Coriander

Coriander is a great addition to the herb garden, cottage garden or pot herb collection. It is grown for both its leaf and its seeds, both of which can enliven our cooking here in the UK, often giving it an Indian or Thai flavour. Sow coriander little and often for a continuous supply, either in the ground or in a pot, picking regularly to delay flowering, and it will enhance your culinary efforts year round. The seeds and leaves have very different tastes, so this plant can give twice the pleasure to the home grower.

Growing coriander:

Coriander requires a position in full sunlight in well-draining soil, though it may benefit from a little shade during the hottest part of the day. It has a tendency to go to seed quickly if stressed in any way, which is fine if you are growing the plant primarily for its seed though not so great if you are growing it for its leaf (sometimes called cilantro).

Coriander can take up to three weeks to germinate though once it has germinated it grows fairly quickly and requires little effort to grow successfully. Water well in dry periods and make sure that the soil never dries out. If the plant flowers and you want more leaf, remove the flowers immediately to allow the plant to continue to focus on leaf creation. Seeds can be planted outside around the last frost date, or a little earlier indoors.

If you would like a continuous supply of coriander throughout the summer, it is a good idea to resow every three weeks. Sow seeds then thin to around 20cm apart in order to allow plants to grow to their full size. Coriander does not usually require a feed unless the soil is particularly poor. A good organic mulch will help retain moisture and will also add nutrients to the soil.

To harvest coriander leaves, pluck or cut each leaf off the stems or snip off whole stems if necessary. Both the leaves and stalks can be used for culinary purposes. If you are growing the plant for seeds then wait until all the flowers have died off before harvesting the dried seeds. It may be easier to harvest whole stems and hang them upside down to wait for the seeds to ripen fully and drop off the plant.

Why grow coriander in the garden?

Coriander is a fantastic herb to grow for culinary use. The leaves and seeds both add pep and zing to Asian inspired cuisine. Green, unripe seeds have a lemony taste and are also very fragrant.

Coriander is also attractive to beneficial insects like hoverflies and repels or distracts other insects like aphids, spider mites and white flies. For this reason it can be a useful companion plant for vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and cabbages. Be careful not to plant near dill, however, as these two can easily cross-pollinate which will ruin both.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Coriandrum sativum