Growing Coriander and Cilantro Is Surprisingly Challenging In The North!

Since we’re about six to seven weeks to last frost here, we need to talk about herbs! This is the time where you’ll sow the overwhelming majority of your herbs. The only major outliers we’ve come across for timing are mint (10 weeks) and basil (5 weeks).

Specifically, though, we want to talk about coriander and cilantro! These are surprisingly tough nuts to crack in the herb garden! First off, just in case you didn’t know, cilantro and coriander are the same exact plant. Cilantro are the harvested leaves & stems, whereas coriander is the produced seed. It’s one of very few plants that produce both an herb and spice in a single plant!

We had to do a ton of trials with cilantro to find a variety that would not bolt almost immediately upon planting into our gardens. We’ll talk about what causes this more tomorrow, but our trials produced the Calypso cilantro variety as the most productive and bolt resistant type out there. If you want a proper, long lasting and continually harvestable cilantro harvest over the season, Calypso is really the only variety we’d recommend.

The problem we ran into after finding Calypso is that it’s so bolt resistant, it took over 120 days to produce actual coriander! In fact, while we’ve had it produce coriander seed, it’s never been mature enough to harvest within our relatively short growing season. So, that presented a challenge for any kind of coriander production!

We’ve had to take a slightly different tact here in the north to satisfy both needs. To get a proper coriander harvest, one can sow nearly any other variety of cilantro other than Calypso! There are some “coriander” specific genetics that you can find, which we are trying some for the first time this year with an Indian Coriander variety. This really isn’t anything ground breaking, essentially it’s just cilantro that hasn’t been bred to be bolt resistant. Even so called “bolt resistant” varieties will still likely produce coriander in less than 100 growing days here in the north.

One of the brand new articles we wrote this year is a deep dive on northern climate growing of cilantro and coriander. It goes into a lot more detail and is linked in the comments. We are super excited about our cilantro and coriander harvests this year, it’s a fresh favorite across our spice & herb production!

Growing Cilantro & Coriander In Cold Climates & The Subarctic

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