Growing Cilantro Indoors (Coriander/Dhaniya) from Seed

Introduction to growing Cilantro indoors from seed in pots/containers 

Cilantro is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae and its also called Coriander. Growing Cilantro indoors can be as successful if you give the plant a little extra care. When planting Cilantro indoors, it’s best not to transplant plants from the garden. When you grow Cilantro indoors, start with seeds or by starter plants. Cilantro can be either grown for its leaves or its seeds.  Here’s we discuss how to grow Cilantro in indoors. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Cilantro growing conditions
  • Tips for Growing Cilantro indoors
  • How do you grow Cilantro seeds at home
  • How do you care for a Coriander plant indoors
  • How do you keep Cilantro from bolting
  • Growing Cilantro from seed indoors
  • How to grow Cilantro faster
  • Cilantro plant care
  • Is Cilantro easy to grow

A step by step guide to growing Cilantro indoors

Different varieties of Cilantro

There are several different types and varieties of Cilantro available. They are Calypso, Cruiser, Leisure, Santa, Leisure, Marino, and Sabor.

Soil and Light requirement for growing Cilantro

Cilantro plant does best in airy, light, fast-draining soil with plenty of perlite or sharp sand mixed in to increase drainage. If the Cilantro is in a garden, add mulch around the plants as soon as they have grown enough to be visible. In a container, use a premium potting mix rather than a garden soil for growing Cilantro, which is too heavy. Depending on your latitude, even the south-facing window may not give enough sun during the winter.

To grow Cilantro indoors, the plant must have full sun 4 to 5 hours per day. If you use a growing light, growing the Cilantro inside will be more successful. A simple LED, 45 watts grow light can give the right amount of light your baby Cilantro needs. Lights must be suspended just above the surface of the plant; and this prevents the Cilantro seedlings from becoming “leggy” and straining to reach the light source. As the plant grows, the light must be raised.

What temperature does Cilantro grow best in?

Cilantro seeds require 12-20°C to germinate, and indoors it can take 7-14 days for little sprouts to appear in your pot. Cilantro plant can survive a light frost, but if you are Cilantro growing in your windowsill, make sure your placement is safe from extremely cold drafts.

Cilantro seed.
Cilantro seed.

Some air circulation is good for Cilantro, particularly when growing microgreens. Cilantro plant is susceptible to damping off, a fungus that first appears as white mold and then shrivels the stems until the seedlings die. Prevent this with good air circulation or a small fan.

Water requirement for growing Cilantro

Well-drained soil is the key to caring for the Cilantro plant, as well as thorough watering, compared to frequent watering. Only water when the top 15% of the soil is dry, as dampness will create disease, particularly with high seed density.

A spray bottle is the ideal method of irrigation when germinating Cilantro seeds and watering seedlings. A cheap alternative could be a plastic water bottle with small holes punched into the tightened lid. If the soil is so dry that it has difficulty absorbing, and be patient for it to saturate before dosing with water again. Gradually water your Cilantro plant until the soil absorbs the water and it drains out the bottom of your container. Unchlorinated water is best, and you can take tap water and let it sit for 24 hours so the chlorine evaporates. Unglazed, terra cotta pots are best to help the soil remain moist while being impermeable to light so algae do not grow.

Cilantro start from seed

Seed-grown Cilantro plant reaches usable size faster than it takes many herbs to root from cuttings. Young plant leaves can be pinched off within 30 days and, without intervention, Cilantro seeds can be harvested after 90 days. If a ready supply of Cilantro is desirable, harvest leaves regularly and do not allow the plant to flower and the plant will regrow Cilantro leaves. Flowering plants have begun to use their available energy to make seeds, not tasty leaves. Normally the leaves of flowering herbs, including Cilantro, have a somewhat bitter or “off” taste.

How to grow Cilantro indoors

One of the easiest methods of sowing Coriander seeds indoors is by sprouting methods. Pre-soak the seeds in a shallow dish overnight. Then place seeds in a plastic sandwich bag and seal it. Then, place the bag in a spot receiving decent sunlight for a day or two until a tiny white sprout appears. Add more water if required to ensure that the bag retains moisture.

