Information On Growing Coriander Seeds

Information On Growing Coriander Seeds

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Chances are pretty good that if you have ever grown cilantro you ended up with coriander seeds at some point. Coriander is the fruit or seed from the cilantro plant, which is also sometimes called the coriander plant. Letting cilantro plants bolt is how to grow coriander. The bolted plants send out flowers and seed in high heat. Growing coriander is easy and rewards you with a seasoning that adds exotic interest to your dishes.

What are Coriander Seeds?

Coriander is a seasoning. It is a hard, round little seed that is a light brown color. Coriander seeds are ground and used in breads, Indian and Middle Eastern foods, Latin and Asian cuisine and is also a component of pickling spices. Cilantro seed answers the question, “What is Coriander?” The coriander plant goes to seed if it is planted when summer is in full swing. If you want cilantro for the citrusy leaves, you need to plant it when temperatures are still cool in spring.

How to Grow Coriander

Plant seeds in late spring to early summer. The plant needs rich, well-drained soil and a moderate amount of water. Sow in a full sun location for best production in loam or sandy soil. Space the seeds 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm.) apart in rows 15 inches (37.5 cm.) apart. By midsummer, the coriander flowers will appear as white lacy umbels. In a couple of weeks the plant will set seed. Neglect is actually the best method of how to grow coriander.

The formation of coriander seeds is dependent upon day length, sunlight and temperatures. Cilantro has a short growing season in hot climates and bolts when it is finished growing. Plants grown in mid summer will bolt in only four to six weeks due to the high temperatures. The varieties of cilantro seed that do not say they are slow to bolt will produce the quickest coriander crop. Slow to bolt means the plants will not form seed quickly and are more suitable for the cilantro leaves.

How to Harvest Coriander from Cilantro Plants

Coriander seeds need to be harvested before they drop off the plant. The pretty little flowers are attractive to honeybees and butterflies and turn into the seeds after pollination. The seeds are tiny and will be loose on the stem when ripe. Place a bag under the old flower stem and cut it off. Shake the stem into the bag and the ripe seeds will fall in. The seeds are best used as soon as possible but can be stored in a tightly sealed container.

How to Use Coriander Seed

Coriander needs to be ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle for use in cooking. You can also toast the seeds to bring out the flavor or wrap them with other seasonings in cheese cloth as a bouquet garni. The ground seed is most often found in curry powders such as Taklia, which is an Arab condiment, and garam masala. It is used in soups, stews, baked goods, desserts and as a rub on meats.

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Read more about Cilantro / Coriander

How to Grow Coriander

Cuisines around the world use coriander and cilantro, but the distinction between the two can be confusing. In the U.S., cilantro is a plant with leaves used as an herb. Coriander refers to the seeds of the cilantro, which are dried and used as a spice.

Coriander seeds have a warm, spicy citrus flavor, and are often used in Indian, Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes. Humans used coriander as long ago as 7,000 years seeds were even found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

Growing Conditions for Coriander

The cilantro plant grows best in cool climates and needs full sun with partial afternoon shade. Cilantro also grows well in a container placed in a sunny spot. The soil should be loamy to ensure proper drainage. Cilantro grows well next to basil, mint, potatoes, and caraway.

Planting Coriander

Plant seeds or transfer seedlings two weeks after the last frost. Sow seeds a half inch deep in rows eight to 12 inches apart. Seeds will germinate best in temperatures of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When seedlings are well established, thin the plants out to 12 inches apart.

Caring for Coriander

Mulch around cilantro plants to keep the soil moist and discourage weeds from growing. Cilantro usually doesn’t need fertilizing, but a liquid fertilizer can be used on young plants. While waiting for the plant to bloom, take advantage of having fresh cilantro. It is rare for cilantro plants to have pest or disease problems.

Harvesting Coriander Seeds

When the cilantro plant blooms, it will grow a tall central stalk—this is called bolting. Two or three weeks after flowering, the cilantro leaves will start to brown. When they do, cut off the stalk and hang it upside down in a cool, dark, warm place until the plant has completely dried. If the seeds do not fall off when dried completely, put the plant in a paper bag and shake it to separate the seeds. Sift out the seeds and store in an airtight container. Seeds can also be removed from the stems and dried in an oven at 100 degrees until they are light brown. Some recipes call for whole seeds, while others call for ground seeds. Grind seeds right before using them for the best flavor.

Want to learn more about growing coriander seeds?

Writer Megan Smith Mauk grew up in Texas, where she developed a reverence for all forms of life. In college, she became co-chair of the environmental coalition. She now lives with her husband, and their dog and cat, in Virginia.

Soil happens to be among the most important things for growing coriander and for that it’s important to choose the best soil to grow your coriander.

