Thinking about growing coriander in your home garden? A very wise decision! Not only will their leaves make a pretty clump of fresh green in your garden, but you can use the whole plant. From the leaves and stems to the roots and seeds, you can use it all! And while you may already know how to grow sweet potatoes, runner beans, broccoli or chillies, this is a growing guide you can’t miss!
For thousands of years, coriander has been used as a staple culinary spice in countries all around the world, especially in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian cuisines. Not only does it add colour and flavour to the food, but it works wonders as a digestive aid as well. Why buy something from the market when you can do it on your own? Let’s see how you can grow coriander like a pro!
Table of Contents
When and where to plant coriander
When you are thinking about planting coriander, you need to consider when and where you can plant it. It grows well in a sunny spot with well-drained soil, but it will need some protection from direct, blazing, full sun.
You can grow it indoors in pots and outdoors in your garden as well. The sowing time for this plant is usually in early spring and lasts till late autumn. Check the last frost date in your area, and then plant coriander after the date.
How to plant coriander
To ensure that you have fresh plants all season, you need to sow their seeds every two weeks. It is better to spread the coriander directly rather than growing it in seed trays and then transplanting it. Here are the steps that you need to follow:
- Rake the surface of the soil and remove large lumps or stones.
- Sow seeds almost 2cm deep in the soil.
- Space the plants 10cm apart. If you are planting rows, then you should keep the rows 20cm away from each other.
- Put the plant into fertile, well-drained soil. You can add well-rotted manure or garden compost if your soil needs improving.
- Press the soil over the seeds and then cover them with 1cm of mulch.
- Water the sown seeds thoroughly.
Coriander thrives well in temperatures between 17 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius. If you are growing them indoors, sow them directly into the pots. Keep watering the plants regularly, making sure not to overwater the plant. Since it has deep taproots, you need excellent soil drainage. It takes almost 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. During germination, keep thinning the young plants and maintain the spacing so that they can grow to their full size easily.
To get the best out of your plant crop, there are a few things that you need to keep an eye on.
These plants need a mix of partial shade and sunlight. It favours the cooler weather of early fall and late spring. When choosing the planting spot, choose one that will receive some sunlight in the morning but will be shaded in the afternoon.
This is because direct sunlight can burn their leaves. If you live in a very hot climate and there will be no shade in your garden, you can use pots to move them out of direct sunlight whenever you need to.
When you are choosing the best soil mixture for your plant, it is essential that you go for a blend that has a slightly acidic to neutral pH. A pH of 6.2 to 6.8 works best for the plant. Moreover, the soil needs to be fast-drying and well-draining.
Watering plants the right way is an essential skill every gardener should have. Water the plant every few days, depending on how hot your environment is. It grows well in moist soil but makes sure that the plant isn’t drowning in water, as excessive water is detrimental.
Temperature and humidity
Coriander prefers cool, shady environments and temperatures around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. A lot of humidity isn’t good for the plant as too much moisture can cause it to ‘bolt’. It is frost-sensitive so if you expect cold weather, make sure you protect your plants using row covers.
This plant doesn’t need fertilizer to grow perfectly. However, treating your plants with an organic fertilizer once a month won’t hurt. Keep mixing nutritious compost into the soil, particularly when you are planting the seeds.
Common pests and diseases
It really hurts when your carefully planted crop gets ruined due to pests or diseases. When you are growing this plant, there are a few common problems that you need to keep your eye out for.
Slugs & Snails
Slugs and snails feed on the young seedlings. You will see the tell-tale slime trails on the leaves and the soil around the plants. There are various ways to control snails and slugs, such as sawdust, copper tape, eggshell barriers, etc. Check the plants at night and remove any slugs that you can see. If you can find eco-friendly slug pellets, you can scatter them around the plants if none of the other methods works.
When a plant, particularly this one, doesn’t grow leaves and jumps directly to the flowering stage, we say that it tends to ‘bolt’. This can happen as a result of heat, insufficient or excessive watering, transplantation, etc. To make sure that your plants don’t bolt, keep the soil damp, and plant the seeds away from direct sunlight and in partial shade.
Your plants can suffer from root rot. This happens if the roots are extremely wet as a result of excessive watering. Make sure that the soil is well-drained and leave it to dry before watering again.
These insects quickly infest young plants and stunt their growth by sucking the plant sap. Take a damp cloth and wipe off the colonies that you see on your plants. Ladybirds are natural predators, and you can use them to get rid of them naturally. However, there are pesticide sprays that you can use if the aphid infestation is getting out of control.
Harvesting and storing coriander
Let’s take a look at a couple of things that have to do with harvesting your plant and storing it the right way.
How to harvest the leaves
Coriander is a herb that quickly responds to your hard work and is ready to be harvested in less than a month. Once the plants are almost 10cm tall, you can harvest the fresh leaves. It is better if you snip the leaves off at the stalk base since the stalk is full of flavour. If there are any flowers, you can harvest them as well and use them in salads.
How to harvest the seeds
For harvesting the seeds, you will have to wait for the plant to flower. Once the flower and the seeds start to appear, you can harvest them. Opt for a dry day, though!
When the seedpods start to turn brown, check to see if they crack when you press them. If they do, cut the top of the stems and place the seed pods in a paper bag. Keep the paper bag in a cool, well-ventilated, dark place for a couple of weeks to complete the ripening process.
You can shake or roll the pods in your hands to release the seeds. Ensure that you harvest them before they’re released naturally into your herb garden.
Storing the leaves
Freeze the leaves and stems and keep them in the refrigerator for as long as you need. You can use frozen coriander in stews, soups, or curries, but you can’t use them as garnish. Plus, you can freeze them in ice cubes as well. Place a few fresh leaves in the ice cube tray, fill it with water, and freeze the cubes for future use.
Storing the seeds
Keep the plant’s seeds – crushed or whole – in an airtight container. They don’t go bad unless they come in contact with moisture.
Varieties to try
You will be surprised to learn that there are various varieties of Coriandrum sativum, each with different properties and flavours. A few of the common varieties that you should try are:
This variety is very popular among gardeners as it is bolt-resistant and has a nice flavour. It will mature in almost 50 to 55 days.
This type is usually tall and is slow to bolt. It matures in 60 to 90 days.
Calypso takes 50 to 55 days to mature but doesn’t seed until 120 to 150 days. It is also slow to bolt. Since it is easy to grow, it is a good choice to look for a continuous harvest.
Santo, Cruiser, Confetti, Chechnya, and Costa Rica are a few other varieties that you can grow in your homes. All the varieties will produce leaves and seeds, of course, but if you are searching for varieties with delayed flowering, then Chinese, Long Standing, and Santo are great choices.
Even though you can get coriander leaves from the market, they are most flavourful when they are freshly cut, right from your garden. Garnish your dishes and use them in multiple cuisines for an amazing experience. This growing guide will help you have a constant supply of this popular herb in your home easily and efficiently. Happy Growing, Folks!