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  • Heather Shannon

Tips for Growing Cilantro in Your Garden

Updated: May 7


Cilantro growing in the garden.
Cilantro is easy to grow.

Coriandrum Sativum. Both cilantro (leaves and stems) and coriander (seeds) come from the same plant. Here we are referencing cilantro, the leaves and stem portion of the plant, but know that coriander seeds can be harvested from your plant if permitted to grow long enough.

Cilantro is an easy herb to grow, adds a tart, citrusy flavor to foods, and contains many health benefits. When we grow our own herbs, we save money, know they are pesticide and contaminate-free, and have a ready supply of fresh-cut flavors on hand for any occasion. Here are some basic tips to ensure you have plenty of cilantro available all summer long!


Prepare the Soil: Cilantro prefers well-drained soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Ensure the soil is loose and not compacted. When starting seeds indoors, use sterilized soil to help avoid pests.


Planting Seeds: Sow cilantro seeds directly into the garden bed or a container. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and space them 2 inches apart.


Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate. Water regularly, but be careful not to overwater as cilantro doesn't like waterlogged soil.


Sunlight: Cilantro grows best in full sun to partial shade. Ensure it receives at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, with shade during the day's heat. Note that once mature, cilantro tends to bolt in extreme heat.


Thinning: Once the seedlings have sprouted and developed their first true leaves, thin them to about 6 inches apart to give them space to grow. Note that if you are growing cilantro for its leaves they can be closer together, and if for the seeds (coriander), then increase spacing to 8-10 inches apart.


Cliantro seedling with first true leaves.
Wait until cilantro gets its true leaves before thinning.

Harvesting: You can start harvesting cilantro leaves when the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Cilantro grows fast and will go from seed to harvest in about 6 weeks. Snip the leaves from the outer parts of the plant, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. If harvested correctly, each plant will usually continue producing new leaves for a month or two.


Succession Planting: To ensure a continuous harvest, plant new cilantro seeds every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the growing season.


When deciding what to plant with or near Cilantro choosing the right companion plants can help it thrive and enhance flavors while the wrong companions can stunt its growth.


Cilantro and basil growing near eachother.
Cilantro and basil make good companion plants.

Good companion plants for cilantro:

  1. Basil: Enhances flavor and repels pests like aphids, spider mites, and mosquitoes.

  2. Chervil: A beneficial companion that improves cilantro's growth and flavor.

  3. Dill: Both plants benefit from each other's presence and attract beneficial insects.

  4. Lettuce: Provides shade and helps keep the soil moist, creating a good environment for cilantro.


Plants to avoid planting near cilantro:

  1. Fennel: Cilantro and fennel are allelopathic, meaning they inhibit each other's growth.

  2. Anise: Similar to fennel, anise can stunt the growth of cilantro.

  3. Lavender: Medetterian herbs like lavender prefer drier soil than cilantro requires.


Like many herbs, cilantro can naturally help regulate pests, repelling the bad and attracting the beneficial.


Pest control benefits of cilantro: Cilantro produces a strong aroma that can help repel pests like aphids, spider mites, and potato beetles. Additionally, it attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps, which prey on aphids and other harmful pests.


Cilantro attracts ladybugs to the garden.
Cilantro attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs.

Preserving:

  1. Extend your fresh-cut cilantro by placing it in a jar of water like you would a bouquet.

  2. Wash and pat cilantro dry and store in the refrigerator.

  3. Wash, pat dry, place in a freezer bag, and freeze for later use.

  4. Wash, pat dry, blend with a small amount of olive oil, and freeze into cubes.

  5. Cilantro may also be dried but will lose much flavor in this process.


Grow cilantro for its flavor, health, and pest control benefits! Happy growing!

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