Cilantro Plant: Growing Coriander Indoors and Out, Planting and Care Tips

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 2, 2024

Happy man adds cilantro plant leaves to his dinner after learning how to identify types of cilantro, how to grow cilantro indoors, planting and care tips for growing coriander.

The Cilantro plant, or Coriander as it is known in other parts of the world, is an annual plant from the Apiaceae family that encompasses over 3,600 species that have become resident in all 4 corners of the planet.

The family includes other vegetables such as carrots, celery, fennel, parsnips, dill, anise, and parsley as well as many more.

It also has some members that are classed as phototoxic or poisonous like spotted cowbane, water dropwort, and hemlock.

While the whole Cilantro plant may be eaten, the fresh leaves and dried seeds are commonly included in the preparations of Asian, Mexican, Spanish, and Indian cuisines.

But what exactly is Cilantro and are Cilantro and Coriander one and the same herb?

This complete guide explains how to recognize the Cilantro plant (and some of the most popular types of coriander), and how to grow it successfully at home so that you can easily add this distinctive flavor to your favorite dishes.


(Coriandrum sativum)

Cilantro Plant in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Apiaceae
  • Genus: Coriandrum
  • Leaf: The leaves are small, light, and feathery and prized for their aromatic flavors.
  • Seed: The tiny brown seeds are known as schizocarp when they are whole, as a mericarp when split in half.
  • Blossoms: Spring, Summer, and Fall are when the flowers start to bloom
  • Native Habitat: The plant thrives in moist, well-draining soil where there is both full and partial sun.
  • Height: 1-2 Feet tall
  • Canopy: 1-1.5 Feet wide
  • Type: Annual
  • Native Growing Zone: The Cilantro plant is quite widespread in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The USDA Hardiness Zone is between 2 to 11.


The Origin Of Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Thought to have originated in the Mediterranean before colonizing the rest of the world, traces of its seeds have been traced back in history to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Cultivation in China and India followed for thousands of years after that where the aromatic leaves of the Cilantro plant transformed traditional local recipes with the flavors they are known for today.

How To Grow Cilantro in a Pot: Growing Coriander Indoors and Out

It is somewhat of a misconception to new growers that growing plants in a pot is restricted to indoor growing.

The advantage of container growing is the perfect soil can be chosen which can be formulated to retain or drain away as much water as your plant requires, often flourishing more than when planted directly into the ground outdoors.

[graphic: how to plant indoors and out]

Cilantro plants are quite particular about where they set down roots so if the weather in your planting zones is not ideal or the soil composition is not up to the standard that the seeds are accustomed to, then a planter filled with tailor-made soil is an alternative solution.

In an outdoor setting, planters can be relocated to positions where they will thrive the most during the day to either get as much sun as needed or moved to a shaded area in the afternoon if the day becomes too hot in the summer.

Conversely, if the temperature becomes too cold, the containers can be winterized indoors or sheltered on a porch to be protected from the worst of the weather.

To grow Cilantro indoors as microgreens start with choosing the right pot where it’s warm enough and bright enough with sunlight so the plant will be all set for a good round of successful growing for its short 3-month lifespan.

Terracotta is always a popular choice, and it is usual to start with a smaller-sized one with adequate draining holes and then transplant the plant as it grows. Even at this stage, it’s better to select one that is bigger rather than smaller so it simply won’t topple over as the plant matures.

  • Even if the pot has drainage holes, place a few pebbles or bits of broken pottery at the bottom to prevent even the risk of water pooling there, or the holes from becoming clogged.
  • Don’t leave the pot on a flat surface. If you elevate it on a brick it will drain better and avoid any waterlogging problems.
  • Fill the pot almost to the brim with a 1-inch space with a mixture of compost and vermiculite that works well as a potting media for indoor herbs.14
  • Poke a few holes spaced about 2 inches apart in the soil and drop two seeds in each.
  • Fill in the holes and water deeply yet gently so the seeds are not disturbed.
  • Use plastic wrap to cover the pot so moisture is retained and doesn’t evaporate too quickly. This will relieve you of the pressure of having to frequently top up the plant with water at a moment’s notice.
  • As Cilantro requires a fair amount of sunshine, the container has to be placed in a spot where 6 hours of sunlight is achievable. If it is not, if you’re growing in the middle of the winter, the use of a grow light will do the trick as well as maintain the 60°F to 70°F temperature requirement.
  • A water-soluble fertilizer should be added in a diluted format once a week and within 30 days, fresh Cilantro leaves will be ready to be harvested.

Planting Tips for Cilantro Plant

Many recipes, particularly those from the Mexican and Asian cuisines, benefit from the use of Cilantro to spice them up a bit.

If you like the taste of Cilantro, and sadly some people can’t stand it, you might consider growing some in your own garden or indoors to have it within reach to add as a garnish.

A row of coriander or cilantro plants in a small cilantro garden.

(Image: Salvation Army USA West30)

Because of its rapid growth, cultivating Cilantro successfully requires some forethought, planning, and aftercare.

Watering Needs for Cilantro Plants

One of the most important things you can do for your Cilantro plant is to make sure that you water it regularly, not just when the seedlings have appeared but even before that.

The new seeds buried beneath the surface need to be kept constantly wet for 7-10 days after planting in order to germinate faster and successfully.

