If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow herb that can add a lot of flavor to your cooking, cilantro is a great choice. In this complete guide, we’ll show you how to grow cilantro at home, including tips on choosing the right location, preparing the soil, planting the seeds, thinning the plants, and watering them. We’ll also give you some ideas on how to use cilantro in soups, stews, salads, salsa, guacamole, Asian dishes, Middle Eastern dishes, and more. Plus, we’ll share some tips on storing cilantro so it stays fresh longer.
The Benefits of Growing Cilantro at Home.
Cilantro is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family. It is easy to grow from seed and doesn’t require much care. Cilantro will self-seed, so you may have cilantro plants coming up in places you don’t want them. But, if you do want more cilantro plants, it’s easy to grow them from the seeds of the plant.
Cilantro Is Versatile.
Cilantro can be used in a variety of dishes, both cooked and raw. It has a distinctive flavor that some people love and others find soapy or medicinal. If you’re not sure whether you like cilantro, try it in small amounts at first. The flavor of cilantro is enhanced when it is chopped or crushed, so add it toward the end of cooking time or just before serving a dish.
Cilantro Is Nutritious.
Cilantro is a good source of vitamins A and K, and a fair source of iron and calcium. It also contains compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
How to Grow Cilantro at Home.
Cilantro grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. If you live in an area with hot summers, choose a spot that gets afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from wilting. Cilantro also prefers well-drained soil. If your garden has heavy clay soil, consider planting cilantro in a raised bed or container.
Prepare the Soil.
Before planting, work some organic matter into the top few inches of soil to improve drainage and add nutrients. You can use compost, rotted leaves, or aged manure. If you’re using manure, be sure it’s well-rotted so it doesn’t burn the roots of your plants. Cilantro is not a heavy feeder, so you don’t need to amend the soil with fertilizer unless a soil test indicates it’s necessary.
Sow the Seeds.
Cilantro seeds are small, so it’s best to sow them directly in the garden rather than starting them indoors. Sow the seeds in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked, or in late summer for a fall crop. To sow the seeds, make shallow furrows about 1/4 inch deep and 1 foot apart. Scatter the seeds thinly in the furrows and lightly rake them into the soil. Water gently to avoid washing away the seeds.
Thin the Plants
As the seedlings emerge, thin them so they are spaced 6 to 8 inches apart. If you want to harvest cilantro leaves throughout the growing season, thinning isn’t necessary and you can let the plants grow close together (about 4 inches apart). When thinning seedlings, snip them off at ground level with scissors rather than pulling them up so you don’t disturb nearby plants.
Water The Plants
Cilantro has shallow roots and needs consistent moisture to grow well. Water regularly during dry weather so that the soil stays moist but not soggy—aim for 1 inch of water per week from rain or irrigation. If the leaves start to wilt, that’s a sign the plants need water. Mulching with an organic material such as shredded leaves or straw will help keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from competing with your cilantro plants.
How to Use Cilantro.
Cilantro can be used as a garnish for soups and stews. It can also be used to add flavor to these dishes.
In Salads and Salad Dressings.
Cilantro can be used in salads and salad dressings. It can also be used to add flavor to these dishes.
In Salsa and Guacamole.
Cilantro is a common ingredient in salsa and guacamole. It can also be used to add flavor to these dishes.
In Asian Dishes.
Cilantro is a common ingredient in Asian dishes, such as stir-fries and curries. It can also be used to add flavor to these dishes.
In Middle Eastern Dishes.
Cilantro is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes, such as hummus and tabbouleh salad. It can also be used to add flavor to these dishes.
Tips for Storing Cilantro.
To store cilantro in the refrigerator, first wash the leaves and allow them to dry completely. Then, place the cilantro in a plastic bag with holes punched in it or wrap it in a damp paper towel. Store the cilantro in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
In the Freezer.
You can also store cilantro in the freezer by washing and drying the leaves, then chopping them finely. Place the chopped cilantro in a plastic bag and freeze it for up to six months.
If you want to dried cilantro, tie bunches of washed and dried leaves together and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place until the leaves are crisp. Once dry, strip the leaves from the stems and crumble them into a jar or spice grinder. Store dried cilantro in an airtight container for up to six months.
FAQs about Growing Cilantro.
How long does it take for cilantro to grow?
It takes cilantro between 2 and 3 weeks to germinate, and then it will be another 4 to 6 weeks until the plant is ready to harvest.
When is the best time to plant cilantro?
The best time to plant cilantro is in the spring, after the last frost has passed. You can also plant cilantro in the fall, though you may need to provide some protection from cold weather.
What are the best conditions for growing cilantro?
Cilantro prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. The plants will also do well in partial shade, but they may not produce as much foliage. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy, and you may need to water more often in hot weather.
How do I know when my cilantro is ready to harvest?
You can start harvesting cilantro leaves when they are about 2-3 inches long. For a continuous supply of leaves, you can keep cutting them back as needed. The plants will eventually flower and produce seed pods, which can be harvested and used as spices or dried and saved for planting next year.
What should I do if my cilantro starts to bolt?
If your cilantro starts to bolt (send up a flower stalk), it means that it is going to seed. This usually happens in hot weather or when the plants have been stressed by lack of water or nutrients. Once a plant bolts, it will no longer produce leaves, so you will need to remove it and start again with new seedlings.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow herb that can add a lot of flavor to your cooking, cilantro is a great option. Growing cilantro at home is also very economical, since a little goes a long way in terms of flavor. In this guide, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about growing cilantro at home, from choosing the right location and preparing the soil to harvesting and storing your crop. We’ve also included some tips on how to use cilantro in different dishes. So whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, we hope this guide will help you get the most out of your cilantro plants.