Grow Cilantro from Seed
Water and Thin Your Cilantro Seedlings
When to Harvest Your Cilantro
Cilantro is an annual herb that offers two distinct flavors from different parts of the plant. The lacy leaves add their pungent, citrusy flavor to many Mexican and Asian dishes. The seeds, generally known as coriander, have a lemony flavor when ground and used as a spice.
Sow cilantro seeds in early spring, after the last frost. If your winters are mild and summers extremely hot, sow seeds in fall. Plant the seeds in well-drained, slightly acidic soil in a sunny or partially shaded location where they can stay. Because cilantro plants have deep taproots, they don't tolerate transplanting.
After planting, keep cilantro seeds and seedlings evenly moist. Gradually thin the seedlings to about a foot apart.
The lower leaves of cilantro are the ones you want for cooking. You can begin picking them when several stems have developed. Cut the heads when seedpods begin to turn brown, then hang them upside down in paper bags to catch the seeds for coriander.
Heat dissipates the flavor of cilantro, so add the leaves to cooked food just before serving. Leaves can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They can also be dried for later use, but the flavor is much milder.