Photo credit by chrismar
Cilantro is a versatile quick growing annual herb. Grow cilantro year round for a delicious addition to soups, sauces and salads. Cilantro brings a unique flavor to salsa and other Mexican foods. Cilantro is easy to grow and can be replanted for year round harvests. Why not grow cilantro in your indoor or outdoor herb garden?
Where to Plant
Grow cilantro in pots or in the ground. Using pots enables cilantro to be brought indoors for winter growing. The best pots for cilantro are made of clay. Unfinished clay pots allow cilantro better drainage. Good drainage is essential for healthy cilantro. When planting cilantro in the outdoors, be sure soil is loose and the area is slightly raised for drainage.
When to Plant
Cilantro can be planted year round in a sunny indoor window. Warm temperatures are best for outdoor growth. Plant cilantro seeds or plants outdoors when all danger of frost is gone. Seeds work well compared to other herbs. Cilantro grows rapidly. It can be replanted frequently for year round growth. Cilantro is an annual. It must be planted new each year or after plants are harvested.
Cilantro grows best in a mixture of potting soil and sand. The sand will help with drainage issues and water flow. Potting soil is formulated for optimum nutrition. Fish emulsion is the best additional fertilizer for cilantro. It can be purchased at most garden centers. Fertilize cilantro each time new seeds are planted.
Cilantro has specific watering requirements. Soak cilantro thoroughly when watering. Allow the soil to dry between watering for optimum growth. This is a common gardening technique. It mimics natural rainfall in areas where cilantro grows best. Cilantro grows best in the southwestern United States. This may explain its' widespread use in Mexican foods.
Cilantro grows rapidly. It's an ideal plant for sharing with friends and neighbors. Consider growing an extra pot of cilantro to give away. The joy of gardening comes with sharing the bounty of the harvest. Check with local food banks and other charities. Many places welcome donations of fresh garden herbs and vegetables.
Cilantro can be harvested periodically throughout the growing season. It should be clipped prior to going to seed. Clip about two inches above soil level. This can be done several times before the plant is exhausted. Plant new seed periodically to insure season long growth. This is most easily accomplished by rotating pots.
To avoid purchasing cilantro seed, grow your own. Set aside one or two plants from each growth batch to collect seed from. Rather than taking early cuttings from these plants, let them go to seed. Collect the seeds and dry them for use the following season. Several seasonal plantings should yield enough seeds for next year.
Conditions for growing cilantro are specific but not difficult to master. Anyone can grow cilantro with a little instruction. Cilantro can be grown all year if brought indoors during fall and winter. Cilantro is an annual herb. It must be replanted after harvesting. Follow the tips above for a prolific year round harvest of cilantro.