Newly planted seedlings benefit from more water than less, and many gardeners tend to have a schedule where they add water to their crops in the mornings and also again at night.

This level of frequency can be reduced after about 10 days to just 1 inch a week if the soil is capable of retaining that amount without it running off too quickly.

A more frequent watering regimen would be needed in hotter climates or in areas with very sandy soil that doesn’t hang on to moisture very well such as in arid zones like Colorado, and the very dry climate in Arizona.

Consequently, a daily or even twice-daily watering session would be required in these desert-like regions.

But how can you determine whether the quantity of water you are providing is sufficient?

Experience, experimentation, and keeping a close eye on the condition of your plants and the soil’s dryness or lack of, should tell you all you need to know, and when you need to just add water.

Still, it’s not always easy to guess whether you’re pouring 1 inch of water or 2 inches.

To be more precise, purchasing a rain gauge will eliminate the guesswork and keep an accurate reading on how much water your plant has gotten each week

Cilantro Plant Care in Your Cilantro Garden

Looking after your Cilantro starts with making sure the soil has enough organic matter mixed in from the first day of planting. If the ground does not drain well, make it so by either creating a mound or amending the soil by adding old compost.

Growing Zones For Cilantro Plant (Where To Grow in the U.S)

Cilantro thrives in full sun but can also be grown in mild shade, which is especially helpful in the South and Southwest, where the sun can become quite hot. The best time to plant in these hardiness zones is going to be in the autumn or early spring, approximately a month before the last frost.

In Zones 8, 9, and 10, fall is the best time to plant since the seeds will germinate and grow before the temperature becomes too hot in late spring, and the same schedule applies to the North where late April is the ideal target date.

How To Cut Cilantro Plant To Make Them Healthier

Properly pruning your Cilantro leaves is crucial to the longevity, health, and appearance of your plant.

By snipping away stems at the base just above a leaf or secondary stem when your plant reaches about 6 inches in height, will encourage the plant to grow even more leaves.

But, and this is important, don’t remove more than a third of the foliage at any one time to prevent weakening the entire plant.

Cilantro Plant Growth Rate and Storage

Cilantro is a fast-growing plant that is best eaten as fresh as possible.

The taste of the leaves is drastically reduced when it is cooked or dried, resembling merely a shadow of its original fresh state. And the same goes for the seeds.

Graphics of Cilantro plant growth chart showing sapling to full grown images of the Cilantro plant with height range based on age.

They will lose their taste rapidly after being ground, so a top tip is to grind them just before using them for the best-tasting results.

Self-Seeding Cilantro Flower

When you first notice flowers blossoming on your Cilantro plant, it’s a sure sign that the seeds quickly ripening will follow,5 and that the leaves will soon become very bitter and inedible if they are not quickly removed.

The flowers are short-lived and mark the development of the seeds, which, as they ripen, the seed heads will dry up and crack open, fall to the ground, and snuggle under the surface where they will grow the next crop of Cilantro plants without any human intervention.

Flowering Cilantro Problems

Everyone loves flowers and normally when they blossom on a plant it is a good and welcomed sight. Not so with Cilantro.

If the weather is too hot the plant will bloom flowers first instead of developing leaves.3

This is referred to as bolting and will possibly lead to the seeds of the plant becoming unusable and the leaves not being as vibrant or flavorful as they should be.

Flowering cilantro showing a bunch of white blossoms on the plant.

(Image: Peter Stevens31)

To avoid this, make sure the plant has sufficient water, not too much heat, and the flowers snipped off sooner rather than later.

Companion Plants For Growing Cilantro

Having the correct plants around it in the garden is just as important as giving Cilantro the care and attention it needs to flourish, and it’s therefore important to choose suitable companion plants for your Cilantro.

Success cannot be ensured simply by planting helpful plants in close proximity to one other and avoiding harmful ones as Cilantro is a fast-grower that may outcompete not just weeds but also certain vegetables.

With that in mind, it’s often best to either plant it after plants like brassicas are established or give it plenty of room to spread out beforehand.

Even though Cilantro thrives in broad light, it is necessary to give it some shade occasionally by planting tall flowers that will also block the wind, and attract beneficial insects like bees and various types of butterflies.

Take the time to study this list of some great companions for your Cilantro plants to see which ones will suit your landscape and help your Cilantro grow healthier.

Castor Bean Vegetables

Planting Cilantro near leafy greens like cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and others can attract beneficial insects that will devour pests like spider mites, beetles, and other insects.


Cilantro, like green vegetables, draws natural predators to clear the garden of pests, so planting potatoes near it will safeguard them like sentries on a 24-hour watch.


The insect-repellent properties of Cilantro help to protect young spears of asparagus plants from harmful pests, and they won’t have to fight each other for nutrients, either, which can happen with some companions.


This herb is often touted as the ideal companion plant for growing with Cilantro as it is an expert at shielding it from bugs that target it.


Anise is a lesser-known plant that pairs well with Cilantro due to Cilantro’s ability to hasten and enhance the germination of anise seeds. Anise, according to some, also makes Cilantro seeds more viable.


Both the Cilantro and the tomatoes will serve to keep the soil cool and protect the crop from pests, but take care when planting them together. The problem is that Cilantro needs nitrogen-rich soil, whereas tomatoes need a different kind of fertilizer which won’t agree with its companion.

