Growing Cilantro

Growth Cycles of Cilantro

The Cilantro plant is sensitive to heat and cold. It quickly grows to be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 feet in height. The leaves are similar looking to parsley, but with a wonderful fragrance. When the weather becomes too warm, the plant goes into what is known as “bolting,” where it converts all of its energy into seeding. First it will shoot stems higher than the regular plant, where it will bloom small white pedaled flowers. These flowers, when pollinated, are where the seeds are generated and later harvested. At this point, the leaves have become bitter, and are no longer recommended to harvest. Depending on your winter, and if it is mild enough, you will have continuous harvesting of the leaves from the plant between the dead heat of summer, and the frost of winter. The leaves will even withstand a mild frost.

Preferred Conditions of Growing Cilantro

When growing Cilantro, the plants prefer full sun. As they are sensitive to over watering, make sure they are in well drained soil. The PH should be between 6.0 to 6.9 for maximum nutrient intake. It should have a well balanced fertilizer. Because we are aiming to harvest it’s leaves, the plant will be consuming mostly nitrogen, and you should prepare to fertilize with this in mind. 25-0-0 works best.

Grow Zones of Cilantro

Growing cilantro can be done in almost every zone, as it is found all over the world. The only consideration, is the heat, for timing of harvesting. If you’re in zone 8, 9, or 10, it is considered more effective to grow as a cool weather crop. All others, will be grown in the traditional spring to fall scenario. The cilantro plant will eventually “bolt,” which means take off with fast growing chutes, which produce white flowers. These are what produce the coriander seeds. It happens around 75 degrees and warmer, so be prepared!

When to Begin Growing Cilantro

If you are in zones 8, 9, and 10, it is recommended to plant at the end of summer, as the cilantro plant will be able to last all the way to the next summer, before bolting! All other zones, plant 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost. A tip for continuous harvesting, is to plant a row of seeds, 1 to 2 inches deep, while 1 to 2 inches apart. Two weeks later, plant another row of seeds, 1 to 2 inches apart, but 12 inches away from the first.

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