The Q&A Archives: cilantro

Question: I live in the upper south region.I bought a starter herb of cilantro. How do I keep it growing? thanks.

Answer: Cilantro is the most difficult herb to grow because it is so short lived and it needs cool temperatures to grow well. Many people think that they have killed Cilantro because it doesn't last very long after they purchase plants at their local nursery. Cilantro will bolt (send up a flower stalk) as soon as the roots get above 75 degrees or so. This happens really quick in a small 3" pot in hot sun in a yard. Cilantro needs to be grown in early spring or fall when the weather is cool. It requires mostly sunshine but can be grown in morning sun and afternoon shade.

Growing it in the ground with mulch on top of the roots helps keep the soil cooler longer. With the best conditions Cilantro will last about 8-10 weeks before flowering. Once it does flower, it will make seeds which can be harvested as Coriander or replanted to grow more Cilantro plants.

Many people grow Cilantro by seeding it every 3 weeks or so and have a patch growing all summer long. Planting it very close together shades the roots and helps keep it cool.

To harvest Cilantro, you can begin cutting as soon as the plant is about 6" tall by removing the outer leaves and leaving the growing point intact for the new leaves to grow from. Another method is to wait till the plant is almost completely grown and pull it up by its roots to use the whole bunch at once.

Best wishes with your cilantro!

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