Name: coriander, cilantro, Chinese parsley, dhania Coriandrum sativum
Description: Coriander is a fast growing annual herb with leaves that look rather like flat leaved parsley. It is reputed to be the mostly widely used herb world wide. Research on animals has shown it to be effective in reducing cholesterol and lowering blood sugar.
It has small white or pale pink flowers and produces small round green balls (fruit) which later turn brown and may be used whole or ground as a spice.
Coriander leaves are popular in Asian recipes. They can be used fresh or cooked. The dried seeds can be used in cakes and bread.
Size: Coriander grows to 30 to 60cm (1 to 2 ft) in height.
Conditions: Coriander likes to grow in either full or part sun in fertile well drained soil. In some regions it also grows well in shade. It grows in temperate to subtropical regions and can tolerate mild frost. Mulch well and water regularly.
Propagation: Plant coriander seeds 5mm (quarter inch) deep in well drained soil and keep moist. When seedlings emerge, thin to 20cm (8in) apart.
Packet of coriander seeds
Coriander will grow in the open garden or large pots. It grows well with dill, chervil, radishes, potatoes and spinach. Coriander is reputed to repel aphids and can be planted near any plants with an aphid problem except for roses. Coriander does not grow well near fennel.
Coriander growing in pot
Coriander tends to 'bolt' if conditions change. When the plants are transplanted there is also a risk of them going to seed. Varieties labelled as ‘slow bolt’ can be bought from nurseries. Smaller plants are less likely to bolt when transplanted.
Slow bolt seedling varieties can be bought from a nursery
Coriander likes a dose of seaweed based liquid fertiliser to encourage strong growth. It should be harvested frequently to stimulate growth.
When to Plant: Coriander seeds can be planted from spring through to autumn. However, the young plants may quickly go to seed in hot weather or under changing conditions. Coriander can be planted in winter in tropical, semi tropical and temperate regions. It is less likely to ‘bolt’ if planted from mid autumn to late winter.
Plant every 3 to 4 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh leaves.