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How To Grow Cilantro or Coriander

Coriandrum sativum

Cilantro / Coriander in container.

An annual or biennial herb (Coriandrum sativum), of the Parsley Family, grown for it's aromatic seeds which are used for flavoring liquors and confections.

The plants, which grow about 2 feet high, are cultivated in rows about 18 inches apart, generally from seed sown in early spring. The seed heads which ripen about midsummer are gathered and dried, then beaten with light rods or flails to spearate the seeds.

The leaves are most commonly referred to as cilantro and have a much different taste from the seeds, one that is similar to parsley with a dash of citrus flavor.

Growing the Herb Cilantro or Coriander

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, containers (sow direct in final growing pots, do not transplant as root disturbance causes early bolting), and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Cilantro / Coriander usually grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches (45-60cm).

Plant Spacing

Cilantro / Coriander plants should be spaced between 9 and 12 inches (22 and 30 cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Cilantro / Coriander will grow in a relatively wide pH range between 6.1 (mildly acidic) and 7.8 (mildly alkaline), with an ideal range between 6.5 and 7.5.


From seed. Direct sow outdoors after last frost. Start seeds in propagation starter cubes or plugs indoors six weeks before planting outdoors.

Seed Germination Period

Cilantro / Coriander seeds will germinate in soil in approximately 7 to 10 days, but can germinate in as few as 5 or 6 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Rootcubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are between approximately 110 and 150 Cilantro / Coriander seeds per gram.

Soil Requirements

Cilantro / Coriander prefers a deep, fertile soil which can be either light or heavy, as long as it is well draining.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Seed to saleable plants in six weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Cilantro / Coriander grown outdoors for Coriander seed prefers full sun. Cilantro / Coriander grown outdoors for leaves can tolerate some shade.

Cilantro / Coriander will grow indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps, and exceptionally well under high output T5 fluorescent plant light, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights.

Keep standard fluorescent lamps between 2 and 4 inches from the tops of the plants, high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate a more compact, and sturdier plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Annual. Not applicable.

Water Requirements

Water regularly, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go almost dry between watering, then soak thoroughly.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Cilantro / Coriander can be susceptible to aphids, thrips, spider mites, and whitefly, but has minimal disease issues.

Companion Planting

Cilantro / Coriander benefits spinach when planted nearby and is helped by nearby plantings of beans and peas. Helps repel or distract aphids, spider mites, white flies, and potato beetle.

Special Notes

Cilantro / Coriander is known to attract bees, butterflies or birds, has fragrant blossoms and aromatic foliage. Cilantro / Coriander self-sows freely; remove flowers (deadhead) if you do not want volunteer seedlings the following season.

Buy Cilantro / Coriander Seeds by Botanical Interests

Organic Heirloom Long Standing Cilantro / Coriander Seeds
Both foliage (cilantro) & seed (coriander) make this herb one of the most useful and tasty.

Heirloom Sabor Cilantro/Coriander Seeds
Sabor is chosen for its fine stems, leafiness, slow bolting, and flavor.