Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Cristina
Is cilantro a perennial? No, it is not. But, if you understand this plant you can make sure that you have a constant supply of plants of various sizes so that you have a perennial supply of cilantro.
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro is a herb that matures into a spice when it forms seeds that we just cannot do without generally. Some people hate the taste of this pungent herb (say it tastes like soap), and others love it. This is genetic. For South American, Indian, and most Asian cooking, as well as a lot of the culinary traditions of Africa, cilantro is a must. In Europe, it forms an important part of many Southern European nations’ culinary traditions.
Cilantro is also known as Coriander, Dhania, dthania, dembilal, and various other names. Its scientific name is Coriandrum sativum. It is a fast-growing annual herb that can reach, according to literature about 20 inches in height – but I have plants in my garden right now that are double that height.
Typically in culinary terms, we refer to Cilantro or Dhania as the leaves of the plant – the herb. If we collect the seeds and use these this is referred to as the spice Coriander.
Does Cilantro Die After Flowering?
Yes. The seeds germinate and grow rapidly to produce a clump of cilantro plants. These will begin to flower when they reach a height of about 15-20 inches. The flowers are white and attract a myriad of different pollinators, including honeybees and wild bees.
After the flowers are pollinated, the production of coriander seeds begins – I actually like to harvest these green and then make a paste out of them using a bit of vinegar and honey and store this in a bottle. I would have made some today, except my assistant came to work hungover and fed the coriander plants to the chickens, so I will make some in a few months’ time again! Green coriander fed to chickens actually confers a delicious taste to the eggs of the chickens I have discovered as a consequence of this accident.
If you allow the plant to continue maturing it will eventually go brown and die and the seeds, if not harvested, will fall to the ground and you will, in a short time, have a garden that is entirely overwhelmed by cilantro plants! This plant can become an extreme weed. I have had it growing in the gutters of my house, in the compost heap, in flower beds, and pretty much anywhere else it could find. Do not let cilantro go to seed completely, unless you are willing to have a lot of cilantro growing as a weed.
Is Cilantro Annual Or Perennial?
Ok, so from the previous paragraphs we can answer the question – “is cilantro a perennial” clearly, it is not! Cilantro is an annual plant, and it grows like a weed, so if you allow it to, you can have a perennial sequence of cilantro plants growing in your garden! But they will all cycle through from the leafy cilantro herb stage to the seed coriander spice stage.
Is Cilantro Hard To Grow? – Is Cilantro A Perennial?
The two easiest useful plants to grow, if you have never grown a plant before are probably radishes and cilantro. If you are going to grow cilantro in a pot, get a decent potting mix. If you plan to grow it outdoors dig a bit of compost and manure into a bed of soil. I have grown cilantro in soils ranging from near-pure dune sand (the spice must flow…) to river sand, loam, and hard clay. It can grow in any of these as long as you dig compost and manure into the soil.
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If you buy some seeds or just scratch a few coriander seeds out of a spice mix, such as pickling spice mix, you can plant them about a quarter of an inch deep in the soil. I plant the seeds an inch apart. You will see why in a bit. Water the soil until it is soaked and then water every second day, keeping the soil damp, but not soggy. The cilantro will emerge in about 5-10 days depending on temperature.
The seedlings grow rapidly, and what I do, is thin them out by cutting seedlings off with a pair of scissors. These baby cilantro in my opinion have the best taste in their leaves.
As the plants get bigger I typically thin them out to about one plant for every foot or so of a row. This will allow them to grow into large strong plants that will yield a good crop of seeds that can be used green, or allowed to dry for later use as a spice.
Is Cilantro A Perennial? Cilantro is really easy to grow, and fresh cilantro tastes better than anything you can buy from the shop. I try to use my cilantro within 10 minutes of picking it. This is opulent, but something you can easily do if you let it become a weed in your garden.
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How Long Does Cilantro Last?
Coriander seeds can store for years – I have germinated plants from seeds that were probably 15 years old. The spice loses a bit of taste with time. Cilantro leaves should be consumed as quickly as possible as they lose the super delightful taste of fresh cilantro after about 10 minutes of picking them and will just taste like shop cilantro after that.
The reason we grow our own is that we can eat it fresh! Why would you store it? So in my world, I just always make sure that I have a few plants at various stages of development, and that I have a constant supply of cilantro that can be consumed within 10 minutes of picking it.
If you go into the garden and just graze herbs like a cow or baboon – a leaf here, a seed there, a root here, a fruit there, you will find your health and immune system will thank you.
In Conclusion – Is Cilantro A Perennial?
Is Cilantro A Perennial? No, cilantro is not a perennial. It is an annual and will grow from seed to herb (cilantro) to spice (coriander seeds) quite rapidly over a few months. Allow this to happen – harvest seeds and you can plant cilantro every few weeks and ensure you have a constant supply of fresh leaves to eat. Consume leaves quickly – within 10 minutes of picking to achieve the optimal flavor! You will not be disappointed.
As I type this I am distilling a batch of gin with fresh cilantro leaves in it and can actually smell the yummy herby flavor wafting around my house!
Dr. Garth A. Cambray is a Canadian/South African entrepreneur and beekeeper with 28 years of experience in apiculture and specializes in adding value to honey. His Ph.D. research developed a new advanced continuous fermentation method for making mead that has resulted in a number of companies globally being able to access markets for mead. His company, Makana Meadery, exports honey mead to the USA where it is available to discerning connoisseurs. He has also developed technologies to commercially manufacture organic honey vinegar in Zambia for export globally. He holds a few patents globally in the ethanol industry and believes in technology and knowledge transfer for human development and environmental sustainability. One of his proudest achievements is the fact that the wind farm he started at one of his old apiary sites has essentially made his hometown carbon neutral.