Coriander will always do perfectly in well-drained, loamy soil with a pH of between 6.5 and 7.0.

The soil has to be neutral and rich in organic matter and most especially aged manure or rather a compost as it provides a steady supply of nitrogen among other trace elements and this way promoting vegetative growth.

The soil should be crumbly in texture as it is also important to helps the plant to grow well.


Coriander grows much better from seed, because it doesn’t like to have its roots disturbed. If you decide to plant seedlings, be careful not to disturb their roots too much when you plant them out.

Try to plant bought seedlings as soon as possible after you get them home and remember to give them a good, deep watering to help them settle in. When you plant your seedlings out, add a small amount organic bone-meal to each hole. Bone-meal gives seedlings a great start and helps them to develop strong root systems to support a healthy plant.

Harvest regularly from your plants to encourage more bushy, vigorous growth and pick off seeds if they start to develop if it’s the leaves you’re after.

How to Grow Cilantro/Coriander

(Sowing seeds and harvesting cilantro or coriander seeds)

Growing Coriander From Seeds

Coriander seeds remain viable for 5-6 years and do not have the odd smell of the plant but have a rather agreeable smell and a moderately warm, pungent taste.

Coriander/cilantro grows best in light, warm, friable soil.

Coriander seeds are often sown in autumn but may also be sown in the spring. When growing coriander from seeds, sow the coriander seeds in rows about 15 inches apart spaced 1 inch asunder and one-half inch deep. Thin seedlings to 6 to 8 inches apart.

If you are primarily growing coriander to harvest cilantro leaves, place the plant in a cooler area of your garden to help prevent bolting.

Before growing coriander in your garden, check out our Coriander Companion Planting Guide to learn what other herbs can be planted with coriander.

Harvesting Cilantro.

Once the coriander plant is fairly established, you can cut off outer leaves for cilantro. Do not cut the center of the plant for optimum plant health.

Cut leaves should be stored like flowers with their stems in water or frozen until use.

Harvesting Coriander Seeds.

Once the flowers have finished and the seed heads or fruit begin to form, you can either cut and bundle the stems and store them in paper bags to dry or cover the flower heads on the plants securely with a paper bag and harvest at the end of the growing season.

Generally, the yield of coriander seeds is fairly small. More than enough for next year’s crop but perhaps not enough to harvest the spice. Many herb gardeners grow coriander primarily for cilantro leaves and only leave a plant or two to produce seeds.

Coriander Seeds: How To Grow Coriander - garden

Biennial, Coriandrum Sativum

Is it Cilantro or Coriander? The plant is called Cilantro, while the seeds are called Coriander. It is also called Chinese Parsley . yes, it belongs to the Parsley family. Call it what you'd like. But, make sure to grow some of this useful herb in your herb garden.

Cilantro is native to Asia and Mediterranean regions, and is a staple in Mexican cuisine. The plant has parsley like leaves, producing a profusion of small, white flowers the second year. The sweet tasting seed has a pleasant odor when ripe. Cilantro plants grow up to three feet tall.

Cilantro plants are grown from seed. Directly sow Coriander seeds into your garden after all danger of frost. Cover lightly with fine garden soil. For a jump start, sow a few seeds indoors in containers, for transplanting later.

Space Cilantro seedlings or thin plants to 6" apart, in rows 2' apart. The plants tolerate a little crowding, but prefer their space.

Plant Height: some varieties grow to three feet tall.

Days to Maturity: about 65

How to Grow Cilantro Plants:

Cilantro plants grow well in full to partial sun, and a well drained soil. They will do well in almost any soil, and are tolerant dry soil conditions. Water plants during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season.

Harvest flower heads after seeds have formed and the flower head has died. Extract Coriander seeds and dry them in a cool, dry location.

Tip: If growing for seeds, replant every year for a continuous supply.

Harvest the Coriander seeds in the second year, after the flower head has died. Cut the stems and tie together. Hang them in a cool, dry place to dry out. Make sure to place a container under them to capture falling seeds. When dry, place flower heads in a bag and shake to harvest seeds.

Important: Make sure seeds are completely dry before storing.

You will find this useful herb in many ethnic recipes, including Mexican, Tex-Mex, Spanish, and Asian cuisines.

Use the fresh, strong flavored Cilantro leaves chopped or as garnish. It is perhaps best known as a key ingredient in salsa. But it's also used in soups, seafood, and main dishes.

Coriander seeds are an ingredient in curry. The seed oil is used to flavor liqueurs, candies and sauces. You can also use Coriander seeds in breads, cakes, and main dishes.

Note: Seeds can also be used in potpourris

Tip: Put unused sprigs in a jar, and add an inch of water. Place it in the refrigerator, for later use.

Homemade Salsa Recipe - use fresh cilantro leaves in this great recipe.