Angled shot of a garden featuring different companion plants for growing cilantro plant like tomatoes and spinach.

(Image: OakleyOriginals33)

If monitored correctly, they can grow problem-free in the same plot of land.

Sweet Alyssum

The colorful and fragrant flower is a nice addition to any neighborhood. It benefits Cilantro by the presence of lady beetles and other helpful insects that they attract,1 and these insects feed on aphids and other like-minded pests that have a hunger for Cilantro leaves.

Sugar Snap Peas

This particular crop is a welcome addition to any area where the soil is low on nitrogen.

It enriches the soil with nitrogen, which is crucial to the growth and well-being of Cilantro plants, and increases the variety of soil microbes, which in turn improves soil quality by making more nutrients accessible.

Green Beans

Just like Sugar Snap peas, they are excellent companion plants for Cilantro because they provide needed shade, fix nitrogen in the soil, and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.

These are just some brief suggestions for companion plants to grow alongside your Cilantro, depending on your desired outcome and the advantages you want to get. There are more such as sunflowers, and coreopsis that are good for soil health, and others such as strawberries and marigolds that will lure in a host of beneficial bugs.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the combination that’s perfect for your landscape.

Cilantro Plant Disease Prevention and Management

Cilantro are low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for but need to be looked after.

They are not overly sensitive to heat or cold but are susceptible to certain diseases that can cause a significant amount of damage. Below you can see just three of them, how they injure the plant, and how they can be controlled.

Powdery Mildew

The first sign of this infection is the presence of a powdery white growth on the undersides of young leaves, the stems, and the buds which eventually covers the leaf surface completely.

Affected leaves shrink and become misshapen, and the plant itself may be unable to produce viable seeds.

Prevalent in areas with high humidity levels where the plants are unable to properly dry out, the spores are also adept at traveling through the air to infect nearby plants.

Prevention comes in the form of ensuring there is adequate airflow between the plants, while available treatment options include a blend of baking soda and water or milk and water.

With either concoction make sure you spray enough of it all over the infected areas as if you miss any of the fungus it will return with a vengeance.

Stem Gall

This infection is very unsightly, causing the leaf stalks, peduncles, stems, and seeds to develop tumor-like swellings that start off feeling smooth but eventually bleed and become rough.

The diseased veins make the leaves seem like they are drooping under the weight of the tumors that continue to multiply and grow to lengths of 12.5 mm and widths of about 3 mm.

Conditions that are favorable to the infection of the galls include relatively high soil moisture and a high soil temperature that can harbor the pathogen responsible which is more than capable of remaining dormant for years.4

In some cases, the galls can be pruned away along with the infected leaves, and the wound treated with a prune sealer. If after that the plant shows no sign that it is going to make a comeback, you will be left with no other choice but to remove and destroy it.


This is a soil-borne disease where the pathogen is already lying in wait even before you have sowed your Cilantro seeds.

Once infected, the tips of the leaves will start to droop, wither, and die off. The plant will struggle to grow and if it does, the seeds will more than likely remain green and immature.

This disease is so dangerous that it will either lead to the Cilantro plant becoming sterile or ultimately to its death.

Treatment for the soil comes in the form of using a nitrate nitrogen fertilizer, chemical fumigation, or a form of heat treatment. How effective they will be will depend on the level of infection and how long ago it occurred.

Total crop loss is a distinct possibility when a severe infection occurs at an early stage and is allowed to run rampant.

How To Stop Cilantro Plant Disease

How is it possible to stop diseases from infecting crops?

A simple enough question with a complicated answer.

Plants and crops from around the world have adapted to their local diseases via natural selection and have a certain level of resistance to the worst that the pathogens have to offer.

The problem arises when those pathogens are imported on infected crops into other regions of the globe where those local crops have never been exposed to them before.

This is one of the reasons why it’s important to control the flow of agricultural products across borders including seeds, lumber, complete plants, and soil between countries.

Monoculture and polyculture are two methods that proliferate the spread of diseases and help control them at the same time.

In a monoculture, for example, you would plant several agricultural crops in close proximity to one another in order to maximize yield and to facilitate an easier harvesting system.

Although this space-saving and time-saving method of planting bears fruit, so to speak, it does have its drawbacks due to the close proximity of plants of the same species.

If an infection breaks out there is more of a likelihood that the other plants will become infected, and will not be able to help in any way to stop the spread.

In a polyculture,2 the idea is to plant many different types of crops in the same plot to slow the spread of any infectious disease, and also to boost the local ecosystem with their own unique traits.

There is such a high level of variety in the plant community that some species are usually able to resist an infection that would kill another plant.

This form of biological control by introducing a new species into an environment is also commonly known as companion planting.

Common Pests of the Cilantro Plant

The pungent aroma of Cilantro is an effective insect deterrent that humans like but pests loathe.

Not all of them are kept at bay, so it is always advisable to do regular daily checks to catch pests before they can do any major damage to your plants.


Pests like aphids, for example, if allowed to go uncontrolled on your Cilantro, may well do significant harm to your plants and even kill them. Capturing them early enough will give your plant a fighting chance at recovering.

The signs that aphids are having their wicked way with your Cilantro leaves is when they start to turn yellow and little “bumps” form on the underside of leaves.

