Only people who have never tried to keep plants alive think it is a simple affair. Give it a little water, give it a little light, boom, growing plants.
But only we gardeners know the truth: it is easy to kill a plant by giving it too much or too little of anything, including water. Let it dry out, dead.
Water it too much, disease, then dead. It’s enough to make you go crazy! To help keep you from going crazy, we’ll be looking at cilantro today. So, how much water does cilantro need?
Germinating cilantro seeds need water lots of water daily, around 3 ½ gallons per week. As the plant matures, it will usually need around 1 inch of water per week, spread across multiple waterings.
Cilantro is a plant with somewhat unique water requirements compared to other herbs, in that it likes tons and tons of water while it is germinating from seed, and precipitously less water after it matures a little bit.
First time cilantro growers often get this wrong, water logging the roots of cilantro and killing it inadvertently after it sprouts. I’ll tell you more about it below.
What’s the Best Time to Water Cilantro?
While it is germinating, everyday, in the morning or evening. While cilantro is still a seed it needs tons of water, and depending on your climate and the soil that is planted in, it might need as much as half a gallon every single day.
But the situation changes after it sprouts and once it begins to mature. You’ll want to generally water in the morning to help prevent water loss through evaporation, and also to reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases which are more likely if it is watered in the heat of the day.
Also, remember: mature cilantro still needs water but it needs a whole lot less! Water it a couple of times a week, perhaps more, giving it about an inch in total.
The soil should never be allowed to dry out, and it should never be kept too wet either.
How Much Water Does Cilantro Need Per Week?
While cilantro is germinating, it is going to need a ton of water every week, perhaps as much as 3 1/2 gallons. This is necessary for the developing plant to form strong, healthy roots.
But, once the plant has sprouted and starts to mature, you should cut back on the water dramatically, watering two or perhaps three times a week for about an inch of water in total.
How Often Should You Water Cilantro?
This depends on the growth phase of the cilantro plant. As mentioned, while it is a seed and still germinating, you’ll need to water it daily most likely.
Once it has sprouted and begins to mature, usually 2 to 3 times per week is adequate depending on the soil and climate conditions.
Does Cilantro Like Wet Soil?
Yes, at all phases of growth. Cilantro likes to be really wet while it is germinating, and kept moist when it has matured somewhat after sprouting.
However, the soil must be well drained, and if in a container, the pot must be equally well drained to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. If that happens, root rot is a certainty and the plant will die.
Can Cilantro Be Overwatered?
Yes, definitely. Cilantro can be overwatered when it is a seed if the soil is not well draining. It can definitely be overwatered after sprouting. Giving cilantro too much water when it has matured will kill it easily.
You want the soil to stay consistently moist, but not soaking wet after maturation. So long as it stays moist, cilantro will thrive and grow big.
Consider using a moisture meter for accurately determining when cilantro needs more water after it is established.
What are Some Problems Associated with Overwatering Cilantro?
Cilantro is shockingly vulnerable to overwatering. Allowing its roots to sit in water, usually caused by poorly draining soils or a container that doesn’t drain well, will basically suffocate the roots and quickly kill the plant. You’ll notice the leaves immediately start to droop, and then turn yellow.
Even in cases where overwatering is not that severe, root rot is likely, typically leading to the death of the plant if the main tap root has been affected.
How Will You Know if Cilantro Isn’t Getting Enough Water?
Cilantro is arguably more vulnerable to a lack of water assuming the gardener knows what they are doing.
You’ll notice the leaves start to droop, and an overall lack of liveliness and healthy appearance in the plant. The leaves will soon turn yellow after this point…
A profound lack of water will lead to the plant crisping up and turning brown, starting with the leaves.
If you notice your cilantro starting to droop and suspect a lack of water as the cause, don’t panic, just give it some water.
If you see the plant standing back up and looking perky in a couple of hours, mission accomplished. Keep an eye on soil dryness and water as normal in the future.
How Often Should You Water Cilantro in Pots?
How much you should water container planted cilantro depends on the growth phase.
Cilantro that is still germinating needs tons of water as described above, and this can make watering indoors very challenging assuming the containers are draining as they should be.
You’ll need a serious overflow container, or else you’ll have to water them in a bathtub or sink!
For cilantro that has sprouted, start cutting back on the water immediately, aiming to keep the soil noticeably moist but never waterlogged.
Developing plans are especially vulnerable to root rot, so make certain that your pots are draining properly.
Drill more holes if needed, or switch to unglazed clay pots to allow moisture to escape right through the pot itself. Mulch or other soil coverings might be beneficial if the air in your house stays very dry.
If the containers are planted outside, water them as prescribed whatever phase of growth they are in. Just make sure they are draining well!
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.