Growing Hydroponic Coriander – A Complete Guide

Growing Hydroponic Coriander.
Growing Hydroponic Coriander.

A step by step guide for growing Hydroponic Coriander

You know what? coriander is very easily grown in hydroponics. Now let us go into the details of growing hydroponic coriander, advantages hydroponic cilantro, hydroponic coriander nutrient solution and how to grow hydroponic coriander in NFT system. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), occasionally referred to as leaf coriander, Chinese or Mexican parsley or simply as coriander in many countries is a fast-growing, warm-season annual herb.

Basically, Cilantro and coriander are the same plant cilantro refers to the flat, fan-shaped leaves, while coriander refers to the seeds that are ground and used as a spice. Cilantro leaves have a typically different aroma and flavor profile than the ground seeds, but both are commonly used in the same dish, particularly in Indian cuisine.

In this article, we have used word cilantro and coriander as synonyms so dear readers don’t scratch your heads and just pump yourself to get started hydroponic coriander.

Cilantro is an exquisite addition to dishes both as a garnish and the main ingredient. Whether it is a dip for crispy fritters or adding aroma to curry even if you are looking for an experimental recipe, one of the easiest ways to try cilantro is as part of salsa or as a greeny topping on a curry.

Cilantro and its seed coriander have been used in culinary and medicinally by cultures across the world for a long time.

Coriander Leaves,
Coriander Leaves,

A member of the family Apiaceae, cilantro shares characters with parsley, carrots, and dill. Like those crops, cilantro bears a slender flower stalk with flat flowers and self-pollinated seeds. Like many herbs, cilantro is native to the Mediterranean area but has been grown widely across the globe. This herb is low-maintenance. The cilantro white flowers are also edible, used raw in salads and as a garnish. Cilantro is a fresh herb with a limited shelf, its flavor and aroma diminish with shipping and storage and the delicate foliage is prone to damage. For this reason, it is an excellent choice of growing cilantro indoors and in hydroponics system and harvest cilantro just before use when its flavor quality is at a peak.

How to start hydroponic coriander

The first step towards how to grow coriander in water or how to grow coriander without soil is deciding the cultivar or variety to grow under the hydroponic system it is advised to select a variety with resistance to bolting as it is the major problem found in hydroponic herbs.

Cilantro varieties

  • Calypso
  • Santo
  • Marino

These varieties are best suited for the hydroponic system as they show less bolting and allow two to three harvests or cuts before the plants need to be replaced.

Coriander Propagation

Coriander seed is large, rounded and easy to handle and is best sown into individual cubes, cells or pots of sterilized, free-draining growth media, as seedlings are not suited to transplanting for its propagation.

You may also check How to Grow Hydroponic Broccoli.

Coriander seeds.
Coriander seeds.

Germination occurs within five days of sowing at 68˚F to 78˚F, with seedlings requiring warmth (above 68˚F) and moderate light levels to avoid elongation and tall, weak growth.

Cilantro seeds are quite hard coated and may take up to 7 to 14 days for germination. Once sprouts appear, the seedlings are transplanted into a hydroponics system; the plants grow fast when adequate nutrients are available through the water.

The round fruit of plant you see as coriander seeds are really two seeds so every time you plant one seed you are really planting two seeds. The tough seeds can be presoaked in order to improve its germination time.

Under hydroponic gardening, many growers sow several seeds into each planting site or pot and grow these bunches for just a few weeks before clipping. By using sequence sowings every two to three weeks, fresh cilantro can be harvested year-round, minimizing the problem of plants bolting after two to three harvests.

So when growing coriander hydroponically, start them out in a small grow cube or coco peat starter plugs and then place that into a larger one media based system. Rather than trying to remove the seedlings and replanting them in the system this is because the roots are delicate and prone to damage. For example, you can grow the seeds in a small Rockwool cube for germination and transplant that into a larger one or grow in coco coir so that transplantation shock is minimized.

Hydroponic Systems for Coriander

Hydroponic NFT for Coriander.
Hydroponic NFT for Coriander.

