How to Grow Cilantro Indoors

Cilantro is both an extremely common and versatile plant, commonly used in a wide variety of foods, though it also has some medicinal properties as well. It’s easy enough to pick up at your local grocer, but many people may ask how to grow and care for cilantro themselves.

Most people probably assume that you need some sort of yard or plot of land to start a garden. However, not everybody has this kind of space. So, if you’re looking to grow cilantro of your own, how would you go about it? Luckily, you can grow cilantro indoors just as well as outside!

What You Need to Grow Cilantro Indoors

  • A container with drainage holes.
  • Appropriate potting mix.
  • Cilantro seeds.
  • A location with access to sunlight.
  • An appropriate cover.
  • Fertilizer.
  • A humid environment.

It’s imperative that you use a container with holes to drain water. If a cilantro plant’s roots remain too wet for too long, they’ll begin to rot.

If you’re unsure what kind of soil you should use, most potting mixes that you can buy locally or online will be labeled for indoor or outdoor use. Choosing the right fertilizer is also important; fertilizer with higher nitrogen content is best.

Proper levels of light and humidity are also vital to the process. Your cilantro plant should be getting at least five hours of sunlight a day, or twice as much from an artificial grow light. You should also rotate your container every four-or-so days to make sure your plant grows evenly.

You should also use a humidifier to ensure your cilantro plant grows properly. If you don’t own a humidifier, you can alternatively mist your plant a few times every day.

How to Grow and Care for Cilantro

1. Prepare the Container

Once you have everything you need, you’ll want to fill your container with your choice of pre-moistened potting mix. Your ideal mix will be something that both easily retains water but doesn’t trap any excess. Light, fast-draining soil with perlite mixed into its contents make for an excellent potting mix.

Unglazed terracotta is best for growing cilantro inside, allowing moister and air to pass more easily through its roots. Make sure that you also have two-to-three drainage holes in the bottom of your container. If your container doesn’t come with holes, you can drill them in yourself.

2. Sow Your Seeds

Once you’re ready to begin planting your cilantro, place three-to-five seeds into your potting mix, no deeper than three times their size beneath the soil. It’s important to plant multiple seeds, just in case one or more of your seeds don’t sprout. Your seed packet should include specific instructions for planting. For more information, you can read this article.

3. Water & Cover

Because your potting mix should already be damp, you should only need to lightly mist the container so the potting mix settles around your seeds properly. Afterward, wrap the top of your container with plastic wrap to keep your mix moist and promote germination. Once your seeds begin to pop through the soil, you should remove your cover.

When watering your cilantro plant, it’s easy to accidentally overwater the plant. To avoid this, you should gently water the surface of the soil evenly until the first droplets begin to fall from the holes in your container. Any more than that and you could overwater the plant.

4. Add Fertilizer

To those inexperienced with the growing process, it may be tempting to fertilize your plants frequently, but doing so may ruin your plant. Instead, you should fertilize your plant once a week to speed up the growing process and ensure your plants grow strong and healthy.

Additionally, it’s important to note that fertilizing your seeds may actually be harmful. Instead, you should only fertilize your plant about 2 weeks after planting the seeds, which is when you should see the first leaves appear on the plant.

5. Harvest Leaves

About a month after planting and growing your cilantro, you’ll be ready to either clip a couple of leaves, or snip the entire plant. If you want to harvest without killing the plant, make sure to snip off whole stems from the base of the plant. Harvest the oldest, or “outside” stems first, so that younger stems can continue developing.

3 Pro Cilantro Growing Tips

1. Balance

A big mistake many gardeners who are just starting make is drowning their plant. Rather than constantly watering your cilantro, it’s important to wait for the soil to dry first. Checking once every one or two days before watering again will help keep your plant from drowning.

Additionally, don’t assume that the plant is ready for more water just because the surface is dry. The surface dries out faster than the rest of the soil, so before watering, it’s recommended that you stick your finger deeper into the soil to test for moisture. If it’s dry, it’s time for more water.

2. No Right Answer

It’s likely that you’ve scoured the internet for the perfect amount of water to administer to your plant, but the truth is, there is no wholly correct answer. The environment around your cilantro plant, the plant’s stage of growth, and even its container all play a part in determining how much water the plant needs.

As described in step 3 of the growing process, you should wait for water to begin dripping from your drainage holes rather than following a static guide.

3. Don’t Overwhelm

Something you may not know about potting mix if you’re new to gardening is that most comes with some form of fertilizer already mixed in. So, if you’ve read step 4 of the growing guide and have begun to see leaves sprouting from your cilantro, you may think it’s time to start fertilizing. However, if your potting mix is fresh and hasn’t been used before, you’d be incorrect.

Good quality potting mix will often contain fertilizer that will sustain the plant you’re growing for up to six months. If you’re noticing that your plant looks weak before then, consider mixing in some fertilizer; otherwise, let it grow on its own until you’re sure it needs a little boost.

If you’re still struggling with the growing process, consider watching this video:

Now You Know How to Grow Cilantro

Even if you’re pressed for space to grow your favorite herbs and plants, you should rest easy knowing that there are ways to pursue these hobbies and lifestyles indoors as well. Hopefully, this article has helped enlighten you on how you can take that extra step toward self-sufficiency, even if you don’t have a large plot of land.

So, what did you think? If this article helped you out, share it with a friend; maybe you can compare results! Share what you think about this guide in the comments, too. We’re always happy to hear your input.

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