Cilantro is a fast-growing, annual herb that has a distinctive flavor and smell and is essential for your favorite Latin dishes. This annual plant is best used fresh rather than dried.
Those that love fresh cilantro in their favorite dishes should consider growing it indoors during the winter so they always have the very best all year long.
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Cilantro vs. Coriander
Different Names, Same Plant – Cilantro is also known as fresh coriander leaf or Chinese parsley. The plant is botanically called Coriandrum sativum. Cilantro is the leaves of the coriander plant. Coriander usually refers to the seeds harvested from cilantro plants.
Can You Grow Cilantro Indoors?
Cilantro can grow well indoors and makes a great herb for kitchen herb gardens. Yes, cilantro can be a bit tricky to grow because of its large taproot, but otherwise, cilantro can be grown indoors fairly easily.
How to Grow Cilantro Indoors
Cilantro is easy to grow indoors. When planting cilantro the single most important thing you need to know is that you must plant it in its final pot beforehand. Unlike most herbs and plants cilantro is similar to a carrot and grows a large taproot that does not do well with being pulled up and transplanted.
Plant cilantro in soil that is not overly acidic, slightly basic near-neutral soil works best for cilantro. Your soil should be well-draining. This can be achieved with nearly any well blended potting mix. If you wish to blend your own potting mix you can make your own by blending peat moss with fresh compost.
Place your cilantro in full sun. A sunny window that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight will work perfectly. If you do not have a suitable area or tend to have long stretches without the sun in the winter you may want to consider using an LED grow light to provide enough light for your cilantro.
Cilantro needs to be kept warm and is happiest in the mid-70s to low 80s. If your cilantro plant gets too hot it will bolt. Once cilantro bolts the quality of the herb breaks down leaving you with less flavorful cilantro. To avoid this pinch of flower stems when they appear and avoid placing your cilantro near a source of heat where it may get too hot.
If you plan to harvest your cilantro as needed rather than at the end of the season avoid fertilizing your cilantro which can lead to more foliage with less flavor.
For plants you intend to harvest at the end of the season you can fertilize monthly stopping at least 6 weeks before you plan to harvest to ensure the most flavorful cilantro.
How to Start Cilantro from Seed Indoors
Cilantro is easy to start indoors from seed. When starting cilantro it is most important to remember that you must plant your cilantro where you want to grow it. Cilantro has a deep taproot that does not handle transplanting well.
When choosing a pot to start your cilantro seeds indoors, choose a tall pot to ensure that there is plenty of room for the root.
Plant 2 cilantro seeds in well-draining soil. Add in a small bit of fertilizer to help your seeds become established. Keep your soil moist but not saturated to prevent waterlogging your seeds and seedlings. The best way to do this is to spray the soil over your freshly planted seeds with a spray bottle of clean water.
Spray your seedlings any time they start to dry out. Your cilantro seeds will take 7 to 10 days to germinate. After true leaves form you should thin to one plant per pot by removing the weaker seedling if both seeds sprouted. This will leave you with a strong seedling that will quickly put down a quality taproot.
How to Start Cilantro from Cuttings Indoors
You can start cilantro indoors from two types of cuttings. Stem or root cuttings.
Start Cilantro from a Stem Cutting
You can start cilantro plants from stem cuttings. This can be done with cuttings from the grocery store.
Take a cutting about 2-4 inches long. Remove the leaves from the lower part of the stem and place it in a glass with about 1 inch of water. Change this water daily to keep your plants healthy while they root. After about 2 weeks you should see a significant root formation. You can then plant it in the final pot it will be grown in.
Start Cilantro from a Root Cutting
Cilantro is a member of the carrot family and its taproot, just like carrots can be used to grow new cilantro plants if you have the top of the root. A great time to do this is at the end of the season when you harvest the last of your outdoor cilantro to give you all fresh plants for growing indoors. Because cilantro doesn’t transplant well they have to be regrown from the top of the root.
Take the top of the root, with 2-3 inches of stem, and place in a shallow dish with water changing daily until new roots have begun to form. After roots have formed, move to your plant’s final container.
And if you are looking for more herbs you can grow indoors, you must check out these: