In my household, cilantro is a must. I LOVE cilantro. And my hubby is Mexican, so we use a lot of cilantro in our dishes. When my mother-in-law makes me pico de gallo (because she really does make it the best), she uses an entire bunch. Cilantro brings such a bright, fresh flavor to any dish. The only problem is when I buy cilantro from the store and I don’t use it within a week, then it goes bad. As such, when I grow my own cilantro, I can extend the life of cilantro without any of it going to waste.
How to Grow Cilantro
Cilantro is the perfect herb to grow for the beginner gardener. Even those who don’t have a green thumb can grow cilantro. I’m still learning how to tend plants, so I’m so happy that growing cilantro is a cinch.
Items Needed to Grow Cilantro:
- Cilantro seeds
I used a planter that had three separate planters molded together that was originally designed for succulents. The planter is small enough to fit on my kitchen window sill. Cilantro needs plenty of sun, so you can use any size planter so long as it’s in a sunny area.
Put the soil into the planter. A neutral soil with a pH 6.2-6.8 is good to use, but cilantro is hardy and will grow in basically any nutrient rich soil.
Start by planting three seeds in each planter 1/4″ deep if you are using a small planter. Cilantro seeds look like little tiny round balls. If you are using a larger planter, plant three seeds in groups 6-8″ apart.
The plants should be watered every day. Keep the plant in a sunny area. Cilantro will grow to approximately 6-10″ tall and will spread 4-10″ in width.
How to Harvest Cilantro
Cilantro leaves can be cut at any time once the leaves have developed, which is usually after 50-55 days of growth. Use the “new” leaves on top first, leaving the mature bottom leaves in the planter. Cilantro leaves grow quickly and will flower producing more seeds, so you want to use the leaves right away.
Cilantro leaves should be harvested right before using and not be kept out on the counter after cutting as it will lose its’ freshness. The leaves also cannot be dried, as it will lose its flavor. You can, however, freeze cilantro to keep its’ freshness.
Replant and Grow Cilantro
I tend to use cilantro bit by bit, leaving the cilantro in the pot to continue to grow. If you remove a leaf, pinch the top of the stem so that more leaves will grow. However, if you use a whole head of cilantro all at once, it’s easy to start again. Simply resow seeds every two weeks to keep the cilantro plants growing.
How to Avoid Cilantro Going to Seed
Cilantro goes to seed quickly once it has matured. This means that it will start to flower and produce seeds, instead of giving you fresh yummy leaves. To avoid this, use scissors to cut off part of the cilantro plant on one side of the planter when getting ready to use the cilantro. Shear a different part of the cilantro plant the next time you need some leaves. Rotate your selection and never let any part of the plant mature. Once you get back to the original section of the plant, new leaves will have appeared.
By using this method, you may get four harvests of cilantro from one planting. That means you get a lot of bang for your buck!
Recipe for Cilantro Butter
Just looking at the words cilantro butter makes my mouth water. You can put cilantro butter on top of steak, vegetables, corn on the cob, etc. Simply take 4 parts melted butter, 2 parts chopped cilantro, 1/2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, and combine. Wait for the butter to harden, then wrap in wax paper in the shape of a log. Freeze the butter. Thaw when ready to use. Delicious!