Cilantro is a fantastic tasting herb that is used in many cultures and dishes around the world. It even has some fantastic medicinal properties too. With that being said, buying cilantro at your local grocery store can actually be quite expensive.
Therefore, today we want to talk about how to grow cilantro indoors. Yes, here we are talking about indoor cilantro growing, because this is a plant that does need fairly high temperatures. If you live in a cool climate, growing cilantro outdoors is just not very feasible.
How to Grow Cilantro Indoors: Step by Step
Right now, we are going to go through an in depth, step by step tutorial on how to grow cilantro indoors. This particular guide is going to focus on growing cilantro from seed. However, you may also grow it from clippings.
1. Gather Your Supplies
You will first need to gather all of the required supplies to grow your cilantro. Refer to the list below for all of the things that you will need to accomplish this task.
- You will need seedling trays to get the seeds started. Using some specialized seed media, such as seed cups is recommended. These could be filled with perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss.
- You are then also going to need some larger containers to transplant the cilantro into once the seedlings have reached a certain height. For a single plant, an 8-inch container will do. However, for large plants, especially a few of them, something like a 12-inch container is best.
- You are then also going to need growing media. Nutrient rich potting soil will do just fine here. Adding some coconut coir to the mix can also help.
- Some fertilizer designed for edible plants is required.
- You are then of course going to need to buy some cilantro seeds. You can buy them online or purchase them from your local garden store.
- You’ll also need a small shovel and maybe some gardening gloves.
2. Plant the Seeds
Once you have gathered materials, you then need to plant your cilantro seeds. Some people will start the seeds right in the final containers.
However, to develop a good root system, starting the seeds in seedling trays is recommended. You can then transplant them to larger containers once the seedlings have reached a certain height.
Therefore, get your seedling cups that are filled with special seed media for seeds. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch under the surface. Provide them with a little bit of water 24 hours after planting, but ensure that the media is not saturated.
You also want to provide your plants with a little bit of light. Make sure that wherever you put your cilantro, the ambient temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s going to take a few days for the seeds to sprout, at which point you will see them growing above the surface. Once your cilantro plants reach about 2 or 3 inches in height, you can then transplant them into a larger container.
3. Transplanting the Cilantro
You will now want to transplant your cilantro plants into larger containers. You can use some scissors to split the seed cups open. Just make sure that you don’t damage the seed media or the roots of the cilantro. Take your final container, and we do recommend a 12-inch container, and fill it with potting soil.
Make a little hole in the potting soil that is deep enough to fit the whole root system of the cilantro plant. When transplanting, make sure that the roots are completely covered by the new soil.
You can cover the roots by up to another 1/2 inch with new soil. Yes, your plants will need some light and water. Just don’t over saturate the soil with water.
In terms of watering, lighting, fertilizing, and more, these will all be discussed directly below. Once again, make sure that the ambient temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Fertilizing the Cilantro
If you bought good potting soil, you shouldn’t need to fertilize your cilantro for at least the first month. The potting soil itself should contain more than enough nutrients to keep your cilantro going. However, eventually that soil is going to run out of the nutrients that your cilantro needs to grow.
Therefore, after about the first month, you will need to regularly fertilize the plant. We recommend using a fertilizer specially designed for herbs and leafy plants.
Just be sure that you don’t provide your cilantro with too much nitrogen, as this can ruin the flavor of it. Keep in mind that for these kinds of plants, potassium and phosphorus are very important. Using a liquid fertilizer that you can mix with water is generally the best approach.
5. Lighting and Watering Needs
Cilantro is a plant that naturally needs a lot of sunlight to maximize growth. Ideally, this plant should get at least 7 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. However, up to 10, or even 12 hours a day is acceptable as well. If you are just using windows, either west or south facing windows will generally be best for this purpose.
However, it might be the case that you just can’t provide your cilantro with enough light indoors. If this is the case, you will want to get some kind of plant grow light. A full spectrum grow light, even a simple one, can come in very handy. You can find a grow light that can keep cilantro alive for well under $50.
When it comes to watering, cilantro likes its soil to be fairly moist but not overly saturated. Therefore, a key here is to provide your cilantro with good drainage.
Unlike other plants that you should let dry out and then fully water, cilantro should just be kept constantly moist. Finding the sweet spot may be a little difficult but you should be able to do so with a bit of trial and error.
On a side note, make sure that you always water the soil. You never want to pour water over the plant itself. This can increase the chances of fungus and pests taking hold. Worst case scenario, those water droplets can also magnify sunlight and burn the leaves of your plant.
6. Temperature & Air Circulation
Technically speaking, cilantro can survive in temperatures anywhere from 50 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, best is somewhere around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just don’t get the temperature above 85 degrees Fahrenheit because your cilantro will then start reproducing. If this happens, it’s going to lose all of its flavor.
You do then also want to provide your cilantro with a bit of air flow. This will help to prevent pests and fungus from taking hold. It will also help to control temperature and humidity levels.
7. Harvesting Your Cilantro
Once your cilantro plant reaches about 6 inches in height, it’s completely ready to harvest. You just want to use clean scissors to cut away the leaves as needed. Keep in mind that this is not a plant that will keep growing infinitely. Instead, you will have cilantro leaves for around 8 to 10 weeks.
Read also: 10 Indoor Herb Garden Ideas
Growing Cilantro Indoors – Conclusion
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about growing cilantro indoors. It’s a super tasty herb, it’s cost effective to grow, and super easy as well.