We grow coriander throughout the year on our windowsill as well as seasonally in our garden. I have the gene that makes me taste the soapiness of coriander, but i can still gather the seeds and use them in my cooking.
- Coriander can be grown for seeds or leaves. The seed variety will grow large flowers quickly that will turn to seed you can harvest. The variety that grows well for leaves is a cut and come again type and you will be able to harvest all year if grown indoors.
- Coriander can be sown directly outside between late March and September. Sow directly to an area of your garden which gets full to partial sunlight.
- You will need soil with adequate drainage, so dig through with well rotted manure. If you intend to grow in pots use a good quality peat-free compost. Pots will need to be deep to accommodate the long tap roots of the coriander.
- Scatter the coriander seeds 20cm apart from one another. No need to cover with a lot of soil, just a fine dusting that you then water well.
- Coriander seeds will germinate after about 3 weeks. Keep them well watered and protected against the fear of frosts. If you are sowing in pots plant in a large enough pot for around 5 seeds, you may need to thin once the seedlings are larger.
- Water well in dry periods, checking the soil to ensure it is moist at all times. Drought periods will put the coriander under stress and it will react by bolting. If you are growing the leaf variety then you will want to remove any flower stems as they emerge.
- Sow every three weeks for successional planting, this will ensure a continual harvest as coriander is cut and come again, but will take around 3 weeks to regrow from the crown.
- For a continual harvest of coriander leaves, cut the stems to around 2 inches from the base. This will encourage new growth.
- To harvest coriander seeds, wait until the flowers have died off and cut each flower stem. Hang them to dry out fully, upside down with a paper bag over the flower head. This will catch the seeds as they dry out.
How Much Sunshine Does Coriander Need
If you live in an area with more than 8 hours of sunlight a day, you may need a more shaded space. Coriander will bolt if it gets too much sunlight and this will encourage flowering and seeds. So – not a bad idea if that is what you are after, however if you want to grow coriander for the leaves you will need to monitor this.
Ways To Stop Coriander From Bolting
- When the coriander plant gets too much sunshine it will be prone to bolting as a plant equivalent of fight or flight. It is under stress and will produce flowers to ultimately make seeds to survive. Therefore if we grow coriander in pots, it is easier to move it away from the harmful effects of direct sunshine.
- Coriander can also bolt if it is in sudden drought conditions. If you are in a drought prone area, or basically anywhere in the UK when we have hosepipe bans you may want to add a passive watering system to the raised beds or pots.
- If you see the flower stem starting to grow, simply cut it off to prevent the plant bolting. The leaves of coriander stop being so tasty once flowering has started. This will mean a bitter taste appears.
- We have been asked on twitter how often can you harvest coriander? Well the truth is you should be harvesting each week. This is another way to halt the chance of bolting. If you don’t want to eat the leaves immediately you can store stems in water for a week in the fridge.
How Long Will Supermarket Coriander Live
Realistically coriander brought from the supermarket is high quality seeds, just tightly packed and in poor quality soil. Repotting it will allow it to grow as an annual and cut and come again herb. You will get around 20 plants from the supermarket herbs, so you really can’t go wrong with that.
It works out a very cost effective way to expand your herb garden. We recommend that you buy your perennial herbs from specialist nurseries, but coriander for leaves can be happily bought in your local store for a fraction of the cost.
Coriander is a perfect windowsill herb and should be considered a staple due to its versatility and health benefits.
Coriander is packed with nutrients and will make a good accompaniment to many different dishes. It has a history of being used in Asian dishes as well as a great garnish. Admittedly some people find that cilantro is soapy and this is hard to reconcile, but there are plenty of substitutes that will work just as well!
Fresh herbs are some of the best value vegetables to grow as they are so expensive to buy and hard to come by all year round. We would love to think that you are more encouraged to grow your own herbs now!