much sun or the plants will bolt
- Keep moist but not wet
- Pick regularly to prevent flower heads forming
- If you want seeds, choose a sunny position and do not pick.
Coriander is available for sale online from specialist herb nurseries listed.
Tel: +44 (0)1362 860812 Fax: +44 (0)1362 860812
Norfolk Herbs are growers of naturally raised culinary, medicinal and aromatic herb plants for wholesale, retail and mail order supply together with Bay Trees, Scented Pelargoniums and Hand Thrown English Garden Terracotta to give stature, colour, scent and flavour to a window-sill, patio, garden or landscape