How to Grow Cilantro Indoors and Be Successful

May 12, 2012 by

how to grow cilantro indoorsMy mother-in-law is absolutely addicted to cilantro. If they came out with a cilantro flavored ice cream, I’m sure her fridge would be full of it. If your mother-in-law is like mine, make sure to print this article out and it will give you something to talk about. Even though I am not a fanatic about cilantro, I like the smell of cilantro, and I like how it tastes. I especially like to use it with salsa, and with Mexican food. If you want to have cilantro that is aromatic, and fresh all year-round, the best way to do this is to learn how to grow cilantro indoors.

What Are the Steps to Growing Cilantro Indoors?

The first thing you need to do when you’re growing cilantro indoors is you need to pick a good pot. Typically, you want a pot that has at least 8 inches of soil in it. This way you can use the same pot for a long time without having to re-pot or transplant your cilantro. A cilantro plant will reach a height of 12 to 24 inches.

Make sure you find a good place for your plant where it will get a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day. Preferably, a southern facing window will work best. When replanting it from a start into an indoor pot, you have to be careful. The roots are very delicate and can be damaged easily. A lot of people would recommend that you start growing your plant from seed just to avoid the trouble of having to transplant it. Personally, I think that transplanting works fine as long as you’d don’t mess with the tap roots, you plant your plant in the soil, and you water it immediately. A transition phase between outdoor and indoor is also important, if you want to train your start to be a good indoor plant.

grow cilantro indoors

The next thing you’re going to need to do is to start with a good soil mix. For growing cilantro indoors, I like to use high-quality soils because it isn’t that expensive, and  it keeps your plants growing for a long time. You can use a premium potting soil mix and add compost to it. Next, plant your seeds. Make sure to water your seeds regularly and to keep the soil moist until they start growing.

When Can You Harvest Your Cilantro Plant?

You need to be careful though because cilantro grows really fast. Once   cilantro starts growing, it gets to be more than 6 inches tall, you want to start clipping your plant and using it. The best way to cut your cilantro is with a pair of scissors. Don’t try to break it off by hand because it can bruise the plant and make it take longer to recover. By clipping it regularly, you can help keep it from going to seed. Once it goes to seed, it doesn’t taste nearly as good (it is bitter and not very flavorful). You can still use it for cooking, but the best cilantro to use is the young parts of the plant that are rapidly growing. As with most herbs, cilantro is best when it fresh.

How to have Cilantro all Year-Round?

When your cilantro plant goes to seed, you want to make sure that some of the seeds get replanted. Even though cilantro is an annual that grows very quickly, if it keeps on replanting itself then you will have a continual fresh supply for snacking on and for cooking. Another reason you want to use a bit larger pot, is so that you’ll have room for the new cilantro to grow all the old stuff is dying off. Make sure that you clip off seeds. If you have new cilantro growing, you can clip the seeds off early. Otherwise, wait until the seeds become right before clipping them and replant them right away.

Cilantro is probably most commonly used with Mexican food, but it can also be used in Indian, and Asian recipes as well.

Cilantro Grows Really Fast

how to grow cilantro indoorsCilantro generally will bloom and then flower in about four months. If you want to have cilantro year-round, you may have planted it at three or four different times through the year. It is best to cut the plant and use it before it goes to seed. Once it goes to seed, it will lose most of its flavor. Make sure that it gets plenty of sunlight. Being in your house, will probably mean that it won’t ever get too hot. But you will want to get as much sunlight as you can. Maybe a kitchen window that faces south would be a great place to keep your cilantro.

You really want to wait until you’re leaves get to be at least 6 inches tall. Usually, newer leaves are a bit sweeter and have more flavor. The older it gets, it tends to be better. As with most herbs, cilantro is best when fresh. Make sure to use your seeds quickly and plant them immediately, that way you will have continual growth. You should plant your cilantro with potting soil and compost mix. It likes soils that are loamy.


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