Growing coriander is easy once you know how. This most common of herbs has an uncommon knack for vexing gardeners with its fickle nature. It either refuses to germinate or bolts to seed leaving little time for harvesting before it disappears into the soil for good. Read on for advice on how to grow coriander and let the spice find a home in your kitchen garden this time around… If there’s one herb that can be described as elusive, it’s coriander. This hardy annual prefers cool weather, which makes it a tricky companion to have in any hot summer greenhouse or indoor grow space. As with many plants, there are numerous ways to encourage growth and increase yield from homegrown coriander plants.

What is Coriander?

Coriander is a hardy annual plant native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of Asia, Africa and South America. The leaves are what we know as coriander and are used as both a culinary herb and a fragrant garnish. The seeds of the plant are often used as a substitute for black pepper and have a distinctively different flavour. A common misconception is that coriander is cilantro (also referred to as Chinese Parsley). While the two plants are related, their flavours and uses are different enough to warrant their own space in the kitchen. Coriander is often found at the base of many a stir fry and is a common addition to curries, sauces and pickling mixes. The seeds are also used in baking, particularly in spiced breads, cookies and cakes.

How to Grow Coriander from Seed

– Choose a healthy seed packet – You can grow coriander from seed, but you’ll have to be patient. The germination process can take anywhere from 1-3 months, so don’t be upset if your seedlings don’t appear after one week in the soil. Choose a healthy seed packet, preferably organic and untreated, for best results. – Sow coriander seeds directly – Sow your coriander seeds directly into the soil once you’ve prepared a loose, rich soil mix. Be patient, and always water from below to avoid any problems with mould or fungus. – Harvest once rooted – Once your coriander seedlings have become fully rooted, they can be harvested and added to the kitchen, providing you with a healthy dose of culinary spices. Growing coriander

How to Grow Coriander from Cuttings

– Choose a healthy plant – Your best bet for growing coriander indoors is to take cuttings from a healthy plant. Select a cutting with a new set of leaves at its tip, avoiding any that appear wilted or dried out on the ends. – Soak your cuttings – Soak your cuttings in a water/organic seaweed solution for up to an hour before planting. This will give them the boost they need to get growing quickly. – Root your cuttings in a moist, rich soil – Root your cuttings in a loose, rich soil mix. Once the roots have formed, you can transfer your new coriander plant to a larger pot to grow.

How to Grow Coriander from Rooted Cuttings

– Choose a healthy rooted cutting – Much like the cuttings above, you should begin with a healthy rooted cutting from an established coriander plant. – Plant your coriander cutting – Plant your coriander cutting in a loose soil mix, much like you would for the other methods of growing coriander from cuttings. – Water and wait – Water your new coriander plant regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. The roots will grow and new shoots will appear, forming a new healthy coriander plant. – Harvest and enjoy!

Tips for Growing Coriander

– Start early – Coriander is a fickle friend and likes to be grown indoors in cooler temperatures. You can keep your plants in a greenhouse or indoors in a sunny windowsill, but they don’t do well in extreme temperatures. – Harvest often – Coriander is a prolific plant, giving you more than you can reasonably use before it bolts to seed. Harvest your coriander plants regularly, giving the leaves a nip off the stem instead of taking the entire thing. – Rotate your plants – Like many annual herbs, coriander is susceptible to many different types of pests and diseases. Rotate your crops regularly to prevent any build-up in soil pathogens from harming your plants. – Create a barrier – Coriander has a distinct aroma, one that many find to be very pleasant. If you don’t want local wildlife trying to get in on the action, create an edible barrier around your plants.

Bottom line

There are a number of ways to grow coriander and suit your particular growing environment, whether you’re indoors or out in the garden. While it can be fussy, it’s also incredibly tasty and useful in the kitchen. If you have space to grow coriander, it’s a must-have for culinary spice blends, herb butters and many Asian-inspired dishes.

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