How To Grow Your Own Cilantro

Here's how to make the best of this fragrant culinary herb.

December 7, 2010
A bunch of freshly picked cilantro

Many people aren't aware that cliantro seeds are also called coriander. Whatever you call it, this cool-weather annual has pale mauve flowers that bees and other pollinators just love.

Growing Guide


Soil preference: Coriander prefers sunny sites with well-drained soil.

Planting: Sow the seeds directly in the garden about ½ inch deep after the danger of frost has passed.

Spacing: After the seedlings appear, thin them to 4 inches apart and keep them evenly moist.

Fertilizing: Make sure you don't over-fertilize this herb because too much nitrogen in the soil will produce a less-flavorful plant.

Harvesting Hints
Harvest fresh coriander leaves as needed. Coriander seeds ripen and scatter quickly, so cut the entire plant as soon as the leaves and flowers turn brown. Tie the plants in bundles, and hang them upside down with a paper bag tied securely around the flowerheads to catch the seeds as they dry.

Trivia Tidbits
Greek and Roman doctors, including Hippocrates, made medicines from coriander, but it was also prized as a spice and as an ingredient in a Roman vinegar used to preserve meat. The Chinese used coriander as far back as the Han dynasty—207 b.c. to a.d. 220. At the time, it was thought that coriander had the power to make a person immortal.