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I was wondering, starting my own garden and having my coriander plant go to seed in winter and seeing locally grown coriander for sale at the grocer's at the same time. How do they grow coriander while mine has gone to seed? I thought the temperature and the amount of light determined when a plant went to seed, but then couldn't you keep a coriander plant outside in spring and summer during the long hours of sunshine and keep it in a greenhouse over winter with artificial controlled temperature and light? If this is the case, how long could a plant live for in this situation and does that mean that it is possible to have a year-round supply of coriander? Am I right or is the plant genetically programmed to have a certain lifespan? I'm not really a gardener, I just enjoy cooking and have a few edible plants growing around the house and this question has been on my mind for some time.
We are all genetically programmed to have a certain amount of time on this earth. Annuals are just that, annual.
I would venture to suggest that the lovely lush coriander leaves you buy in the shops are grown under glass in a far away country.
Sam, you are entirely correct, the day length is how plants judge when to flower/germinate and moderates they grow. What production companies do is limit this by blacking out or adding additional light, artificially changing day lengths in greenhouses.
What you will find is it is possible to keep it growing for a long time but after a while It will start to be less productive so you could get a long productive growth but may need a few plants. You can for cabbage for example turn it into an almost tree form and get happily perennial tomatoes with the right light/heat levels.