Cilantro: if you love it, you LOVE it. I didn’t appreciate this flavorful herb until a few years ago — sad, I know. Now that I’m vegan, I cannot live without cilantro… I just can’t!
I use it in green salads, wraps, pasta salads, veggie burgers, burritos, tacos, soups, and many different types of salsa.
Thankfully, cilantro is an herb you can grow indoors all year long, as long as you grow it in a room that gets a few hours of light each day. Trust me, growing your own cilantro is worth it. You’ll get to control the quality of your soil and you can ensure it’s being grown organically.
Did you know that you can even grow culinary herbs in water? You can! I wrote a whole post about it, so you can check it out here.
This post, however, is about how to grow cilantro in a pot. If you thought you were at a disadvantage because you don’t have a yard, read this carefully: herbs actually grow very well in containers.
That means if you have a window in your apartment that gets direct sunlight or a balcony that gets some sun exposure, you can grow your own herb garden. One of the advantages of using a pot or container is that it lets you control far-reaching and fast-growing herbs, such as mint. Containers are actually better for controlling moisture levels, too, which is essential for an herb garden.
Follow the tips below and you’ll start growing cilantro in no time!
You want to make sure that you have the right gardening supplies. You’ll need an unglazed terra cotta pot (any pot with holes will do), organic cilantro seeds, and organic potting soil. Pro-Mix offers a good soil that’s specifically made for growing vegetables and herbs (it also contains a slow-release fertilizer).
Since you’re planting your cilantro indoors, you don’t have to worry too much about the weather. You can grow cilantro in the Winter! However, if you live in a zone that doesn’t get much sunlight in late Fall or Winter, you need to purchase a growing light. I live in Southern California, so sunlight is never a problem for me, thankfully.
You might be wondering what kind of container is best. Many gardeners prefer unglazed terra cotta containers because they allow for better air circulation, which benefits the roots, and they’re also pretty to look at. However, if you’re on a budget, a plastic container with holes on the bottom will do just fine.
Planting cilantro from seed rather than from cuttings is recommended because cilantro actually doesn’t transplant as well as other plants do. The seeds sprout up fast, so you don’t have to worry about a long waiting period, plus they’ll produce better leaves with more flavor if grown from seed.
If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: cilantro needs ample sunlight but NOT direct sunlight because heat can wilt and weaken the plant. Try placing your container near an east-facing window.
If you live in a zone with hot temperatures, be careful not to place your pot too close to the window because the heat might burn the plant. A few inches away from the window best.
Since you’re growing your seeds indoors, you’ll need to feed your soil every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer (Make sure you read the instructions that come with the fertilizer). This will provide your plant with the nutrients it needs to produce strong flavor and strong leaves.
Once you have your seeds, place them in your container about ¼ inch deep into the soil and ½ inch apart from each other. Make sure the container you’re using has at least one hole from which the water can drain.
After planting, water the soil until you see that the water is draining from the holes. After that initial watering, you’ll want to water your pot every few days. NEVER let the soil dry out.
Instead, check the soil with your fingers to see how moist it is. If it feels dry, water generously. It’s better to water generously every few days than to water frequently.
The reason some people feel frustrated by growing cilantro has to do with them not understanding how to properly harvest the herb.
Cilantro grows quickly, so the trick is to sow some seeds every few weeks so that you have an abundant supply of the herb when you need it. Otherwise, you’ll get a few sprigs of it and then be back to square one.
Also, pruning the plant at the right time will encourage new growth. Here’s how to do it: when the plant reaches about 3 inches tall, it’ time to snip it. This will give you flavorful cilantro and help encourage the plant to regrow.
That’s all you need to know about growing your own cilantro. Wasn’t that easy? Understanding that cilantro is best grown from seeds, that it needs sunlight and moisture, and that you should plant some seeds every few weeks if you want a continual supply, is all it takes to ensure you have this fresh, organic herb at your disposal. (Whew – that was one long sentence!).
If you’re interested in learning how to grow herbs in glasses of water, click here. Now, go get gardening!