Now that the sprouts have been formed, add some potting soil to the unsealed bag and plant these seeds in a container filled with fresh soil once the sprouts have expanded in size. Cilantro growing indoors needs more nutrition because the root system range is limited and can’t access as much soil for nutrients as it would in the garden. The soil, when planting Cilantro indoors, should be a mixture of potting soil and sand to allow water to move very freely. Water the plants until the water comes out the drainage holes and check the soil frequently, but Cilantro growing indoors should be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. This will be more in the summer months.

Add a thin layer of potting soil on top of sown seeds. Place the potted seeds in a sunny spot for up to 4 to 5 hours. You can move the pot indoors at a spot that receives 4 to 5 hours of sunlight every day or keeps in shade outdoors.

Cilantro seed spacing/plant distance

Sow the Cilantro seeds about half to one inch deep in the soil. Space the seeds at a gap of about 6 inches. Press the soil over the seeds and then cover with the half-inch layer of fine mulch.

In case if you miss this: Terrace Hydroponic Gardening.

Indoor hydroponic Cilantro/Coriander.
Indoor hydroponic Cilantro/Coriander.

The process of growing Cilantro

Step 1) Most Cilantro plants only provide a harvest for about 8 weeks before they go to seed. Then, cover a well-drained garden bed with a 2-inch layer of compost. Select a bed that receives about 6 hours of sunlight daily. Turn the compost into the top about 6 inches of soil using a spade to help improve the moisture and nutrition of the bed.

Step 2) Plant Cilantro seeds about 1/4 inch deep, and space them and about 4 inches apart in rows set 12 inches apart. It doesn’t tolerate transplanting and does best when sown directly in the garden.

Step 3) Mist the soil surface with water to moisten it after sowing seed. Mist as needed until the Cilantro seeds germinate, which can take up to 1 week. Reduce watering to once weekly as needed to maintain moisture in the top 6 inches of soil, or water when the top about 1/2 inch of soil feels dry. Pinch off excess Cilantro seedlings once they grow 3 to 4 inches tall so that the remaining plants are spaced 9 inches apart in the garden row.

Step 4) Harvest bright green, healthy leaves from the Cilantro plant as needed. Snip through the plant stems with small shears or pinch them off above a leaf. Alternatively, cut back the entire plant by up to half its height for a larger harvest and shearing can also prevent the Cilantro from going to seed.

Step 5) Allow the Cilantro to flower if you want seeds. Pick the seed heads after the blooms wilt and seed clusters dry. Separate the Cilantro seeds from the stems and store the dry seeds in an airtight jar.

Grow Cilantro from a root stem

Step 1) Place the freshly pulled Cilantro root into a glass jar with water while preparing the planter. Cilantro plants have long roots and dislike being transplanted, so the best thing you can do for transplant while it waits for its new home gives it a drink.

Step 2) Fill a 15-inch-tall by 10-inch-wide planting pot with a good and rich potting soil. You need a tall planter for Cilantro, as their roots simply become cramped in shorter pots.

Step 3) Make a hole in the center of the soil deep enough for the root to sit in comfortably without being scrunched up.

Step 4) Place the Cilantro root cutting into the hole and then lightly cover with potting mix. Dampen the soil with water using a watering can and spray or water lightly daily.

Step 5) Apply a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks to the Cilantro during the growing season (spring through fall). Once the Cilantro grows up (only around 8 weeks) it will go to seed. The Cilantro seeds can be used right away to plant and grow more Cilantro. For a good supply of the herb, plant new seeds every 2 to 3 weeks.

Caring for Cilantro plants

Germination of Coriander takes up to 3 weeks and thin young plants to 20cm apart to allow them to grow to their full size. Pour the water in dry periods and ensure the soil never dries out. If flowers develop remove them immediately and this ensures the plants focus their energy on growing new leaves. Re-sow Coriander every 3 weeks to ensure you have a continual supply during the summer. It is not necessary to feed Coriander if the soil is well nourished. However, the plants appear to be suffering give them a liquid organic feed to perk them up. Use a liquid fertilizer, or supplement the soil with the controlled-release pellets. For growing organic Cilantro, use organic fertilizer or fortify the soil with compost.

