by Jennifer Poindexter
Are you interested in growing more herbs around your garden? Herbs are a wonderful way to add more flavor to your foods, are great for making homemade teas, and even to use as DIY insect repellent. If you’re growing more herbs, cilantro should be on your list. Growing cilantro is very basic, it smells delicious, looks beautiful when growing in the garden, and it’s from the same family as parsley.
Therefore, if you enjoy parsley, cilantro might be an herb you enjoy as well. Ready to try growing cilantro in your garden? Here’s what you need to know to start on the right foot.
Growing Conditions for Cilantro
Cilantro doesn’t require much in the way of growing conditions. Like most plants, it prefers fluffy, well-draining soil.
Sandy soil is a good option for cilantro because of its draining abilities. However, cilantro can thrive in most soils as long as it’s nutrient-rich.
Cilantro should also be planted in full sun. The biggest necessity, when it comes to growing cilantro, is the right temperature.
This herb prefers mild temperatures between 50- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures exceed 85-degrees, the plants will be encouraged to bolt.
Plant where there’s well-draining soil, high in nutrients, and where the plants can receive ample sunlight. Ensure it’s the right time of year for the plant to grow in ideal temperatures, and you should have few problems when raising this herb.
How to Plant Cilantro
Planting cilantro is a breeze compared to some plants. For starters, you don’t need to start it indoors no matter where you live.
Cilantro takes off so quickly, it would be ready to harvest by the time you transplanted it outdoors. Therefore, you can skip this step all together.
Once you’ve found the right grow space and created the proper growing conditions, plant the cilantro from seed.
The seeds should be planted two inches apart, approximately ½ inch deep. Your rows should be one foot apart. Seeds will only take one week to germinate.
Ensure the soil stays moist during the germination period. Once the seeds have sprouted, thin them to where there’s eight inches of space between each plant.
Your cilantro is now well on its way to producing delicious herbs you’ll be able to enjoy in a variety of ways.
How to Care for Cilantro
Cilantro has only three basic needs. The first is water. Like all plants, this one needs water to survive. You should keep the soil moist during germination.
After germination, cilantro is surprisingly drought tolerant. It’s a good idea to keep a rain gauge near your plants.
If they receive an inch of rain per week, you shouldn’t need to water them. However, if rain doesn’t come, it’s wise to supplement by watering.
Cilantro can be watered deeply. This means you water for longer periods, fewer days of the week. To know when to water, stick your finger into the soil next to the plant.
If you find the soil is dry to the first knuckle, it’s time to apply water. If not, wait a while before having another deep watering session.
The next need cilantro has is fertilizing. This herb should be fertilized twice a month, with a balanced fertilizer, once the sprouts have reached two- to three-inches in height.
The final thing you should do to care for cilantro is prune it. When the plants begin to flower, this is a sign they’re feeling old and creating seeds for the next generation.
If you’re growing cilantro to harvest the seeds, let them be. This is where coriander seeds come from. However, if you’d like more growth from the foliage, cut the plant back to make it feel youthful again and prolong the grow season.
By providing these few basic needs, your cilantro should do well while growing in your garden area.
Garden Pests and Diseases for Cilantro
Remember when I told you that cilantro was an extremely basic plant to grow? I wasn’t kidding. Not only is it easy to plant and easy to care for, but there are few pests and diseases which bother it.
In fact, there are no common pests to mention here because cilantro is used as a pest repellent. However, there are a few diseases you should be aware of.
The diseases which most commonly impact cilantro are powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot. Powdery mildew looks like a fine powder has been sprinkled over your crops.
Bacterial leaf spot will cause discoloration on the foliage of your plants. If you see signs of either of these things occurring, treat the plants with a fungicide immediately.
You can avoid these diseases by mulching around your plants. This will help keep the soil off the plants when watering. It will also help hold moisture in the soil around your plants.
Also, be sure to watch your spacing when planting cilantro. By providing adequate space between plants, it allows for airflow to surround the foliage and dry any moisture which might be a proper breeding ground for fungus.
By staying alert to these few threats, your cilantro should be able to overcome any hurtle it might encounter in your garden.
How to Harvest Cilantro
Cilantro grows quickly. Approximately thirty days after planting, you should begin the harvesting process.
When the foliage are about four- to six-inches long, you can begin trimming them away for use. Use a pair of scissors or garden shears to trim the leaves away from the stem.
Bring your harvest indoors, rinse under cold water, and store inside a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel, and wrapped herbs, inside an airtight bag. Store in your fridge for later use.
You may also harvest the coriander seeds. Wait until the plant has flowered. Two weeks after flowering, you should begin seeing seed pods form on the plants.
Remove the pods from the plants and put them upside down in a brown paper sack. You can hang the sack from a pantry shelf.
Overtime, the seeds will become ripe and be released from the pod. Once released, they’ll fall into the sack where you can easily collect them.
Store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them later.
Cilantro is an amazing herb to grow. It’s a wonderful choice for a new gardener or someone who wants to add more flavor to their meals.
The crop is easy-to-grow, easy to care for, doesn’t have many threats in the garden, and it gives you two products from one plant. If you ever needed a reason to try to grow this herb, you now have four. Give it a try and see what you think!