The way to get rid of these pests is by using insecticidal soap or by planting marigolds that attract ladybugs which will hunt them down for you.

Army Worms

If you notice a sudden loss of foliage on your Cilantro plant, odds are the culprits are army worms.

Fortunately, these caterpillar pests are easy to spot and just as easy to pick off and drown in a bowl of soapy water.

If left to their own devices, they will defoliate your plant and as one desert their latest victim and march on to the one, hence the name.

Leaf Hoppers

Leaves and blossoms on your plants may turn yellow and wilt if they are being attacked by these tiny leaf hoppers.

They get their name from their ability to leap from leaf to leaf when agitated and are equally famous for the way they strip a plant of its leaves in a short space of time. Insecticidal soap, pyrethrum, or neem oil may be used to solve this problematic infestation.

The good news is that they are non-lethal to the plant, causing more cosmetic issues rather than health ones.

Attracting some of their common enemies will be more beneficial in the long run, so interplant other crops that will attract lacewings, spiders, and assassin bugs to do the dirty work for you.18

Natural Pest Control for Cilantro Plant

One of the most natural ways to control pest infestation is simply to put on your gardening gloves and manually remove all the bugs.

After removing them, submerge them in a bucket or bowl of soapy water until they stop wriggling, or go the old-fashioned route and just stomp them flat.

While handpicking is effective for bigger pests, it is impractical and inefficient for smaller ones so use natural insecticidal soaps or horticulture oils to eliminate the ones you cannot reach.

Both the soil and oil solutions can be produced with homemade products mixed with water and can affect the insects by disturbing their metabolisms or even preventing them from breathing.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is an organic and effective insecticide that is often used to get rid of a variety of insects that feed on leaves, insects that can cause cosmetic damage to your plants, or chew them to the ground.

The oil is extracted from seeds available from the southeast Asian native tree, Azadirachta indica which is commonly referred to as the Margosa tree or the Nimtree.

A bottle of neem oil and neem fruits and leaves on a wooden surface.

(Image: Ninetechno32)

Fortunately for gardeners, neem oil does not affect butterflies, bees, ladybugs, earthworms, or other pollinators since these insects do not consume leaves, so it just takes down the bad bugs.

As an added benefit it has been shown to kill harmful bacteria and some types of fungus, but at the same time care has to be taken when spraying it depending on the strength of the solution.

Always do a patch test before full application, as directed by the manufacturer, as it is possible for neem oil to cause skin and eye discomfort to some sensitive individuals.

As much as you are able to, find out whether you need undiluted neem oil, a diluted solution with water, or a specially produced oil for the specific bugs assaulting your Cilantro plants.

But how does it affect the insects?

There is a compound called Azadirachtin in the oil that interferes with the hormones in some insects such as aphids, and when they get a good dose it quickly causes them to suffocate and die off.

It’s possible to use the oil as a preventative measure by spraying your plants and crops on a regular basis without harming your plant, your pets, and other beneficial insects, or the local ecosystem.9

Growing a Cilantro Plant From a Seed and From Seedlings

Cilantro is an annual herb that may be grown successfully both inside and outdoors with the main criteria for success being the time when they are planted.

Ideally, the seeds should be planted either in the first few weeks of spring or the first few weeks of autumn when planting outdoors.

Choose a location in your landscape where the soil is well-draining and use a pH gauge to confirm the pH level is between 6.2 to 6.8, and that 6 to 8 hours of sunshine will hit the spot.

Close up of a cilantro seed in soil.

(Image: titanium2225)

Once those three requirements are met, it’s time to start digging.

  • Dig the holes so they are about half an inch deep to allow more than enough growing room.
  • Leave a 1-foot minimum distance between the holes.
  • Placing 2 seeds in each hole will ensure that at least one will germinate successfully.
  • Filling in the hole with soil mixed with organic composting materials will improve the health of the plant as it grows.6
  • Water the soil quite deeply, and then continue to do so weekly when the soil becomes dry to the touch.
  • In about 7-10 days the seedlings will all emerge and will require a fair amount of sunlight but shading them in the afternoon is a good idea to prevent bolting.
  • Another way to control bolting and promote the plant’s health at the same, time is what is known as lawnmowing. This involves cutting the plant off close to the ground and allowing it to grow back slowly, and then every week doing the same to the others whose sowing was staggered from the beginning.
  • Once a month you can apply an organic fertilizer that will give the growing seedlings a nice nutritional boost.

How To Grow Cilantro and Prevent Bolting

Although not everyone will like the flavor of Cilantro, some people may find the taste of the seeds to be more tolerable, while others could find the flavor of the leaves to be more to their liking.

Whatever the case may be, the benefit of being able to cultivate your own plant within arms reach will give you multiple options of which meals you can quickly spice up at the drop of a hat.

And more than that, you will be able to choose which variety you can grow to complement your particular style of cooking, as long as you grow them properly and don’t mistakenly cause the bolting of the plant.17

Stalks and flowers on a cilantro plant showing signs of cilantro bolting.

(Image: Keith McDuffee26)

If this happens, the stem can grow thicker than usual, the leaves may be misshapen and the flavor profile will not even be as tasty as soapy.

This problem can occur if you have started planting at the wrong time of year, or if you have started to sow your seeds when the weather has become too warm.

To avoid this problem, the number one tip on how to grow Cilantro easily is to plant the seeds during the cooler seasons.

