How to Grow and Care for Cilantro

Are you thinking of how to grow and care for Cilantro? Using cilantro leaves while cooking dishes is a common practice in Asian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cuisine. A dash of chopped fresh cilantro leaves can enhance the flavor of curries, daal, salads, pasta, and oven-baked foods.

Do you often use cilantro leaves or coriander seeds in your cooking? Then you can grow and take care of this flavorsome plant in your garden. Even if you have limited space in your home, you will be able to grow plentiful good cilantro indoors with a few tips and little care by taking a look at this article.

How to plant and Care for Cilantro

Benefits of Cilantro

Consuming an excessive amount of cilantro leaves regularly can create health issues like a bloated stomach and nausea in some people. If you are not allergic to eating cilantro, you can use a moderate amount of fresh leaves or spice regularly in several dishes. 

Though cilantro is popular for enhancing flavor and aroma, it has several health benefits too that most of us don’t know.

1. Packed with Nutrients:

Cilantro is a great source of  Vitamin C, K, and A which are essential for our health. Regular intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin A boosts the immune system of our body. The function of Vitamin K is also very important as it protects our bones and helps to heal from any injuries faster.

 If you use 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves or 1 tablespoon of cilantro spice, you will get 2% Vitamin C, 5% of vitamin A, and 16% of Vitamin K with almost 0 calories. Thus, it’s a very healthy addition to dishes if you are on a diet or practicing clean eating.

2. Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant:

Cilantro contains anti-inflammatory properties like Linoleic Acid and Cineole that reduce the inflammation of your skin. A regular intake of cilantro will help in reducing the inflammation of the body and give your skin a healthy glow.

If you are worried about the increasing problems with your skin, you may try including cilantro in your food regularly. Cilantro has antioxidant elements like Carotenoids, Terpenoids, Polyphenols, and Sterols that remove toxins and free radicals from the blood while making your skin youthful.

3. Boosts Brain and Cardio Health:

A regular intake of cilantro helps in managing stress, blood pressure, and anxiety which is beneficial to your cardio health. We all know how anxiety and unmanaged stress affect our internal organs. Thus it can be used as a relaxant.

The more your body will be able to manage stress, the more your nerves will calm down providing a good sleep. Improved mental health and good sleeping habit are very essential for boosting our memory and brain health too.

4. Great Aid for Menstrual Health:

Several women face excessive cramps, bloating, and abdominal uneasiness during their menstrual cycle. Regular intake of cilantro seeds or coriander is beneficial to improve these menstrual issues.

These seeds contain properties that aid in improving the function of hormones as well as managing menstrual health.

Try Cilantro Tea , Dried Leaf and Lime Dressing

Vietnamese Cilantro :

Vietnamese Cilantro is mostly used in the North-East Indian and southeast Asian cuisine and has several local names like laksa leaf, hot mint, phak phai, and rau ram. You can easily identify the plant by looking at the thin dark green leaves that have blackish-brown or maroon marks on both sides.

Vietnamese Cilantro

The plant dies fast in the hot climate when the temperature reaches 32 degrees celsius and bolts more slowly than the other cilantro varieties. Thus, growing Vietnamese cilantro will provide you with a great harvest for a longer period if you can ensure enough shade and water. The fresh leaves have a strong flavor similar to pepper which goes well with salads, curries, and meat stew.

Culantro :

You can identify cilantro plants by looking at the leaves which are long, thin, and similar to lettuce leaves. It is also known as spiny coriander which has a maximum height of 1 foot after fully growing up. Though the leaves love full sun, you need to place the plant in a moderately shaded place with moist soil for late bolting.


Like other varieties of the cilantro plant, cilantro leaves have a very strong smell which enhances the flavor of different curries. It also has some medicinal benefits to aid in reducing high blood pressure and the symptoms of epilepsy

Indian Summer Cilantro :

If you are a beginner in gardening, Indian summer cilantro may not be a great choice for you to start growing as they get affected by pests often and need moderate maintenance. 

Indian Summer Cilantro

You can identify this plant by its green serrated and small leaves. The plant grows up to 2 and ½ feet in height. This cilantro variety goes better with Indian cuisine like biriyani, traditional curries, and stir-fried vegetables due to its strong peppery flavor.

Long-Standing Cilantro :

Long-standing cilantro is also known as Chinese parsley which is widely used in Asian, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisine. The flavor of the fresh leaves pairs well with chicken curry or stew. The spice is used to enhance the flavor of lentils and baked cookies.

