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How to Grow Cilantro Indoors Easily [Buyer’s Guide]

fresh basil cilantro mint herbs in garden

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The distinctive aroma and powerful yet subtle flavor of cilantro make it a popular culinary herb.

It’s also one of the easiest plants to cultivate and harvest at home. In fact, growing these herbs indoors can be as successful as growing them in a garden, provided you give the plants extra care.

However, it’s quite natural for first-timers to make mistakes while planting cilantro in a pot. The most common mistake being – transplanting plants from the garden, which is a strict no!

To help you out, we’ve come forth with this guide on how to grow cilantro indoors easily.

Furthermore, we’ve provided a few tips for growing and harvesting cilantro and coriander seeds at home. But before that, we’ll address the popular debate on cilantro vs. coriander.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Cilantro Vs. Coriander

Cilantro is commonly used for cooking in Mexico, India, Spain, Africa, Russia, China, and other areas of Asia for many centuries now. Apart from its culinary uses, cilantro seeds are also known for their medicinal properties, especially for aiding in digestion and sleep.

But often, people tend to get confused between cilantro and coriander. Are they both the same?

Throughout North America, the stalks and leaves of the Coriandrum sativum plant are referred to as cilantro, while its dried seeds are known as coriander. However, in different parts of the world, the plant itself is called coriander, and the seeds are known as coriander seeds.

Should You Plant Cilantro Seeds or Plants?

The best way to grow cilantro indoors is by directly sowing the seeds in your garden as they germinate in about 7 to 10 days. You won’t need a headstart as it grows within no time. It’s also important to note that since cilantro develops a taproot, it doesn’t transplant well.

But if you can’t wait to harvest fresh cilantro leaves in late spring, start planting cilantro in peat pots so that they can be directly transplanted into your garden. Just make sure the plants are 3 to 4 inches apart.

Cultivating Cilantro Seeds & Plants

Before you begin cultivating cilantro, make sure you prepare the soil by adding compost and other organic matter to the planting area. Work it into the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches and rake the area to make it smooth.

Once that’s done, sow the cilantro seeds 6 to 8 inches apart in rows spaced about 1 foot apart and water the area. When the plants grow about 2 inches in height, feed them water-soluble fertilizers to enhance their overall growth.

And if you wish to get a steady supply of fresh leaves throughout the summer, sow the cilantro seeds successively every 2 to 3 weeks from the beginning of spring.

Tips To Grow Cilantro Indoors

Growing cilantro indoors is relatively easy, provided you know how to go about its cultivation process. On that note, we’ve come forth with a compiled list of tips and tricks to follow while sowing, cultivating, and growing cilantro or coriander indoors.

  1. Use An Unglazed Terracotta Container

Unglazed terracotta containers allow moisture and air to pass through the plant roots, thereby facilitating their overall growth. Just make sure the container you use comes with plenty of drainage holes for the water to drain out.

  1. Provide Additional Nutrients

It’s important to note that cilantro herbs, when planted indoors, require more nutrition since they come with limited root system ranges without access to sufficient soil nutrients. That’s why when planting cilantro indoors, ensure that the soil you use is a mixture of potting soil and sand to allow the free movement of water.

You may also add additional nutrients by using half concentrations of the fertilizers of liquid fish emulsion or any chemical formulation twice a week during its active growth period.

  1. Water Your Cilantro Thoroughly

When growing cilantro indoors, thorough watering is more important than frequent watering. Always check the soil and only water the plants when the soil is dry to touch.

Furthermore, irrigate the cilantro herbs till the water comes out of the drainage holes of your terracotta container. You may use this technique as a guide to ensure that they’re being watered thoroughly.

  1. Maximize Foliage

Your ultimate aim when growing cilantro indoors should be to maximize foliage. For this, pinch back the young plants up to an inch and snip off the top part of the main stem when you notice the development of flower buds or seed pods. This will redirect their energy back into leaf production, ensuring a fuller and bushier foliage.

  1. Access To Sunlight

In order to grow cilantro indoors, you’ll have to make sure your plants have access to direct sunlight for at least four to five hours a day. However, you may also consider using a growing light to speed-up the overall growth process.

  1. Prevent Plants Diseases

Cilantro is considered an insect repellent because of its strong scent, so it rarely has problems with insects or diseases. However, powdery mildew and leaf spot are the two diseases that may cause issues.

Small yellow spots on cilantro leaves occur due to excessive moisture and poor air circulation. To prevent them from turning into larger brown spots, make sure you grow them in well-drained soil that’s not overwatered. The soil should also be thinned out to ensure proper air circulation.

On the other hand, powdery mildew usually appears as a white powdery coating on the foliage, especially during hot and dry periods. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring adequate moisture to your cilantro plants. Also, make sure you avoid overcrowding.

Harvesting Cilantro Indoors

If you’re growing cilantro herbs at home, you also need to harvest them with utmost care. You may cut them at any time and use the upper and finely chopped leaves in cooking. But avoid using the mature, lower ferny-type leaves for the purpose.

You must also refrain from saving and drying them like other culinary herbs, as this will make the leaves lose their flavor. On the contrary, coriander seeds are easy to harvest on any dry day.

When you notice the seed pods turn brown or crack if pressed, cut the top of the stem. And make sure the pods are harvested before they begin releasing the seeds into your garden.

Once you’ve cut the stems, place the seed pods in a paper bag to prevent this. You may then finish the ripening process in a cool, dark, and ventilated place.

That said, we’d suggest not fertilizing your plants if you’re growing them for seeds as the added nutrients may delay flowering and the overall seed production.

Fresh cilantro seedlings in plastic container isolated on white background.

Final Words

When planted indoors in a container with drainage holes, cilantro herbs will grow less abundantly than when planted outdoors in a garden. That’s why added attention and utmost care is crucial to enhance their overall growth.

And with a little bit of time and effort, you can rest assured that you’ll be rewarded with this aromatic and flavorful culinary herb all year round. All you need to do is make sure the plants get the right amount of sun exposure, nutrients, and moisture.

On that note, we have reached the end of our informative guide on growing cilantro indoors. Here’s hoping we were able to provide you with all the relevant information related to the topic.

With this, we’ll take your leave. Till next time!

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