25cm between rows
Coriander is a staple ingredient in Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes – leaves, stalks, seeds and all. It’s also used for adding a fresh summery taste to salad dishes.
An easy-to-grow leafy herb, coriander can be grown from seeds sown directly in the soil or in pots. Sow successionally for fresh bunches of coriander throughout summer.
How to grow coriander
Grow coriander in moist but well-drained soil or compost from spring to autumn. For a successional harvest throughout summer, sow seeds every two weeks. Water coriander plants regularly and harvest when you need to.
More on growing coriander:
How to sow coriander
Coriander does best in well-drained soil and full sun, but will tolerate some shade in the height of summer. Seeds can be slow to germinate – crushing them very gently before sowing can speed up the process.
Coriander has a long tap root, so it’s best to avoid damaging the roots. Sow seeds in multi-cell trays, directly into the soil outdoors where they are to grow, or into pots. In the vegetable plot, sow seeds thinly 1cm deep in rows, 30cm apart. Seeds should germinate within 7-20 days. Thin out the seedlings to 25cm apart. Sow regularly through the summer for a constant supply. Seeds can be sown until late in the season for winter use.
How to care for coriander
Keep your coriander plants well watered. While it’s important to not overwater coriander, you do need to keep the soil damp, as dry soil can cause plants to bolt (flower prematurely). You can feed occasionally with a liquid seaweed mix if you want to, but coriander doesn’t need additional nutrients. Weed regularly around the plants to stop weeds competing with them.
Growing coriander: problem solving
Coriander is relatively trouble-free to grow. Young seedlings may be eaten by slugs and snails, so make sure you protect them.
Pick fresh coriander leaves as needed through the growing season. Snip them off at the base of the stalk, as the stalk is also full of flavour. Don’t be put off by coriander flowers, they can be harvested and eaten in salads.
If you want to harvest your own coriander seeds, allow a few plants to flower. After flowering, when the seeds have appeared and the plant is just beginning to die off, pull it up and place the seed heads in a large paper bag. Hang this upside down to dry out thoroughly. After a few weeks you can shake the seeds into the bag. Use the seeds in cooking or sow them for your next batch of fresh coriander leaves.
Store coriander seeds in an airtight container – they can be used whole or crushed to a powder. At the end of the season, you may want to cut large bunches of coriander and chop these finely before freezing. Frozen coriander will keep its flavour for use in curries, soups or stews, but will not really work as a garnish.
Coriander varieties to try
- ‘Calypso’ – a British-bred cultivar, which is quick to grow and slow to bolt. It can be cut right back to regrow at least three times during the summer
- ‘Confetti’ – has finely-divided leaves
- ‘Chechnya’ – an eastern European variety
- ‘Lemon’ – with citrus-flavoured leaves
- ‘Leafy Leisure’ – vigorous cultivar producing masses of leaves and slow to bolt