Growing Coriander – How to grow coriander from seeds
Coriander a.k.a dhania in india, a.k.a Cilantro in the west, is something that is used everyday in Indian cuisine. Either the seeds or the green leaves spice up our food. This makes Coriander a must grow for every kitchen garden. The reason it is an ideal candidate is a) it is very easy to grow b) grows very fast c) you can get the yields at a very early stage and it keeps yielding.
This post is all about growing coriander in containers. Coriander plant doesn’t transplant well. So choose a container thats big enough to grow many plants. I usually use trays/tubs to grow them since the soil surface is more in tubs and hence we can grow multiple rows of coriander.
Growing Coriander from Seeds
Coriander seed is technically a fruit containing two seeds in it. So the round thing that you see has two seeds in it. Each of them will grow into a coriander plant. The fruit can be sown whole or split and sown. When split, it increases the germination rate since it scarifies the seed.
Here is a picture of how a split coriander seed looks like. So how to go from a whole coriander seed to a split one. The way I do is, I wear a slipper in my hands; that’s right! in my hands. Spread the seeds on the floor ( preferably a rough floor and not the tiles) and keep the slipper on the seeds and gently move the slipper while pressing them. This is not the place to show your strength. remember we are not making coriander powder so be gentle ;).
Try it. The good thing about gardening is you get to do things you would have never done before :D. One can sow the whole seed as well. It is more easier when you split.
Trouble germinating coriander seeds ?
Coriander seeds are usually the easiest to germinate. Just sprinkle them on the ground and you will see seedlings in a week. But there are also gardeners who have trouble germinating coriander seeds. Coriander seeds don’t germinate due to the following reasons
- Poor seed quality.
- Sowing seeds that are not meant for sowing. ( Coriander seeds are also used for cooking. )
- Aged seeds
Tips for germinating coriander seeds
- Always buy seeds from sources that are trustworthy when growing coriander
- Buy coriander seeds that are meant for sowing purposes. Coriander seeds meant for culinary purposes are usually dried or dehydrated to stop them from getting spoiled over time. Processed coriander seeds wont germinate. If you are wondering “Why my coriander seeds won’t germinate?”. This is why.
- Use fresh coriander seeds. Coriander seeds especially are prone to infestation by small bugs that dwell inside the seed. They will eat away the from the inside, making it non viable.
Planting Coriander – How to plant coriander
Coriander is direct sown. So there is no special step called planting coriander. The sowing and planting of coriander seeds happens at the same time. If you are growing in containers, then you can move the container around to get good lighting etc.
I took a tray with potting mix filled all the way up to half inch from the top. Then make rows by drawing a line with your index finger or a stick. Simply sow the split coriander seeds in that row and once it is done, cover the seeds with coco peat. Water them properly and wait!. There are two strategies in sowing. Thick and thin. If you are sowing it in a container that is small, then sow thinly. If you are sowing it on the ground or on a bigger container , sow it thick. Coriander seeds are usually very fast in germinating. Coriander seeds start germinating somewhere between 5-7 days.
Post Germination Steps
As soon as they start germinating, ensure they get good amount of sunlight. They will start growing vigorously. Water them thoroughly, especially when they are thickly sown. More leaves in a container, more water they lose via transpiration and hence you need to keep up with them. If you want to thin them or remove some of the plants, always cut the stems with a scissor or knife, don’t pull them out as they will bring the adjacent plant up with them and you don’t want that. Roughly around week 4 from the date of planting, they will have lots of leaves and can be harvested. For non-commercial purposes, one can start harvesting much earlier.
Growing coriander at home crop is the best way to get a supply of fresh coriander. Depending on where you live, you way want to choose the right time to sow coriander seeds.
As the coriander plants start growing, pay attention to the plants and look for pests, diseases and deficiencies. Never let coriander plants dry out, they are very sensitive and any stress during the growing period will cause them to bolt.
What is bolting?
Sometimes, when growing coriander, bolting is inevitable. What is bolting? Bolting is formation of flowering stalk to initiate flowering of the plant to produce seeds and reproduce. This is what is called bolting. But Why plants bolt and what causes bolting of plants? Bolting is a survival mechanism for the plants when it is presented with conditions that are not suitable for its growing. Since bolting is formation of flowering stalk, all plants bolt eventually as part of their growth stages. Bolting is a problem when plants bolt prematurely. It impacts the production or harvest in a big way. If you were wondering “Why are my coriander plants flowering?” , they are BOLTING!
What causes Bolting
Bolting is a process that is part of plants natural process when they start to flower. Natural bolting is totally OK. What causes premature bolting is Stress. When growing coriander plants go through stress, they start to bolt. Stress to plants can come in variety of forms. It could be due to following
- High temperature — Coriander is a cold weather crop. So high temperature will cause bolting. Ensure you put a shade cover if the sunlight intensity is very high in your area.
- Irregular watering — Ensure the container or the ground doesn’t dry out during the growing stages of coriander. When sowing thick, thorougly water them till water drains out of the drainage hole.
- Unsuitable soil condition — The potting used should be of good quality and should have the right proportion of peat and manure. The potting mix should drain well and not stagnate water.
- Lack of nutrients — Feed the plants from the start. Using a good quality potting mix is the best way to give a head start for the plants. Use a general purpose fertilizer or a special hydroponic blend to feed the plants.
Do remember that a plant bolts naturally at the start of its flowering cycle. So it is normal for a plant to bolt when it is the right time. But for coriander, we don’t want their flowers, we want them to produce leaves. As soon as the plants start to bolt, its leaf size becomes small. It is good to harvest them before they start flowering. Once they flower, they produce seeds that can be harvested later for sowing again if you want.
Coriander plant is not without its share of pests. It is not uncommon to see tiny bugs or aphids on your coriander plant when growing coriander. Coriander is attacked often by the following pests. Both can be controlled by preventive sprays of neem oil with an emulsifier added. Follow the instructions on the label for dilution.
- Spider Mites
Please share this article with your friends.