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Coriander/Cilantro – Coriandrum sativumm
FULL SUN Native to the eastern Mediterranean and southern Europe, Coriander/Cilantro has been cultivated for more than 3000 years. It was brought to the US in the 1600s by the earliest colonists. The 2-3 ft. plants (called cilantro) produce seeds that when dried are known are coriander. Plant as soon as the danger of frost has passed in the spring and in mid to late summer for a fall crop. Rows should be 9-12 in. apart. When seedlings are 2 in. high, thin, leaving 5-7 in. between plants. Harvest throughout the season by cutting leaves off the plants, aggressively. Cilantro bolts quickly in the heat and becomes bitter.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Annual||5-7 in.||1/2 in.||14-21+||75|
Coriander and Cilantro are the same plant. Cilantro refers to the fresh leaves and stems. Coriander refers to the dried seeds. It has been a memorable part of myth and legend since before recorded history. The Chinese believed that it would make a person immortal and because of a reference to coriander in The Thousand and One Nights, Mediterranean civilizations thought it was a potent aphrodisiac. However, in reality, this ancient plant has largely been prized for its culinary applications. The Romans used it in a vinegar to preserve meat. The leaves, stems, roots and seeds can be used. The roots which are quite popular in Thai cooking taste like the leaves, but with a stronger flavor.
Perhaps coriander/cilantro’s greatest benefit to the garden is as a pollinator plant. It is incredibly attractive to bees and certain butterflies. Coriander honey is exquisite, so exquisite in fact, that some people ‘cheat’ and add coriander oil to clover honey.
A rare culinary application for coriander involves using ½ teaspoon of ground coriander seed to the batter for one loaf of gingerbread or banana or carrot bread. An unusual relish for poultry or lamb can be made by combining 1 cup of cilantro leaves, ½ cup of mint leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of one lemon, a minced hot chili and a handful of blanched peanuts in a food processor with enough olive oil to create a paste. Rub the paste on the poultry or lamb and let set for 1 hour before roasting.
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