Free shipping on all orders over $50!

Search our shop

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

View bestsellers 

Pre-order our new design

Bespoke timepieces

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Cilantro Grow Guide: How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Cilantro

Cilantro Grow Guide: How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Cilantro

One of the best ways to add delicious flavor and a dash of color to your dishes is to use cilantro. Because of its versatility and ease to grow, cilantro is also one of the top 5 herbs we recommend growing in your home garden. The great thing about cilantro is that it's actually a two-for-one deal. In addition to harvesting the leaves of cilantro, you can also harvest the seeds (coriander) which are great when ground and used as a spice. 

If you're curious and want to know more about how to grow and harvest your own cilantro plants, you've come to the right place. While this article will focus on growing and harvesting cilantro, we'll also look at how to harvest coriander after your cilantro plant flowers! 

What Type of Cilantro to Choose

There's a variety of cilantro plants you can cultivate in your own garden, and they offer various characteristics. While cilantro is generally hardy and robust, it tends to grow rapidly, especially in hot weather. This rapid growth can lead to premature flowering and bolting, which means the plant goes to seed quickly, leaving you with fewer edible leaves to enjoy.

To combat this common issue, it's a good idea to opt for a slow-bolting cilantro variety. Slow-bolting cilantro not only extends your harvest window but also results in a more bountiful crop compared to other cilantro types. Additionally, if you reside in a warmer climate, consider planting cilantro during the milder seasons of spring and fall to achieve the best results. This way you can enjoy a more consistent and abundant cilantro harvest.

fresh salsa with cilantro

Cilantro's Uses

Cilantro is loved for its outstanding flavor and color profile. It's widely used in Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian dishes. Salsa, guacamole, and other Mexican and Caribbean mainstays use the leaves of cilantro for added flavor. Asian dishes, on the other hand, tend to use the ground-up coriander seed from the plant as a delicious spice. 

When to Start Cilantro Seeds

Cilantro is a versatile herb that gives you the freedom to start growing it either indoors or outdoors, depending on your preferences and local climate conditions.

Indoors: If you choose to begin indoors, aim to kickstart your cilantro seeds around the time of the last spring frost. After about 3 to 4 weeks of indoor nurturing, it's time to transplant them into your outdoor garden.

Outdoors:For those who prefer direct outdoor planting, sow your cilantro seeds approximately one to two weeks before the anticipated final frost of spring. Cilantro is quite cold-tolerant, so a little chill won't harm your seeds. However, prolonged frost can be detrimental if the plant sprouts too quickly. To optimize photosynthesis, select a spot with full sun for your cilantro bed.

How to Grow Cilantro 

Getting Started

Indoors: If starting your seeds indoors, be sure to transplant them before the taproot gets too large in your starter pot or seed tray. This usually means transplanting your cilantro seedlings 3-4 weeks after planting.

  • For seed trays, plant 3 seeds per cell
  • For 4” starter pots, plant 8-10 seeds evenly spaced
  • Plant seeds at a depth of ½ inch
  • Keep soil consistently moist during germination
  • Your seedlings should emerge in 10-15 days

Outdoors: As mentioned earlier, cilantro is a cold tolerant plant that is more prone to bolting in the heat of summer. Direct sowing seeds in spring or fall is recommended for best results. It's important to note that while cooler weather is ok, and a single frost won't kill cilantro, prolonged exposure to frost and freezing temperatures will, so plan accordingly. 

  • For garden rows, plant 3 seeds every 6”. 
  • For containers, choose a pot that is at least 10” wide by 12” deep and plant 8-10 seeds evenly spaced. 
  • Plant seeds at a depth of ½”
  • Keep soil consistently moist during germination
  • Your seedlings should emerge in 10-15 days or slightly longer in cooler temperatures. 

planting cilantro seeds


Cilantro plants grow best in full sun (6-8 hours per day) though they will tolerate some shade. For indoor growing, be sure to place your cilantro plants in a sunny window or use a grow light. You can find more info about growing with grow lights in our article, Indoor Growing.


In the beginning, keep the soil evenly moist to encourage germination and strong root development. Once established, ensures the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it's essential to maintain a balance.

Hardening Off the Seedlings Prior to Transplant

It's also important to harden off your seedlings before transplanting them outdoors if you started them indoors. Hardening off is the process of moving plants outdoors for part of each day to gradually introduce them to direct sunlight, dry or moist air, and cooler nights. 

You should harden off your cilantro seedlings over the course of 1 week, gradually increasing their time spent outdoors each day. If possible, select a transplant day that is overcast, and plan to move your seedlings in the early morning to avoid the harsh midday sun.

In most cases, your cilantro seedlings will be ready to transplant about 3-6 weeks after planting or when they have grown to approximately 2-4 inches above the top of the pot rim. Therefore, make sure you start to harden them off early enough to fit this window. 

Preparing your Seedlings for Transplant 

Getting your cilantro seedlings ready for transplant is a crucial step to ensure their successful growth, whether you're moving them to larger pots or a garden bed. Here's how to prepare your seedlings for their new home:

Preparing for Transplantation: Before you transplant your cilantro seedlings, it's a good practice to water them approximately 2 hours before the planned transfer. This pre-transplant watering not only strengthens your plants but also helps moisten and loosen the soil, making it easier to work with.

