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It seems like cilantro should be an easy herb to grow. It sprouts up quickly from seed, it grows, and then… it bolts and there is nothing left! What happened?
3 Tips for Growing Cilantro
1. Cut cilantro frequently and hard. By that, I mean cut it back to about 3 inches tall. I know! It will look like little nubby stalks. Cilantro re-grows very quickly, especially when it is warm. In a week, it looks as if you never touched it.
2. When it is warm, or hot, depending on where in the summer you are, cilantro grows so quickly that it bolts, or goes to seed. Then there are no leaves left to chop into your recipe. You can still use the seed heads, which will have a stronger cilantro flavor. When the plant is in this stage, it is called coriander.
Even if you cut the plant back now, it will immediately bolt again. Look for “Bolt-resistant” seed, which can tolerate the heat a bit better. Emphasis on “a bit.”
3. Cilantro does best when it is planted each month. It lasts for 2-3 cuttings and then it is done. You are better off planting more cilantro each month than trying to baby it through a hot spell. And the hot spell always comes!
We plant cilantro every three weeks. It is the only way we can have a continuous supply of cilantro.
In cooler temperatures, such as late fall, cilantro may last for 4-5 weeks.
Cilantro is a favorite for lots of recipes—salsa might be number one! It’s great in the summer to use fresh cilantro with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers to create salsa or pico de gallo. Cilantro and lime pair well together, such as cilantro lime rice, cilantro lime crema, and cilantro lime slaw.
Cilantro is nutrient dense and has many health benefits. It is considered a detox herb, helping your body shed metals. Cilantro helps reduce blood sugar and inflammation, and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
No wonder we want cilantro around!
Cilantro is not designed to last all summer. It is not your fault, it’s just the way cilantro grows. So, just a bit tricky. The good news is that cilantro grows easily, but it does need some attention in the seeding stage.
There are heat tolerant plants which are sometimes called cilantro substitutes. This is culantro, and it is a different and stronger flavor. Since it is a completely different family of greens—eryngium foetidum– the different flavor is to be expected. We choose to grow the traditional cilantro (coriandrum sativum).
If continuous planting is not your desire, then come see us at the farm market. We have fresh cilantro all year.
Happy growing and happy eating!
If this has been helpful, check out our courses. Growing something in the garden is good for you! We share how we grow on the farm in these courses.
About Highland Orchards: Completely surrounded by suburbia, our small farm has been growing beyond expectations since 1832 in this location.
Growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, Highland Orchards provides true “farm fresh” for the community all year. If you want to shake the hand of the farmer who grows for you, here is the farm! With plants in the ground or under cover in tunnels, we grow for every season. A family farm, we have three different generations involved in running the farm right now.
Come see us to eat fresh, eat local, and eat well!