The herb seed called coriander and the herb leaf called cilantro grow from the same plant. Coriander is a warm-weather annual. Sow coriander in the garden in spring 2 to 3 weeks after the last expected frost date. Coriander requires 75 days or more to reach harvest; for seed harvest allow 100 days.
Description. Coriander is a frost-sensitive annual with feathery, finely divided leaves growing on stems from 18 to 36 inches tall. Coriander leaves, known as cilantro, resemble flat-leafed parsley. Blossoms in spring and summer are tiny white to pale pink flower clusters. The plant sets small round, ribbed, beige-colored seeds in late summer.
Yield. Grow one to two coriander plants per household. Plant successive crops every two weeks for a continuous supply or cilantro leaves.
Site. Plant coriander in full sun; it will tolerate light shade. Coriander grows best in well-drained but moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds in advance with aged compost. Coriander prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.7.
Planting time. Coriander is a warm-weather annual. Sow coriander in the garden in spring as early as 2 to 3 weeks after the last expected frost date. Cilantro leaves come to harvest 60 to 75 days after sowing. To harvest coriander seed, the plant requires 100 or more days. Time late plantings so that harvest comes before the first hard frost. Coriander will die back in freezing weather. Succession plant coriander every two weeks for a continuous supply of leaves. Coriander grows a taproot and is best sown in place.
Planting and spacing. Sow coriander seed ¼ to ½ inch deep; thin successful seedlings from 8 to 12 inches apart. Space rows 12 to 15 inches apart.
Water and feeding. Keep coriander evenly moist throughout the growing season. Do not let plants dry out. Avoid overhead watering as plants reach maturity; overhead water or rain can reduce seed yield. Add aged compost to the planting bed in advance of planting. Do not fertilize at midseason.
Companion plants. Caraway, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, fruit trees.
Care. Keep planting beds weed free to reduce competition for nutrients and light. Tall stems may require staking.
Propagation: Seed; cilantro is very slow to germinate; does not transplant well
Container growing. Coriander can be container grown as an annual. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep. Coriander produces a taproot. In cold-winter regions, over-winter coriander in an unheated garage or covered patio.
Pests. Coriander has no serious pest problems.
Diseases. Coriander has no serious disease problems.
Harvest. Snip cilantro leaves for fresh use after the plant is 6 inches tall or more. Pick just the top 2 to 3 inches to ensure continuous growth. Continue picking leaves until the plant flowers. Snip off the tops of stems before the plant flowers for continued harvest of leaves. For coriander seeds, allow plants to flower; seed will be ready for harvest 2 to 3 weeks after flowering when they turn light brown. The seeds are small, only about ⅛ inch in diameter. Harvest them when they dry but before they fall to the ground.
More tips at: Cilantro and Coriander: Kitchen Basics
Varieties. Some seed growers designate coriander for seed only or for leaf only production.
Storing and preserving. Leaves are best used fresh but can be dried and stored in an airtight container. Fresh leaves can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week; place the stems in water and put a plastic bag over the leaves to retain the aroma. Dried seeds can be stored for several months in an airtight container. Seeds are usually scalded in hot water to protect them from insects, but hot water treated seeds can not be planted later.
Use: flavoring, liqueurs, medicine, cosmetics, perfume
Common name. Coriander, cilantro, Chinese parsley
Botanical name. Coriandrum sativum
Origin. Europe, Asia Minor, Russia