Transplanting Cilantro to Pots: When moving your cilantro into larger pots or containers, handle them gently and aim to do this before the taproot grows too large. Cilantro enjoys stretching its roots, so choose pots that are at least 12 inches deep to provide ample space for its growth.

Transplanting Cilantro to a Garden Bed: For planting cilantro in a garden bed, enrich the soil with compost or organic matter to enhance fertility and structure. Leave approximately 6 inches of space between each seedling to ensure they have enough room to thrive and develop.

Cilantro growing in the garden in a row


Caring for cilantro's nutritional needs is a breeze, and you don't have to go overboard with fertilization. Here are some simple tips to keep your cilantro thriving:

Light Fertilization: Cilantro doesn't demand heavy feeding. To give your plants a nutritional boost, consider using a balanced organic fertilizer like our Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer. Apply it when you transplant your cilantro seedlings and periodically throughout the growing season.

Outdoor Planting Perk: If you're growing cilantro outdoors, spread a compost mulch around your cilantro plants. This not only enhances the structure of your soil but also helps retain moisture, which your cilantro plants will appreciate.

Pruning and Harvesting

For a continuous supply of delicious, flavorful cilantro leaves, regular pruning is key. Pruning serves multiple purposes: it creates room for fresh stems and leaves to flourish, improves air circulation around the plant, and helps safeguard against diseases.

To properly prune your cilantro plant, wait until it reaches a height of at least 6 inches. Begin by gently trimming the outer leaves and stems on a weekly basis. However, exercise caution not to cut more than a third of the branches at any given time, as excessive trimming can harm your plant.

Another essential pruning tip is to promptly pinch off any flowers that start to appear. Early flowering can render your cilantro leaves bitter and unsuitable for consumption. 

Woman pruning cilantro flowers

Harvesting Coriander Seeds 

Coriander seeds are commonly ground and used as a spice. Their flavor is very different from cilantro leaves, with warming, sweet qualities and a hint of lemon and orange flavor. Here are the simple steps to harvesting your own seeds.

Wait for Flowering: After you are done harvesting your cilantro leaves, stop pruning and allow your cilantro plant to grow flower stocks. Once your plant flowers, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the flowers to mature into seed heads. 

Check the Color: Keep an eye on the seed heads; they should turn a light brown color. When you notice this change, it's a sign that they are ready for harvest.

Cut and Collect: Use scissors or garden shears to snip off the seed heads from plant. Place these seed heads in a paper bag. The key here is to ensure they are dry and not moist when collected.

Dry and Store: Hang the paper bag in a dry, cool location until the entire plant dries out, and the seeds have all dropped off. Once fully dry, you have two options: you can either grind the seeds to make coriander spice or store them whole. 

Coriander seed and spice. Cilantro seed head

Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For

Let's talk about some common cilantro pests and diseases and how you can deal with them naturally and organically.

Common Cilantro Pests

  • Nematodes 

Nematodes can be deterred by planting marigolds near your cilantro. Marigolds release a chemical that's toxic to nematodes and other garden pests, making them excellent companions for your cilantro.

  • Aphids 

The simplest way to get rid of aphids is to wash them off your plants with a strong blast of water. A garden hose is perfect for this job. If they persist, make a homemade organic soap solution to spray on the affected areas. To make the solution use 1 tablespoon organic soap (I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile soap) to one quart of warm water.

Common Cilantro Diseases

  • Fungal wilt, mildew, and mold 

Fungal diseases, such as fusarium wilt, gray mold, and downy mildew, often stem from overwatering your cilantro. Take care to let the soil dry slightly between waterings.

fresh cut cilantro

Cilantro Storage and Preservation

You have several options for storing your harvested cilantro leaves. For short-term storage of a week or less, you can keep the leaves in an airtight bag or container in your fridge. For longer-term storage, it's best to keep cilantro leaves in the freezer in an airtight container or baggie. 

While you can technically dry cilantro for long-term storage, this isn't the best option. Cilantro will lose most of its flavor if you dry it, so you're better off using it fresh or keeping it in the freezer. 

Cilantro seeds (coriander) can be stored whole in a cool dark location for up to 2 years. If ground into a spice, and stored in an airtight container, the spice will be good for 3-4 years. 

Good Companion Plants For Cilantro 

Cilantro's aromatic qualities make it a fantastic companion for several other plants. Some of the best companions for cilantro include salad burnet, chives, tomatoes, garlic, anise, eggplant, and potatoes. They not only thrive alongside cilantro but also enhance each other's growth and flavor.

However, one plant that should be kept away from cilantro is fennel. Fennel emits a chemical that can inhibit cilantro's growth and should be planted separately. 

Final Thoughts About Growing Cilantro 

Whether you're garnishing your favorite recipes or adding zest to your garden, cilantro's unique qualities make it a delightful addition to any home. So, go ahead and cultivate this fragrant herb with confidence. Happy growing, cooking, and preserving your cilantro – may it bring flavor and freshness to your every culinary creation!

Happy Growing!