Is it Cilantro or Coriander? The plant is called Cilantro, while the seeds are called Coriander. It is also called Chinese Parsley……yes, it belongs to the Parsley family. Call it what you’d like. But, plan on growing cilantro herbs this year, as Cilantro plants and coriander seeds have many culinary uses.
Cilantro is native to Asia and the Mediterranean regions and is a staple in Mexican cuisine. The plant has parsley-like leaves, producing a profusion of small, white flowers in the second year. The sweet-tasting seed has a pleasant odor when ripe. Cilantro plants grow up to three feet tall.
Plant height: 12 to 24″ tall. And, some varieties grow to three feet tall.
Hardiness Zones: 3 – 8
Biennial, Coriandrum Sativum
You will find this useful herb in many ethnic recipes, including Mexican, Tex-Mex, Spanish, and Asian cuisines. Al parts of the plant are edible. But, the leaves and seeds are most popular.
Use the fresh, strong-flavored Cilantro leaves chopped or as garnish. It is perhaps best known as a key ingredient in salsa. But it’s also used in soups, seafood, and main dishes.
Coriander seeds are an ingredient in curry. The seed oil is used to flavor liqueurs, candies, and sauces. Coriander seeds are used in breads, cakes, and main dishes.
Note: Seeds can also be used in potpourris. too.
Tip: Put unused sprigs in a jar, and add an inch of water. Place it in the refrigerator, for later use.
Cilantro plants are grown from seed. Directly sow Coriander seeds into your garden after all danger of frost. Cover lightly with fine garden soil. For a jump start, sow a few seeds indoors in containers, for transplanting later.
Gardening Tip: For indoor starts, we recommend using a heated germination mat, to increase the speed of germination. And, it, results in a higher germination rate.
Final Plant Spacing: Space Cilantro seedlings or thin plants to 6″ apart, in rows 2′ apart. The plants tolerate a little crowding but prefer their space.
Days to Germination: 15 – 20 days.
Days to Maturity: about 65
Cilantro plants grow well in full to partial sun, and well-drained soil. They will do well in almost any soil and are tolerant of dry soil conditions. Water plants during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general-purpose fertilizer once or twice a season.
Harvest flower heads after seeds have formed and the flower head has died. Extract Coriander seeds and dry them in a cool, dry location.
Tip: If growing for seeds, replant every year for a continuous supply.
Harvest the Coriander seeds in the second year, after the flower head has died. Cut the stems and tie them together. Hang them in a cool, dry place to dry out. Make sure to place a container under them to capture falling seeds. When dry, place flower heads in a bag and shake to harvest seeds.
Important: Make sure seeds are completely dry before storing.
Ideal pH: 5.5 – 7.0