Everything you need to know about growing coriander
Growing coriander is a great way to have fresh herbs for your kitchen and enjoy a pleasant fragrance while it’s growing. The leaves of the coriander plant are commonly known as cilantro, and they taste quite differently from the seeds. The seeds are used to flavor liquors and sweets, while the leaves offer a flavor similar to parsley and are used in a wide variety of everyday dishes.
The only bad thing about growing coriander is that it is a very fragile plant. It’s quite difficult to transplant coriander successfully, so you will want to either grow the herbs indoors or outdoors without a transplant between the two locations. Just remember that coriander can grow to be up to two feet tall, so you’ve got to plan ahead a little more if you plant to grow the herb inside.
You’ll find that growing coriander requires soil that is well tilled and full of nutrients. You’ll need soil with a pH of between 6.1 and 7.8. That’s quite a wide range for a soil pH, so it should be pretty easy to attain and maintain it. If you’re growing the coriander entirely outside, then you should plant the seeds in May. This will ensure that a frost won’t sneak up on you and wipe out your coriander plants. Plant the seeds about a half inch below the surface and cover them with soil and compost. Make sure you keep the seeds about an inch apart, and choose a spot that gets a lot of sunlight. If you’re growing your coriander indoors, then make sure it’s located in a sunny window. If you don’t have one, then you can simulate sunlight by using fluorescent light, but it will require about eight hours of artificial light for the coriander plants to get enough nutrients. That’s compared to about four hours of actual sunlight.
Coriander seeds take about two weeks to germinate. Once your seedlings are about an inch tall, then you will probably want to thin down your coriander to about six inches apart. You can also keep sowing coriander seed throughout the season to make sure you have a fresh supply of the herb all throughout.
Every few weeks while you’re growing coriander, you’ll want to add a liquid fertilizer to the soil. Make sure you keep the soil somewhat moist, but be sure not to overwater your coriander. The herb won’t survive standing in water, so it’s very important that the soil drains well. You’ll know it’s time to start harvesting your coriander when it’s about six to eight inches in height. Make sure you harvest the most mature leaves when you do start cutting coriander. This will ensure that your plants continue to grow more and more of the herb.
If you harvest more coriander than what you can use, it’s very easy to store. Just hang dry the stems upside down in a dark place for a couple of weeks or leave them out on racks to dry in the sun.