Growing Cilantro: When To Plant for the Best Yield

When the temperature is chilly in the spring and autumn, Cilantro grows quickly, putting up a long, lanky flower stalk as the weather starts to become warm. These flower stalks will hold flower clusters with white or pinkish blooms, which will eventually produce Coriander seeds.

The leaves of Cilantro plants may tolerate a little frost, making them an attractive winter partner for certain types of flowers and vegetables in locations that are somewhat moderate.

Always plant Cilantro when the temperatures are cool in the spring or autumn after the last of the frost in the ground is gone and in an area that is exposed to direct sunlight.

In the South and Southwest, planting should take place in the autumn or early spring about one month before the last frost, but in the northern regions, planting should take place in late spring.

The fall is the best time to plant in Zones 8, 9, and 10 since the seeds will germinate and the plants will survive until late spring when the temperature starts to become warmer.

Adhere to these times and you’ll always be good to grow a healthy batch of Cilantro.

Planting: Best Growing Conditions for Cilantro

Cilantro will prematurely blossom, or bolt, if planted in late June or even in the hot summer days in early July. Vegetable breeders are cognizant of these daytime temperatures as well as the actual duration of the scorching hot days and are very aware that both can contribute towards shortening the lifespan of your Cilantro plant when it bolts.

If you want your Cilantro to last longer before it bolts, horticulture experts recommend planting the seedlings in a cooler portion of the garden. If that’s not possible, wait till the days are shorter and cooler in the late summer to plant to increase blooming and seed development.

Close-up shot of leaves from a cilantro seedling.

(Image: Stacy27)

But having your Cilantro plant bolting isn’t all bad, the early blooming of flowers attracts hordes of beneficial insects that will aid in dislodging the seeds and helping the plant to propagate.12

To have fresh Cilantro throughout the growing season, gardeners can sow several batches of seed at different times in soil that is well-draining and has a pH level between 6.2 to 6.8.

Direct sowing or starting Cilantro from seed yields the best results as the extensive root system might be tricky to transplant from a pot, so it’s always best to proceed with caution no matter which route you take.

How To Harvest Cilantro Seeds

The seeds of Coriander are ready to be harvested when they have become a deep brown color and readily break off from the plant’s stalks, and knowing precisely when to harvest them will determine how long they can be stored.

An oval bowl filled with cilantro seeds with some spilt over on the flat surface.

(Image: Grigorijkalyuzhnyj28)

If stored properly in a sealed container that is kept in a cool and dark place, they have up to a five-year shelf life and may be used to start new plants, or taken out and used at your leisure at mealtimes.

If you wish to store the seeds for both cooking and implantation at a later date,13 it would be better to separate them into two different containers so as not to constantly keep breaking the airtight seal on the ones you intend to sow.

But when is the right time to harvest?

It may well take up to three months from the time the seeds are sown until they are ready to be harvested, depending on your climate and the kind of Coriander you are growing.

The tell-tale sign that the seeds are ready is around three weeks after the plant has flowered and changed color from green to brown, an event that generally occurs in the summer months between July and August.

Saying that, the seeds can still be gathered when they are still green, but most people wait until the seeds become brown as the sharper and slightly more pungent taste of the green seeds is not to everyone’s liking.

They can still be used at this stage for cooking to shake up your taste buds, but just bear in mind that when storing immature seeds the shelf life will be reduced.

Refrigeration for up to two weeks will keep them fresh, but if you can wait a while longer before harvesting when they turn a pale brown, the taste and the seeds’ longevity will be improved and extended.

Harvesting Cilantro and How To Gather Coriander Seeds

Getting to the seeds of a Coriander plant is a straightforward task with the help of a sharp pair of clean shears and a brown paper bag, snipping them off at the stem just below where they are growing.

As they are quite large in size as seeds go, stripping off just the seed heads by hand is another option that is equally quick and easy but does less damage to the plant than cutting through the stems.

Coriandrum sativum plants in a pot showing dense foliage.

(Image: Kel and Val29)

If you prefer that nature takes its course, and you’re in no hurry, just place bags beneath the seeds, and after about two weeks of drying time the seeds will just fall off by themselves, free of stems and easier to be cooked or stored.

Before storing, drying seeds before placing them in an airtight container is a must. This can be done by either hanging them if the stems are still connected, spreading them out on a paper towel using a dehydrator,19 or even placing them in an oven.

When they are nice and dry, separate the seeds from any remaining stems or twigs by sieving through a colander several times.

16 Different Types of Cilantro

There is a surprising number of varieties and cultivars of Cilantro that can be gathered and sampled from other parts of the world, and even grown in your very own backyard.

Let’s have a look at just 10 of them that will add that little something extra to your next cook-off.

