Beginner Growing Cilantro
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Samantha
Posted on: July 5, 2002

I started a herb garden and am not sure what to do with it, now that it is planted. I have cilantro and was wondering how to keep up the growth of the plant. I have recently had the leaves turn a reddish color. Is this still edible and if not do I cut it off at the bottom of the stem or just cut the leaf? Also, how much sun, if any does the plant need?

Cilantro, or the immature plant of coriander is a short lived plant and should really be resown every two weeks, because the old plants will bolt to seed and die. This happens much faster at temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius or 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When the plant is growing in full sun the leaves will turn reddish as they mature, but this leaves them perfectly edible. When you harvest a leaf, cut it off at its point of attachment to the main stem. Once the leaf turns dry and brown, it will not have any appreciable flavour and should not be used for cooking. Always add the fresh leaves at the last minute, because the flavour does not survive high temperatures. If this is too much trouble, invest in one of the perennial varieties and papalo- their flavour is very similar, but the flavour of the Mexican coriander(=Cilantro) will even survive if cooked a short time.

Vietnamese coriander does better in half shade and would be the best choice for a windowsill. The other cilantros, including papalo like full sun.

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