How to Grow Cilantro and Harvest Coriander Seeds

Barbara Pleasant shares how to grow cilantro and harvest coriander seeds, includes tips on growing cilantro, choosing varieties of cilantro and when to harvest coriander seeds.

| August/September 2003

Illustration of the cilantro plant.

Illustration of the cilantro plant.


Learn how to grow cilantro and harvest coriander seeds in the garden.

Cilantro Recipes

Black Eyed Pea Salsa Recipe

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is really two herbs in one. The leaves, called cilantro or Chinese parsley, impart a musky, citrus-like (some even say “soapy”) flavor to Mexican, Chinese and Thai cooking. The tiny, round seeds, called coriander, taste of sage and lemon or orange peel, and season many traditional Indian dishes, especially curries.

Coriander roots also have culinary use. In Southeast Asia, they are dug, chopped and added to salty pickled condiments by many kitchen gardeners.

This easy-to-grow herb is rich in vitamins A and C, and also contains iron and calcium. In the garden, coriander flowers attract beneficial insects. At the flowering and fruit-set stage, the plants give off a slightly acrid smell, which is probably why this herb’s botanical name is derived from the Greek word for “bedbug,” which emits a similar color. In mature seeds, this odor vanishes.

Some people find the unique smell and taste of fresh cilantro unpleasant, but those of this opinion are definitely in the minority, because the herb’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Cilantro enthusiasts eagerly eat the leaves raw, chopped into salsas or salads, and layered onto sandwiches.

5/13/2016 3:55:48 PM

Anna. Hanging upside down was to get the seeds for use as coriander, not for the leaves to be used as cilantro. As for finding the seeds on the plant, they are obvious clusters of little green balls. You can't miss them.

4/17/2016 8:22:11 AM

Still don't understand why I'd hang fresh cilantro leaves that are perfect for cooking upside down for 2 weeks. Pictures would have been nice explaining how new coriander seeds appear in a seemingly all-leaves plant, and where to find them. Thanks!

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!