Sweet Basil

You can identify the plant easily with its long and thin stem with dark green, small, serrated, and flat leaves. The plant grows up to 2 feet tall and can grow well in containers. Place the container in a partly shaded place for late bolting and a longer harvest period.

Mexican Coriander :

If you are a beginner or a busy person who is searching for a low-maintenance plant, you can select Mexican coriander for your garden. They are beneficial for companion plants as they attract butterflies for boosting pollination.

Mexican Coriander

The leaves of Mexican coriander are almost similar to culantro as they have long and serrated leaves. Besides using in several dishes, the leaves also can be used to aid snake bites and small burns. You can also boil the leaves to make an herbal tea that can reduce flu and inflammation.

Delfino Cilantro :

Due to its thin and dark green leaves that are similar to fern, you can easily identify Delfino from the other varieties of cilantro plants. The freshly chopped leaves have a strong parsley flavor with a hint of citrus that goes well with garden salads, and Mexican salsa. The spice can be used in soups too.

Delfino Cilantro

Delfino cilantro is a low-maintenance plant that grows well in a cool or partly shaded place. Thus, to prevent fast bolting, keep the potted Delfino indoors beside a window where it will get both shade and warmth of sunlight.

How to Grow Cilantro from Seed ?

As Cilantro plants grow well between 10-29 degrees Celsius, you need to ensure that the weather is cold enough while planting the seeds. Though you can plant cilantro seeds both indoors and outdoors, it is advised to grow cilantro indoors in pots to ensure a longer period of harvest. Follow these simple steps to grow cilantro from seeds.

  1. Seeds Preparation

    If you are using coriander seeds from your previous cilantro plant, you need to prepare the seeds before planting. The seeds are covered in a light brown crust that has a hard texture. 

    At first, remove the crust by hand and soak the seeds in water for 1 to 2 days. Separate the water from the seeds by using a sieve and dry them well.

  2. Indoor Planting Prepation

    If you are planting cilantro seeds indoors, take a clay container that is 8 inches in width or a plastic container that is 18 inches in width. Fill the container with a light potting mix.

    If you are planting cilantro seeds in your outdoor garden, select a partly shaded spot that can get exposure to full sun for 6 hours daily. Prepare the soil bed with loose, well-drained, and organic soil. Keep a space of 1-2 inches while planting seeds.

  3. Soil Watering

    To help with the fast sprouting of cilantro seeds,  you need to water the soil weekly. Ensure the soil bed or container has a good drainage system so that the water does not make the soil clogged.

    After germination of the seedlings, provide them with about 1 inch of water every week to boost the healthy growth of leaves.

  4. Planting seeds after germination

    After germination, you need to replant the seedlings by providing a gap of six inches between each other in the soil bed or containers. This space will allow proper circulation of air for their healthy growth.

How to Take Care of Cilantro Plants ?

Full Sunlight:

Full bright sunlight with coll temperature is an ideal condition for cilantro for fast growth. As we know that cilantro plants do not cope well and bolt fast in hot temperatures, you need to plan strategically while feeding it with sunlight. If your plant is growing outdoor, select a partly shaded place where it will get exposure to full sun for six hours. The shade will save your plant from the scorching heat of noon.

If your cilantro is growing indoors, you can place the container beside the window to get exposure to sunlight when the temperature is a bit cooler. When the temperature exceeds 29 degrees Celcius, you can transfer the pot to a cooler or air-conditioned place.


Cilantro plants need regular watering every week for their healthy growth. You need to remember that they do not cope well with water-clogged soil. After the seedlings are grown enough, you do not need to water the plant often.

Thus, refrain from overwatering the plants and use well-drained soil for absorbing the excess water. If you are using pots for growing cilantro, try to use pots with several drainage holes to help balance the moisture of the soil. 

Regular Pruning and Weeding

Regular pruning is very essential for the boost of healthy cilantro leaves and a thick bushier shape to your plant. Start pruning by 1 inch while your plant is in the growing stage. After it grows almost 6 inches tall, you should start harvesting the leaves regularly for getting maximum harvest before it enters the bolting period.  You should also trim the thin branches to give your plant a fuller look.