VarietyPlant Details
1. Advanced Turbo IIThis cultivar of Cilantro is resistant to bacterial blight and a few other types of bothersome diseases and is so temperature-resistant that it seldom bolts.
It has beautiful, glossy green leaves and grows so quickly that the leaves are ready to be picked in as little as 35 days.
This is the not simplest variety to track down, but if bolting is a problem in your well-manicured and organized garden, this might just be your type.
2. CalypsoIt will take about 50–55 days, depending on whether you want seeds or fresh leaves, before you’ll have something edible to cook with. Yet this high-yielding Coriander cultivar will consistently produce abundant bunches of fresh foliage.
Calypso has a Caribbean twist to the leaves and complements West Indian cuisine such as rice and peas and chicken well.
As another plant that doesn’t bolt easily, these attractive bushy plants should be on your to-have list.
3. CaribeCaribe is a cultivar that has large, dark green leaves and is an excellent specimen for growing in greenhouses. It is bolt-resistant, and yields leaves within 55 days and seeds slightly longer in 100 days
4. ConfettiThe medium-green, finely ruffled leaves look great as a garnish and have a softer, sweeter taste than some other Cilantro varieties which sometimes comes as a pleasant surprise when first sampled.
The fine leaves actually need very minimal preparation and are ideal for stuffing rice paper rolls or tacos, or for incorporating into Asian-inspired salads to add a little twist to the flavors.
As early as 30-35 days after seeding,11 fresh leaves are ready to be gathered, and in about another 50-65 days the seeds can be harvested.
5. CruiserThe dark green leaves of this small cultivar have a delicious taste even after blooming, a situation when most other Cilantro leaves tend to turn bitter. They are ideal for growing in pots because of their small size but are not the fastest in giving up their leaves.
Don’t expect any fresh leaves for your pot before 50 days or seeds before 120 days, but they may be worth the wait.
VarietyPlant Details
6. DelfinoIn 2006, Delfino had the honor of being named a winner of All-America Selections and has lived up to the hype ever since.
This cultivar, like Confetti, has beautifully cut, feathery leaves but tends to bear better leaves in the same amount of time.
In 35 days, Delfino develops bundles of leaves that are ready to be picked, and in 80 to 85 days, it produces seeds that are ready to be collected.
This variety’s delicate leaves may be added to make a delicious lime Cilantro yogurt sauce, or for elevating a mouth-watering dip.
7. Dwarf LemonSmall but with a powerful taste, this fresh Coriander cultivar is more lemony than that of other Cilantro species and is a very tasty garnish for foods like hummus.
The plants themselves only grow to be around 12 inches tall and the first time you will be able to harvest any of the young leaves will be in 50 days, while the seeds will need another 60 before they are ready.
8. KanchanaburiThe Kanchanaburi cultivar of C. sativum, named after the Thai city of the same name, is more sought after for its seeds than its leaves.
This variety is ideal for producing your own Coriander spices since it blossoms quickly and yields a lot of big seeds in roughly 100 to 120 days, but that’s not to say the leaves are ignored.
While the foliage is still around, it may be used as a garnish and since it blooms so early, Kanchanaburi is great for enticing beneficial insects like bees and butterflies into your garden.20
9. Large LeafIt takes Large Leaf between 40 and 50 days to produce a harvestable bunch of leaves, and another 90 to 100 days before you see any flowers which is good news because it means it’s not in a hurry to bolt like other varieties.
In comparison to other cultivars of C. sativum, Large Leaf may produce up to three times as much foliage which is excellent if you like to prepare loads of tasty chimichurri sauce.
10. LeisureC. sativum ‘Leisure’ is a high-yielding, slow-bolting cultivar with feathery, flat, medium-green leaves imbued with a wonderful, spicy taste that easily takes whatever you’ve got cooking to another level.
You will have to have your pot on a slow boil because 50-55 days is the waiting time for the first bunch of leaves, and a further 40-50 for the first seeds to drop.
VarietyPlant Details
11. MoroccanThis cultivar is an early bloomer and may be prone to bolting so needs to be watched over with a keen eye and a sharp pair of shears to snip off the flowers.
The early flowers are somewhat of a plus for herb growers who want to attract pollinators, but for those growers longing for the leaves, 45 days is about the average waiting time, and another 45 for the seeds.
12. Pokey JoeThis hardy plant is slow to bolt and has a reputation for its excellent flavor, even surpassing the flavor of other Cilantro kinds. When combined into a pesto and compared to other samples, it comes out as the tastiest every time.
It may take 100 days to collect the seeds and 50 to harvest the leaves, but if you love making a good pesto, this should be your first choice.
13. Rak TamachatRak Tamachat Cilantro has a more subdued taste than other varieties, but its enormous, two-inch-wide leaves are what really make this plant stand out.
The fresh leaves take around 50-60 days to develop and are really quite crunchy, while the seeds need about 90-110 days and are themselves very delicious.
14. SantoBlessed with a very upright structure, this cultivar grows quickly and bolts slowly, making it a good choice for hot climates.
Often nicknamed, Long Standing or Slow Bolt, this Cilantro cultivar is a fan favorite that works well in a wide range of Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes, like chili, burritos, and guacamole.21
The delicious dark-green leaves make an appearance between 50-55 days and the seeds a while later in 40 to 50 days.
15. StandbyIt’s fair to say that Standby is a must-have staple ingredient to have in the kitchen.
The vivid taste profile is a prime suspect in culinary delights throughout the globe, notably those of the Latin American, Asian, and Middle Eastern regions.
Extremely drought-resistant and slow to bolt, it thrives when planted at any time of year, but particularly in the late autumn for a winter harvest or an early seed production the following year.
The intense lime-like tasty seeds become ready within 100 days, while the leaves are harvestable around 50 days earlier.
16. SunmasterC. sativum ‘Sunmaster’ is a slow-bolting, heat-tolerant cultivar that grows quickly, yields a lot of leaves, and can withstand freezing temperatures because of its thick, dark green protective foliage.
The seeds are generally ready in about 100 days while the leaves can be harvested in 50 days. They go well with olive oil, lemon juice, and add a cooling and refreshing flavor to many Asian plates that otherwise may have been a tad too spicy.
In Mexico, the very citrusy leaves are often found in local marketplaces where they can be bought fresh to flavor those fava beans.

