Cilantro is a fascinating and highly divisive herb. Some people love it for the crisp, fresh note that it brings to foods, but other people swear that it tastes like soap or worse!
But the haters can’t help it, and it turns out this hatred of cilantro is actually genetic. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, if you want to grow cilantro you’ll need to know how to get it started from seed.
So, how many cilantro seeds should you put in each hole?
You should plant one cilantro seed per hole if you’re spacing them between 1 and 3 inches apart. Seedlings that sprout and aren’t performing can be removed, leaving 6 to 10 inches between successful plants.
Cilantro is pretty easy to grow, and it tends to be bountiful so long as you can protect it from intense heat and sun, and you avoid disturbing the roots.
In any case, starting a dense group of seeds will ensure that you get plenty going and you can preserve the most successful and promising plants.
I’ll tell you more about growing cilantro from seed down below…
How Deep Should You Plant Cilantro Seeds?
Cilantro seeds don’t need to be planted very deep. 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch 96 to 12 millimeters) is all that’s required. Seeds should be lightly covered with soil, but not packed tightly.
How Wide Should the Hole for Cilantro Seeds Be?
The hole for your cilantro seed only needs to be slightly wider than the seed itself. Because the seeds will be planted so close together you’ll need to leave more soil support on all sides of the seeds.
What Special Preparations Should You Make When Planting Cilantro Seeds?
Cilantro grows quickly, and grows big so long as its requirements are met, and the most important factor for cilantro is temperature.
This is a cool weather plant. You can start it in the spring or fall, and expect a harvest of leaves in about a month, and it will usually be ready to produce its seeds after another month or two.
If planting your seeds in the springtime, do so after the last frost. After that, or in the fall, when temperatures are between 50 °F and 75 °F (10 °C and 24 °C) you’ll be good to go.
Cilantro is tolerant of partial shade and full sun so long as the air temperature is amenable to it.
But when the temperature climbs up past 75 °F / 24 °C you should make sure it has protection from intense midday and afternoon sun.
When you are ready to plant, soak the seeds in water overnight and then briskly rub or roll them between your fingers to help abrade the outer skin of the seed to improve the chances of germination.
Something else to keep in mind is that cilantro prefers acidic soil that drains quickly. You never, ever want the roots to be sitting in water that is accumulated in a container or just beneath the surface of the soil when in the ground.
As mentioned above, cilantro will do well if you plant single seeds close together, no more than 3 inches apart.
Once they sprout, get rid of any unwanted seedlings leaving 6 to 10 inches between the plants.
This is to prevent overcrowding, but also to ensure adequate airflow which can help keep mold and some fungal diseases in check.
How Long Until You Can Harvest Cilantro When Planting from Seed?
You won’t have to wait very long at all to enjoy your cilantro harvest, assuming you haven’t met all of the requirements during planting.
Your plants will produce edible and tasty leaves in about 21 days, but usually no longer than a month. They are ready to be plucked off once the plant is around 7 inches tall.
If you want to harvest cilantro seeds, also known as coriander, they’re usually ready between 60 and 90 days after planting depending on the variety and the conditions.
Note that even if you don’t need or want the leaves at first, you should be regularly pinching them off from the upper parts of the plant to promote more and faster growth.
Just be ready with some fertilizer if required because your cilantro plants will be using up a lot of resources to grow new leaves during this time!
Can You Plant Cilantro Seed Indoors?
Cilantro takes to container growing indoors remarkably well thanks to its typically compact size.
If you want to grow it indoors, follow all of the guidelines outlined above and be particularly sure that your pot is deep enough to allow adequate drainage so the roots are never sitting in water.
Be sure to double-check all drainage holes periodically.
Special Care if Planting Cilantro Seeds Indoors
Cilantro can be grown easily indoors, or out, but if you are going to grow it indoors with the ultimate goal of transplanting it outside you need to make special preparations now.
Cilantro doesn’t fare well when its roots are disturbed, and is highly vulnerable to transplant shock even if you harden it off by acclimatizing it to the outside environment…
Accordingly, plan on growing them indoors and then simply moving the containers outdoors to the final destination so you can avoid disturbing the roots.
If you must plant them in the ground, use a biodegradable pot or pod that you can stick in the ground directly, once again avoiding disturbance of the roots.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.