Trouble germinating Cilantro seeds

Cilantro seeds are usually the easiest to germinate. Just sprinkle them on the ground and you will see seedlings in a week. But some gardeners have trouble germinating Cilantro seeds. Cilantro seeds don’t germinate due to the following reasons;

  • Poor seed quality
  • Sowing seeds that are not meant for sowing
  • Aged seeds

Common problems to avoid while growing Cilantro

Bolting

Cilantro tends to bolt straight into flower i.e., instead of growing leaves, the plant jumps straight to the flowering stage. Bolting can occur due to heat, transplantation, and insufficient watering.

Though, there are some things that you can do to prolong the leaf production phase. Keep the soil moist, and plant the Cilantro seeds in partial share not too shady as it needs a sufficient amount of sun to grow properly.

Root Rot

Coriander might suffer from root rot and this situation is developed if the roots of the plant become too wet. Thus, well-drained soil with mixed sand is imperative for improved drainage of the plant. Overwatering can lead to oversaturation of soil and subsequent development of certain leaf diseases. The simple precaution that can avoid this will be watering in the day, avoid watering in the evening and don’t overwater the Cilantro plants.

Pests and slugs that can affect Cilantro

Coriander can have problems with aphids and whitefly, wilt and powdery mildew. Bacterial leaf spot, carrot motley dwarf, armyworm, cutworm, and nematodes can also infect the Cilantro plants. However, the plant can be mostly saved from pests and viruses with fertilizer. We recommend the usage of organic fertilizer at the growing stage for a healthy plant yield.

The harvesting procedure of Cilantro

Harvest the Cilantro leaves when the plant is big and robust enough to cope. Pluck or cut each leaf off the stem and snip whole stems if necessary. Both the plant leaves and the stalks can be used. When you growing Cilantro indoors, it is very important to harvest it with care. Indoor herb plants naturally reach for the light and can, therefore, become spindly. Pinch them at the growing tips to force a bushier plant and keep in mind when planting Cilantro indoors that it will grow less abundantly than when grown outside in your garden. Though, with added care and attention to sun exposure, soil mixture, moisture, and gentle harvesting, you will be rewarded with this flavorful and aromatic herb year-round.

Commonly asked questions about growing Cilantro indoors

You may also check this: Organic Terrace Gardening.

Pot grown Cilantro/Coriander.
Pot grown Cilantro/Coriander.
How grow Coriander in pots at home?

You can also grow Cilantro successfully in pots or trays filled with good multipurpose compost. Cilantro has deep tap roots so pots need to be at least 25cm deep.

Why is my Cilantro turning purple?

When subjected to temperature swings such as dry soil or hot days, this can turn Cilantro leaves purple. Purple leaves occur before the plant’s bolt or go to seed. Keeps Cilantro growing rapidly with regular applications of balanced organic fertilizer and adequate water and it should not have purple leaves.

How long does Cilantro take to grow?

The time it takes to grow and harvest Cilantro depends mostly on weather conditions. In warm, hot weather, Cilantro plants bolt and produce seed 4 to 6 weeks after planting. In cool spring weather, the plants might grow for several months before they produce seed.

Why is my Cilantro plant dying?

Cilantro leaves keep curling and dying because they’re on a window sill that isn’t draughty and well-watered. Well with planting Cilantro seeds you have to wait, and it is not much you can do to speed it up.

Why is my Cilantro going brown?

Leaf spot appears as small yellow spots that turn into larger brown color spots. Excess moisture and poor air circulation most cause the problem. To prevent leaf spot disease by making sure plants are grown in well-drained soil, are not overwatered, and are thinned out enough to allow good air circulation around them.

Why is my Cilantro turning white?

If your Cilantro has a white coating on leaves, it is likely powdery mildew. Powdery mildew on Cilantro is most prevalent in moist and warm conditions. Periods of high humidity, overhead watering, and overcrowded plants are likely to lead to powdery mildew disease on Cilantro and many other plants.

How many times can you harvest Coriander?

You must be harvesting Cilantro about once a week. If the Cilantro plant is growing well, you can harvest more often. Either way, you’ll want to harvest the Cilantro at least once a week to help stave off bolting.

Watch a short youtube video of growing cilantro from seed:

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