How to Grow Cilantro/Coriander: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Cilantro/coriander (Coriandrum sativum). Cilantro is an annual leafy herb, growing up to 30 centimetres tall. Plants are also grown for their roots and seeds, which are commonly known as coriander. The leaves are frequently used in Latin cuisine and the roots and dried seeds are popular in Asian cooking.

Cultivation: Cilantro is best grown from seeds sown directly outdoors into light well-drained soil. It can also be started indoors and transplanted or grown in containers at least 15 centimetres deep to allow for its long tap root. Cilantro can be cultivated in direct sun, but leaf production will be better in part shade. Germination can be slow, taking between seven and 20 days. Keep seedlings and young plants well-watered until they are established. Cilantro plants can tolerate drier conditions, but this may accelerate bolting (flowering prematurely), especially in warm weather, causing the plant to die back. Removing flower buds can help extend the plant’s life. Bolt-resistant varieties that take longer to flower are available from specialist seed suppliers. Either way, successive plantings every three to four weeks, starting as soon as the temperature reaches 10°C, will ensure a continuous supply. The leaves, which resemble parsley, can be harvested as soon as the plant has several leaves and used fresh or frozen. When growing for seeds (coriander) allow the plant to flower and let the seeds dry on the plant before shaking them into a paper bag for storage.

Disclaimer: Toronto Master Gardeners does not advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. Any information in the recommended resources should be regarded as being for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment.

For more information:

RHS Growing: Herbs https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=679

RHS Grow your own herbs https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/herbs/coriander

Texas A & M Agrilife Extension https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/gardening/cilantro/

University of Maryland Extension https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/cilantro-coriander

West Coast Seeds https://www.westcoastseeds.com/blogs/garden-wisdom/about-cilantro

Date revised: December 2021

Prepared by the Toronto Master Gardeners, these Gardening Guides provide introductory information on a variety of gardening topics.  Toronto Master Gardeners are part of a large, international volunteer community committed to providing the public with horticultural information, education and inspiration.  Our goal is to help Toronto residents use safe, effective, proven and sustainable horticultural practices to create gardens, landscapes and communities that are both vibrant and healthy.

Statement on Invasive Plants: When choosing plants, avoid invasive plants, which can spread quickly and dominate gardens.  Invasive plants are sold by nurseries, big box stores or even at community plant sales.  Invasives may already be present in your garden.  They can invade gardens by spreading from under a neighbour’s fence or may be transported by wildlife.  For beautiful, sustainable options to invasive plants, see the Ontario Invasive Plant Council’s “Grow Me Instead – Beautiful Non-Invasive Plants for your Garden” at https://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/resources/grow-me-instead/before purchasing or accepting “gifts” of plants.

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