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Growing Cilantro (Coriander)

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Get more bang for your gardening buck with cilantro. Use leaves in Mexican dishes and seeds (coriander) in Eastern cuisine.

Native to the Mediterranean, cilantro (or coriander) is a necessary flavor for a variety of ethnic cuisines. Although it looks similar to parsley, cilantro's aroma and flavor is very distinctive. The herb's leaves are called cilantro, and are commonly used in Mexican or Southwestern foods, while the seeds are called coriander and often used in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.


Native to the Mediterranean, cilantro (or coriander) is a necessary flavor for a variety of ethnic cuisines. Although it looks similar to parsley, cilantro's aroma and flavor is very distinctive. The herb's leaves are called cilantro, and are commonly used in Mexican or Southwestern foods, while the seeds are called coriander and often used in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.

Cilantro is best when planted from seed directly into the ground. Its root is very delicate and can be damaged during transplanting. Sow seeds under 1/2 inch of soil after your region's last frost date. The seeds experience the best germination rate when soil temperatures range from 50 to 85 F. Seedlings will emerge in 7 to 10 days. Thin them to 3 inches apart when they are a couple inches tall.

Cilantro grows easily indoors in containers or outdoors in a garden. It does best in soil that is enriched with lots of compost. Water cilantro frequently during the growing season. The plant goes to seed quickly in hot weather.

Harvest cilantro leaves by trimming from the herb when needed. Use immediately, or store in a cool location for a day or so. Harvest coriander seeds by trimming and hanging the flowering plant in a dark area to dry until the seeds turn brown. Collect dry seeds in a paper bag and sift away and chaff. Store dry seeds in an air-tight container.

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