Weeds are harmful as they create impediments for your plants to getting essential nutrients from the soil. Whenever you notice the growth of weeds in the soil, clear them as soon as you can. To reduce the rapid growth of weeds, you can also consider covering the soil with mulch.

Pests and Diseases

Though the strong smell of cilantro tends to keep away several varieties of pests and bugs, the plants are not entirely immune from some of the pests and diseases. Pests like Beet Armyworms and Green Peach Aphids are harmful to the healthy growth of cilantro plants.

Beet Armyworms attack the cilantro seedlings and fed on the young leaves. The Green Peach Aphids create deformation in the cilantro leaves by leaving them curled.

Cilantro plants are also affected by diseases like Bacterial Leaf Spot and Apium Virus Y. If attacked by the  Bacterial Leaf Spot,  the healthy green leaves are covered with dark spots and get severely damaged. On the other hand, Apium Virus Y attacks the young cilantro seedlings by turning the leaves into yellow or orangish colors.

Once the attack is in the initial stage, you can remove the infected leaves to reduce the spread. If the infection is in the final stage, you should remove the entire plant and provide enough air circulation so the other cilantro plants do not get infected too.

Companion Planting :

Companion planting cilantro with other plants is a great way to attract beneficial bees as well as butterflies for pollination and boost the healthy growth of plants. The strong smell of cilantro helps protect its companion plants from the attack of several bugs and insects. While planting, you have to leave enough space so that the companion plants are close enough to provide cilantro with needed shade but do not get intertwined with each other.

Plants like peas and beans are known for boosting Nitrogen in the soil. Thus, if you can plant cilantro beside these two crops in the soil bed, it will get some nutrient benefits too. The other great companion planting options for cilantro are- tomato, lettuce, kale, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. These plants will protect your delicate cilantro plants from hot temperatures with their wide leaves.

Harvesting Cilantro Seeds in the Right way

By following some simple steps, you can collect coriander seeds from cilantro plants for further use. Take a look at the easy process-

  • When your cilantro plants go through the bolting process, do not cut the flowers and allow them to produce seeds.
  • First, you need to collect the seed heads from the cilantro flowers. Pay attention to the flowers for trimming down the seed heads once they are drying and turn into brown color.
  • Take a paper bag and put the seed heads inside the bag for a few days. 
  • After the seedheads release the seeds, keep them in a dry and cool place.
  • Store the coriander seeds in an air-tight container for further use.

FAQs on How to Plant and Care for Cilantro

Should you let cilantro flower?

Yes, you should let cilantro flower. If you see your cilantro plant producing flowers, it means that bolting has been started in it. 

This process is responsible for reducing the harvest as well as the flavor of cilantro leaves. You do not need to remove the flowers so that they can produce seeds for later usage.

How do I make my cilantro thicker?

Regular harvesting of the leaves will make your cilantro plants thicker and bushier. While harvesting, spare some cilantro leaves so that they can grow rapidly and help produce more leaves.

How long do cilantro plants last?

Cilantro plants do not cope well with hot temperatures. If you are growing them during the fall or winter season, they will last as long as the weather is cold. Otherwise, they do not last much longer.

Why is my cilantro plant falling over?

Your cilantro plants may fall over due to several factors. It might be for hot temperatures or nutrient deficiency. 

You should also pay attention to balancing the watering of your plants for their healthy growth. Excess water or less water can also make cilantro wilted.

Why are my cilantro leaves skinny?

If the thickness of the cilantro leaves is noticeable visible, it means that bolting has started in your plant. Thus, your cilantro leaves are skinny and give less harvest due to bolting.

Does cilantro grow better inside or outside?

As cilantro copes well with cooler temperatures and shaded places, it grows better inside. If you are looking for a growing a herb in your indoor garden or kitchen, you can choose cilantro without thinking twice.

Why is coriander called cilantro?

People often confuse cilantro and coriander as being different plants. Cilantro is a Spanish word which is known as coriander in English. 

Though the seeds of the coriander plant are known as coriander seeds, the branches and leaves are called cilantro. Thus, Cilantro and coriander are similar plants that are called differently by people.

Summary :

Though cilantro can be grown both indoors and outdoor, I always prefer growing them indoors in pots. Try keeping the pot in your kitchen so that you can frequently harvest the leaves whenever you need. Give a try to follow the basic guidelines to grow and maintain cilantro.

If you can follow these tips properly, you will be able to produce good and healthy cilantro leaves by yourself in no time.

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