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May 11, 2009 10:29 AM

How does your cilantro grow?

I just tried growing cilantro. I say tried because I only planted it in a pot two weeks ago and its already dead! My parsley is too, but it was holding on by a thread so I'm more concerned with the complete failure of the cilantro. How do you keep your cilantro alive?

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  1. I have the opposite problem -- how to keep cilantro from taking over my garden...
    If you have an area that you can plant seeds -- not plants -- let one plant got to seed and you'll have cilantro for the rest of your life.

    I think it just doesn't transplant well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kizil

      I planted 4 plants from the nursery 3 weeks ago and they thrive, always have. They do like well drained soiled. Not soaked. I disagree with shade and cooler temps. It is mid 80's and mine is in sun. Mostly sun during the day. Shade, they die for me. They just keep growing. They do need to be pinched often and their life span is not long. Plants definitely for FL and not seeds for the most part.

      They can be a bit tempermental, find the right spot. My red basil died 4 times before I found the right spot. Now I can't stop it. Sometimes just around the corner makes all the difference from growing and now.

      They don't like hot sun all day, but shade, my shriveled and died. cool. They don't do well in 90 degrees in July but cool in 80 down here and they do great. I grow them through late June and July and then inside in pots until Sept. One of the easiest herbs that I grow. I have 15 varieties and red basil is my most finicky. Dill of course is not a summer plant down here but otherwise I found that most people over care for them. I don't hardly water, I fertilize when I first plant and then a few weeks later. I don't do too much to them which I think works, at least for me.

      1. re: kizil

        Same here - I bought one seedling a half-dozen years ago and let it go to seed, now every spring it comes up like crabgrass across a 6 x 20 foot area. OK, tasty crabgrass. But it's easy to uproot so I don't worry about it, I just thin it back and for several months a year I have all I could possibly want. This is in Boston, where nothing much is edible yet, but I already had enough last night for a good batch of guac.

        1. re: BobB

          Way to go. The right conditions, good locations. And like I have said a millions times ... all the rules and right and wrong things. When it finds a place it likes and grows good ... it does. I had one earth box in the perfect spot. it hated it. I moved it to the side. more water, more sun and presto. It is like a weed. Before I plant any of my small plants I move them around to see where they do best. Easy enough and they all like something other t the books call for. So for me common sense and just trial and error.

          I love you can grow it so well. It is so good in guac. It is great with oj, lime, ginger, garlic and cilantro to marinate shrimp and scallops which is awesome.

          FYI, Very taste crabgrass!!

      2. Cilantro is an amazingly finicy plant... it's really a wonder it's so cheap at the market... LOL! But IME, it hates to be overwatered... likes shade and cooler temps. It also likes to be DEEP in the ground... but it can spread like crazy... my mother who is my gardening muse just stopped growing it, it became SUCH a pain...


        1. I planted seeds in a row (marked ends w/ sticks so I knew where they were) about 1/4" deep, and kept watered until they emerged in a couple weeks.

          The good news is you can try again because ideally if you want cilantro regularly, you have to re-seed it every 3 weeks or so.

          Did you plant seeds or plants? What climate are you in? I'd like to try to help because it's generally been so easy for me (versus parsley which has a slow germination rate and I always just buy plants, except for the ones that come up from the prior year -- they're biennials)

          1 Reply
          1. re: NYchowcook

            I bought plants and I live near Tampa, Florida. I think I'm Zone 9.

          2. Some great info here. I haven't been able to grow cilantro. It always does amazingly well and then it just dies. I'm in Norfolk, VA, so the summer is miserable here...not to mention my garden has full sun. Maybe I should try it stictly indoors.

            2 Replies
            1. re: krisrishere

              NO, cilantro does not do well just indoors, outdoors should be fine and sun shouldn't be a big problem. Remember, cilantro has a very short life span once it reaches maturity, it pretty much dies off. That is normal
              Not like parsley or oregano or basil
              It may require a little more shade, but mine is in FL with full sun right now. Sometimes, it just doesn't like where it is. I know that sounds funny but it is true. My herbs grow in full sun 8 hours of 85+ degrees with 80+ humidity and soaking rains a lot of afternoons. It is just finding the right spot for it. Honestly. 15+ years of growing cilantro and dill and red basil my three most persnickity plants and yes, I just need to find the right place is all Hang in there.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Agreed. My cilantro (in RTP area of NC) is thriving in a pot outside my front door. Tons of sun and I water it 2x daily. It is a very good idea, though to plant it again just as it thrives. As the existing plant will die off, new cilantro should be just coming into its own.

            2. I think our Florida sun is too much for cilantro. For many years we struggled with growing it until this year. I recommend partial sun or better yet indirect light. Ours grows outdoors, potted in a loose well draining soil under our patio with no direct sunlight and is the best looking cilantro we have ever grown in soil.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Chanin

                It is funny I agree, mine is almost in full sun and thriving but I moved it to a couple of locations to get the best results. I'm not sure what the difference was, but yeah I always say just move it around until it does well. Sometimes there is no explanation why it does well it one spot vs another.

                I had 5 large pots on my front porch, all five faced the same way, no different sun or shade, or water. But for some reason the one end always did bad.

                I glad yours is doing well. Enjoy the rewards. Cilantro has a very short lifespan so eat up. Even in summer you may be able to grow it with the location since it seems to work very well.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  I feel that growing from seed rather than buying from a nursery makes a difference also. Would you agree?
                  One thing you can do to get more life out of your cilantro is to simply use it. Pinching off the tops where the flower is developing will buy you some more time but only a month or so. I let some of my cilantro flower and go to seed every year just so I have some to plant next season. I do the same with my basil varieties and chili's also.

                  The important and overlooked part of the OP is how did your cilantro die? What did it look like? Was there yellowing? Was it tall with disproportionately small leaves?

                  1. re: Chanin

                    I pinch mine constantly. Definitely you get much more life. Never had luck with seed. Too wet even on my lanai, but I may try it next year.

                    Mine died from too much water and then I really don't know. Yellowing, some browning, some just not doing well. Combo of problems. But once moved 6 feet down the bed it was fine. Same sun and shade and same water. Go figure? And the same plant, It was almost dead but came right back. I had 2 in the same spot, left the one and moved the other. The other did great. Mystery

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      Sounds as though you might have a drainage issue in the bad spot. I know that when I dig in my beds, one spot can be damp and a spot 3' away can be drier. It really depends on the quality of the soil (more compost, which will hold water, had been added in one area), proximity to competing tree or shrub roots (which will suck up the water and yield drier soil), etc.

                      Dig down 8-12" in each spot, feel the soil with your hands, squeeze it, crumble it: I bet you will notice a difference.
                      Good luck, p.j.

                      1. re: p.j.

                        these were actually in pots, but yes, I know what you mean.

                        I had 3 usually 4 beds out back 1 side of one bed would never do well. No clue why. No sprinkler in that area, no water from underground. Just something it got to wet. Never figured it out. Moved the rosemary there which did good and moved the cilantro to the dry side.

                        Growing up I had to grow corn on the back 3 rows, no idea why. They just only grew well on the bag 3. Same sun, no trees, no structure, same water. It isn't just science it is just instinct and trial and error