What Is Cilantro and What Does Cilantro Look Like?

People sometimes mistake this flat-leafed, green herb for parsley, (Petroselinum crispum) because of its similar appearance and taste,8 which is not surprising as they look similar and are from the same family, the Apiaceae.

Cilantro plant identification chart showing a full grown Cilantro plant and Cilantro leaves, Cilantro flowers, Cilantro stem, and Cilantro seeds images along with a color-coded map of the US showing Cilantro plant growing zones.

However, unlike the much-loved parsley, this little herb has created two distinct camps: those that tend to either love Cilantro or those that loathe Cilantro, making it one of the most polarizing herbs out there.

When eaten fresh, Cilantro has a strong, fresh flavor with undertones of pepper and lemon, yet some people have stated that the taste for them is reminiscent of eating a bar of soap.

An incredible statement considering how flavorful the herb is, yet their claims are not as farfetched as you might think.

About 4%-14% of the worldwide population finds the flavor of Cilantro to be soapy and unpalatable, and just cannot stomach the taste.22

This soapy is not imaginary as there is a substance called aldehyde found inside the leaves, and it is this same chemical compound that is created while manufacturing soap as well as being found in certain insects.

Not everyone can detect this hidden compound, only those with a particular variant within the cluster of olfactory genes on the tongue, and no matter how good you tell them the flavor is, their taste buds will forever tell them differently.

Regardless of which side of the line you stand on, you can’t deny that its subtleties have been a welcome addition to cooking recipes throughout the globe for generations, and the likes of Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines wouldn’t taste the same without it.

How To Identify: Leaves and Flowers

Growing Cilantro from seed to harvest only takes around three to four weeks, which is pretty quick. The small green leaves are flat, lobed, and light enough to flap in the smallest of breezes.

To keep the plant alive and healthier for longer and to be able to have a never-ending supply of fresh leaves, pinch them off frequently and pop them in the pot.

Top-shot of cilantro leaves on flat surface.

(Image: Brett_Hondow23)

The herbaceous Cilantro plant grows types of white flowers, pink flowers, and occasionally purple flowers that look impressive but are really just cosmetic, with barely any discernible scent. The flavor is similar to the Cilantro leaves, but not as strong, and they are often included in Indian cuisine to calm down the heat of a hot curry.

Coriander vs Cilantro: Is Coriander the Same as Cilantro?

Both terms, Coriander and Cilantro, refer to the same plant, Coriandrum sativum. However, the names apply somewhat confusingly to different parts of the plant.

In some regions, the term “Coriander” refers just to the dried seeds and not the leaves, flowers, stems, or roots. But most people, when saying the name Cilantro, are specifically referring to the leaves and the stems.

This confusion is even more compounded because, at the same time in other parts of the world, the term “Coriander” refers to the whole plant.

Some chefs and entire countries have tried to clarify this often confusing situation by calling the fresh leaves and stems of the Coriander plant simply Coriander, while the dried seeds of the plant are known as Coriander seeds.

But the different names still persist.

It is highly unusual for such a small plant to have two distinct titles, but if you get into the habit of referring to the leaves and stems as Cilantro and the seeds,10 whether ground or whole, as Coriander, 99% of the people will know which part of the plant you want to put into your guacamole or your spicy curry.

Does Cilantro and Coriander Taste the Same?

While Cilantro and Coriander are harvested from the same plant, these two herbs couldn’t be more different in terms of flavor, texture, and nutritional value. As such, they are subsequently assigned to vastly different culinary dishes and one shouldn’t be substituted for the other.

Indian curry in a bowl garnished with cilantro herbs.

(Image: tortugamediaservices24)

Cilantro has a crisp lemon and peppery flavor and finds itself in recipes for Mexican, Indian, and Spanish dishes such as

  • Making traditional Mexican salsa.
  • Guacamole.
  • A garnish placed in chutney which is an Indian sauce
  • Acorda, which is a kind of Portuguese bread soup.
  • And as a garness in soups to enhance the flavor.

Coriander seeds, on the other hand, have a warmer and spicier flavor and are typically used in spicy meals.

  • A wide range of curry dishes with different proteins as well as vegetarian choices combined with rice
  • Soups and chowders
  • Rubs for meat
  • Vegetables that have been pickled
  • Bread from Borodinsky: Russian-style rye sourdough bread
  • And Dal Dhana, which is a favorite Indian snack of roasted Coriander seeds

A point to remember is that whenever you’re following a recipe that calls for the inclusion of Coriander, just double-check how the item is included to see if the recipe is referring to the plant’s leaves and stalks or its seeds.

Choosing Cilantro Herbs

When shopping for Cilantro, look for leaves that are green and fragrant as yellow or wilted leaves are less delicious and should be avoided at all costs.

Cilantro Plant Facts

There are so many hidden truths, myths, and rumors about this edible plant that it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Some of them are factual, while there are others that are, perhaps, fictional.