Coriander can be raised in a range of hydroponic systems, growing coriander in hydroponics NFT system is most common, DFT (deep flow technique), DWC, aeroponics Drip irrigation, flood and drain (ebb and flow) are the ideal systems and shallow substrate systems using Coco- coir or Rockwool mediums are also used provided that the depth of the nutrient solution is at least 5 inches. Kratky cilantro is also famous because of its ease of functioning and low maintenance it has also gained fame in DIY hydroponic basil gardening.

Temperatures of at least 68˚F are required for growing this herb with moderate light levels for recently germinated seedlings increasing to high light levels as the plants mature. Light and temperature, as well as nutrient solution strength, are related to the concentration of volatile compounds and essential oils present in these herbs.

You may be interested in Growing Hydroponic Cucumbers.

Hydroponic coriander nutrients

You get a variety of ready to use nutrient solution specially formulated for hydroponic cilantro in various online stores along with user manual. Since the plant is mostly vegetative then nutrients with high nitrogen to phosphorus ratio are outstanding choices.

Low to medium Electrical conductivity levels in the nutrient solution is suggested to be maintained, nutrient strength, with a range of about 1.2- 1.8 is ideal for the growth.

The pH of the nutrient solution should be maintained within 5.8 to 6.4 ranges, as with most other culinary herbs such as hydroponic basil.

Harvesting coriander

The perfect time for harvesting depends on the grower because almost all parts of this plant are utilized so harvesting time for leaves(cilantro), flower and seed(coriander) differ slightly. Since we have focussed more on leaves so we shall discuss cilantro. For small-scale indoor gardens, cilantro can be harvested at any stage starting from young seedlings (microgreens) through to mature plants, depending on the flavor intensity required. Usually, younger plants are tenderer and have a mild flavor, while older plants, particularly those about to flower, develop stronger, sometimes slightly bitter flavors that might be undesirable.

Freshly cut cilantro has a high rate of respiration and should be used within a few hours of harvesting else they will wilt. Cilantro needs to be stored after cutting; refrigeration in plastic packaging at 32˚F gives the longest shelf life and prevents from of post-harvest willing to an extent.

If there is going to be a delay between harvesting and using then you can also place the stems in a glass of water or keep in the fridge in a plastic bag to slow down the wilting process occurring due to respiration.

The leaves can also be frozen with water to keep their flavor as drying them they tend to lose a lot of flavors well this is a great hack.

So you can start harvesting about three weeks after planting the first crop, better start a second one to keep a constant supply of Cilantro.

Problems encountered during growing hydroponic coriander

  • Cilantro is prone to a couple of diseases mainly are powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot.
  • If you come across mildew characterize by a white powdery coating on the leaf then immediately remove the infected leaves and dispose of them before they spread out in the whole system.
  • The bacterial leaf spot is identified as black angular spots present on the leaf. Mainly occurs in the system with high humidity conditions. This can be managed with using fungicides in recommended dose example copper fungicide.
  • The other issue that can affect cilantro is pythium root rot. This can happen when there is an inadequate amount of oxygen at the root mass.to avoid this make sure the growth media you use is not soggy and proper aeration is maintained in the system. You can also install an aquarium airstone or air pump in the hydroponic system.
  • The herb is prone to whiteflies and aphids especially when you have kept your system outdoors. They can quickly spread out in the whole system if not treated quickly. A dose of neem oil or a spray containing neem oil will help to break the life cycle of these pests being in the organic side.
  • Having a fan to facilitate airflow can also help with minimizing the problems of leaf spot, aphids, and whiteflies.

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Hydroponic Coriander Tips

  • Slight stress may increase the intensity of the oils and flavor of the plant, but it will need careful control to prevent them from bolting and causing a bitter flavor.
  • Overfeeding nutrients will cause a loss of flavor to ensure that you do not add too much of nutrient solution.
  • If you observe any loss of its flavor then drain the nutrient solution and replace with water for a couple of weeks, some of the leaves may become yellowed initially but the new green leaves will be full of flavor again.
  • Keep the grow lights on 24/7 for continued growth in case of indoor conditions or for at least 18 hours when grown outdoors. This is done to mimic the natural conditions as coriander is a long day plant.

That’s all about Techniques of Growing Hydroponic Coriander.

You may be interested in Growing Curry Leaves from Cuttings, Seeds.

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