Growing Cilantro From Seed: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Grow Cilantro Vegetable Gardener Growing cilantro, Planting
How to Grow Cilantro Vegetable Gardener Growing cilantro, Planting from

If you enjoy cooking, you’ve probably encountered cilantro in many of your favorite recipes. This versatile herb adds a refreshing and distinctive flavor to dishes from various cuisines, including Mexican, Indian, and Thai. While you can purchase cilantro from a grocery store, there’s something rewarding about growing it from seed and having a fresh supply on hand whenever you need it. In this article, we will guide you through the process of growing cilantro from seed, from selecting the right seeds to caring for your plants.

Choosing the Right Seeds

Before you can start growing cilantro, you need to choose the right seeds. Look for high-quality seeds that are specifically labeled for cilantro or coriander, as they are the same plant. It’s best to choose organic seeds that are free from pesticides and other chemicals. Additionally, consider the variety of cilantro you want to grow. There are different varieties available, each with its own unique flavor and growth characteristics.

Preparing the Soil

Cilantro thrives in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Before sowing the seeds, prepare the soil by removing any weeds and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage. Cilantro prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8.

Sowing the Seeds

Sow the cilantro seeds directly into the prepared soil. The ideal time to sow cilantro seeds is in early spring or fall, as cilantro prefers cooler temperatures. Plant the seeds about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and space them about 6 to 8 inches apart. If you want a continuous supply of cilantro, sow seeds every few weeks.

Watering and Sunlight

After sowing the seeds, water the soil thoroughly. Cilantro requires consistent moisture to grow well, so make sure to water regularly, especially during dry periods. However, avoid overwatering, as cilantro can be susceptible to root rot. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist.

Cilantro prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. If you live in a hot climate, provide some afternoon shade to prevent the plants from bolting or going to seed too quickly.

Thinning and Transplanting

Once the cilantro seedlings have emerged, thin them out to give each plant enough space to grow. Remove the weaker seedlings, leaving the strongest ones spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart. Thinning helps prevent overcrowding, which can lead to poor airflow and increased susceptibility to diseases.

If you want to transplant cilantro seedlings, wait until they have developed a strong root system and are about 3 to 4 inches tall. Gently dig up the seedlings, being careful not to damage the roots. Transplant them into larger pots or directly into the garden, spacing them 6 to 8 inches apart.

Harvesting Cilantro

Cilantro leaves can be harvested when the plants are about 6 inches tall. Cut the outer leaves first, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. You can harvest the leaves as needed, but be sure not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time, as this can weaken it.

If you want to harvest cilantro seeds (coriander), let the plants bolt and produce flowers. Once the flowers fade and turn into seed pods, cut the stems and hang them upside down in a paper bag. Let the pods dry completely, and then shake out the seeds.


Growing cilantro from seed can be a rewarding experience for any home gardener. By selecting the right seeds, preparing the soil, and providing the proper care, you can enjoy a fresh supply of this flavorful herb throughout the growing season. Remember to sow the seeds in well-drained soil, water regularly, and provide adequate sunlight. Harvest the leaves when they reach the desired size, and let the plants bolt if you want to collect coriander seeds. With a little effort and patience, you’ll be able to enjoy the taste of homegrown cilantro in your favorite dishes.

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