UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Cilantro (Coriander)

Garden Help > Herbs

Photo: University of California
Photo: University of California
The word “cilantro” generally refers to the culinary leaves, while “coriander” is the dried spice derived from the seeds. Cilantro plants have a relatively short growing season, and are quick to bolt (go to seed) in hot weather. Every part of the plant is edible, and are used in Asian, Mediterranean, and Latin cuisine. Use leaves in stews and sauces, stems in soups and beans, and seeds in sauces, meat dishes, potpourris, and sachets. The flowers attract bees and other pollinators.

How to grow

Cilantro bolts quickly, so for a continuous supply of fresh leaves, successively sow a new patch every 2-3 weeks. To grow cilantro for the leafy part of the plant, choose varieties that are slow to bolt.

  • Type: Annual
  • Light: Full sun to light shade
  • Soil: Well drained
  • Water: Needs a regular watering schedule to minimize bolting
  • Size: 18–24" high, 10-14" wide

When to plant/propagate

  • From seed: Direct seed from March to May, and August to October
  • Transplants: Plant seedlings from March to May, and August to October


  • Harvest frequently in order to encourage fresh, tender growth
  • Choose bright, evenly colored green leaves. Pinch off any flowers that develop
  • For coriander seeds, allow flowers to develop and collect seeds when they turn brown, and dry them to use as a spice
  • Many beneficial insects are attracted to cilantro flowers, so consider allowing some plants to flower

Indoors: Cilantro can be grown as an indoor plant with 6 hours of bright light from a sunny window, or 12-16 hours of supplemental light provided by cool white fluorescent or LED lamps

More information

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*

  • Slow Bolt
  • Slo-Bolt

* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.


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