Learn how to grow cilantro in a pot. Growing cilantro in containers is not difficult all you need is to follow a few tips and fulfill a few growing requirements.
Cilantro is a highly aromatic herb that is used to enhance the flavor of many South-East Asian and Mexican cuisines and as a dressing to improve the appearance of meal served. Most of the people tend to think that cilantro is one of the most difficult herbs to grow but that’s not true. However, it is little but easy to grow if you follow the way of growing cilantro.
Choosing a Pot
Mostly people choose too shallow pots for growing cilantro but that’s a mistake. Similar to dill, cilantro needs a pot that is deep and wide. For growing cilantro in a pot, choose one that is 18 inches wide and at least 10-12 inches deep, this would be a perfect size.
Best Cilantro Planting Time
Start growing cilantro once all the dangers of frost are passed. You can grow cilantro successively from spring to fall. In warm temperates and much hotter regions (USDA Zone 8 and above) you can grow cilantro in winters too. Cilantro can tolerate light frost easily. Below the zone 8, in much cooler regions, you can grow cilantro in cold frames and overwinter it.
In hot tropical climate (USDA Zone 10 – 11), cilantro grows best in fall and winter. However, it can be grown year round in such climates as in many tropical countries fresh cilantro leaves are available throughout the year but you’ll need to cope with the bolting problem. You may need to harvest quickly and provide shade in spring and summer.
Growing Cilantro From Seeds
It is better if you sow the seeds directly in a pot in which you like to grow the plants later as cilantro has long taproot and it doesn’t transplant well, especially when the plant grows up slightly. Sow seeds 1/4 inches deep. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate. If you have grown them in the seed tray, once the plants have formed 2-3 leaves, plant them to their final location in a pot.
If you’re planting grocery store seeds, gently crush the seed husk before sowing. As cilantro seeds are enclosed in a husk that you’ll need to crush to improve the germination rate.
Requirements For Growing Cilantro In Pot
It is a plant that grows best in the sun. But be careful, too much heat will make it go to seed quickly. In summer (or in hot climates) place it in a position that receives shade in the afternoon.
Cilantro likes evenly moist soil. When watering, make sure you never wet the foliage as cilantro is really susceptible to powdery mildew.
Neutral soil that is very rich in organic matter and crumbly in texture helps this plant to grow. Also, the addition of aged manure or compost provide a good steady supply of nitrogen and other trace elements, thus promotes the vegetative growth.
You can grow cilantro plants closely but for optimum growth space the plants 3 – 4 inches apart.
Cilantro Plant Care
Feed the cilantro bimonthly with any half strength nitrogen-rich fertilizer to promote the foliage growth. You don’t need to fertilize your cilantro plants much if you side dress them with compost or aged manure. Also, the application of fish emulsion is recommended.
Inspect your cilantro plants every day to see if the flowers are appearing, deadhead them regularly to promote the production of leaves. However, you can leave them if you want your plants to seed.
Problem With Coriander/Cilantro:
The recurring problem with cilantro is bolting.
The plant eventually goes to seed but a lot earlier in hot weather. Flowers start to appear quickly, then giving way to seed and after seeding the plant dies.
The best solution for this problem is to sow seeds successively, plant seeds every other week to get a regular harvest. Also, once the plant starts to bolt pinch the top of it to slow down the process.
Pests And Diseases
In pests, look out for aphids. Mildew is the most common disease that kills this herb, more consistently occurs in humid warm weather.
To prevent powdery mildew, keep distance between the plants, provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering, wetting the leaves also promote the growth of many other fungal infections.
You can start to harvest young cilantro leaves too early, about 3-4 weeks after sowing seeds. Leaves can be picked from the plant when they have reached 3-6 inches in length.
If you want to harvest the entire plant you should wait at least 45-70 days. Cutting the entire plant at soil level or 2 inches above the crown.