Let’s start with Coca-Cola.

  • A rumor that has been going around in some circles for years is the claim that the secret formula tightly guarded in Coca-Cola underground vaults, which accounts for the unique taste in this world-famous beverage, is actually the Coriander seeds.
  • Pharaohs, in Ancient Egypt, were buried with Coriander seeds in the belief that they would be able to plant them in the afterlife.
  • If you don’t have a fridge handy, the leaves of the Cilantro plant have often been used to preserve various types of food.
  • Cilantro juice or tea made from the leaves is often used to treat hangovers in Russia because of its beneficial effects on the liver and its reported ability to relieve headaches.
  • Cooking the seeds lessens the flavor, but roasting them in a pan makes them more potent and flavorful.

Coriander and Cilantro Plant Benefits and Uses

Several studies have shown that Cilantro and Coriander offer several health advantages, some the same, many different.

Graphic that shows the several; health benefits of cilantro and coriander plant.

Both Cilantro and Coriander are high in antioxidant compounds that are believed to aid in the reduction of inflammation in the body by binding to and reducing inflammation-promoting chemicals known as free radicals.

Cilantro Health BenefitsCoriander Health Benefits
Cilantro is touted to be able to reduce inflammationCoriander seeds are also believed to be able to reduce inflammation
Research is ongoing into the effects of Cilantro extract in reversing the cosmetic effects of skin aging.A test-tube research also discovered that the extracted antioxidants found in Coriander seeds helped lower the inflammation and possibly prevented the development of cancer cells from the stomach, prostate, colon, breast, and lungs.
Can lessen some of the risk factors associated with heart disease, which is the main cause of mortality around the globe.Can lessen some of the risk factors associated with heart disease, which is the main cause of mortality around the globe.
Cilantro extract supplements may lessen the risk of heart disease by decreasing the chances of dangerous blood clots.16The Coriander seed extract was shown to dramatically lower blood pressure in one animal-tested research program, but further research is needed.
Eating Cilantro has proved to be beneficial for diabetics with type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels by enhancing the activity of enzymes that aid in the removal of sugar from the blood.Eating Coriander seeds in what form has equally proven to be beneficial for diabetics with type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels by enhancing the activity of enzymes that aid in the removal of sugar from the blood.
In one test-tube investigation, chemicals from fresh Cilantro leaves were shown to help combat foodborne diseases by destroying germs from the  Salmonella strain.Some research has been conducted into the effectiveness of Coriander in inhibiting the growth of germs that cause urinary tract infections.

While these findings are encouraging, additional human-based investigation and research on the antioxidant properties and medicinal benefits of Cilantro and Coriander are required to confirm their efficacy.

Traditional Chinese medicinal practitioners have long prescribed both Cilantro and Coriander to aid in a long list of maladies as shown below

  • To relieve nausea
  • For constipation
  • For vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Bronchitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach cramps
  • Anemia
  • Sunburns
  • Measles

Cilantro and the Impact on Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

According to a recent study from the University of Oxford, those who follow a plant-based diet are responsible for 75% less GHG emissions than those who consume more than 3.5 ounces of meat per day.

Those results were based on vegetarians who still consume dairy products, pescatarians who also eat fish, and vegans who abstain from all dairy, all fish, and all meat products.

If the study was based solely on veganism, there would be even less damage caused by land erosion from excessive farming, less deforestation, and environmental damage as a result of climate change would be greatly reduced because of the smaller carbon footprint of vegan diet.

Top-shot of a plate of vegan meal featuring rice, sweet potatoes, and cilantro on a flat surface.

(Image: Ella Olsson34)

Climate awareness has encouraged numerous people to make some moderate but significant dietary changes, many of them fully adopting the vegan lifestyle of sustainable eating.

This is because in general, the carbon footprint of producing meat from animals is substantially larger than that of producing food from plants.7

By growing your own vegetables and herbs (like the Cilantro plant) at home, you can help reduce the transportation that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States of America and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cilantro Plants

How Far Apart To Plant Cilantro Plant?

The seeds should be planted about 2-4 inches apart and the seedlings about 2 to 3 feet apart.

How Much Sunlight Does Cilantro Plant Need Each Day?

On a daily basis, a mature Cilantro plant needs to be exposed to 6-8 hours of sunshine.

Is Cilantro a Perennial?

No, Cilantro is an annual herb.15

What Is the Cilantro Plant Growing Zones in the United States?

Cilantro grows in most parts of the United States, starting in Zone 2 all the way to Zone 11.


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24Photo by tortugamediaservices. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

25Cilantro seed in soil Photo by titanium22 / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

26Cilantro going to seed Photo by Keith McDuffee / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

27Cilantro from seed Photo by Stacy / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

28Photo by Grigorijkalyuzhnyj. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

29Kel’s cilantro growing on patio ledge. Photo by Kel and Val / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

30Cilantro Photo by Salvation Army USA West / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

31Cilantro flowers Photo by Peter Stevens / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

32Photo by Ninetechno. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

33Garden Fresh Photo by OakleyOriginals / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

34Cilantro Lemon Grass Rice Photo by Ella Olsson / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

35Coriander Plant Photo by RPREDDYNAGAVELLY. (2021, February 22) / Pixabay Content License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>