Growing Cilantro In Containers
Cilantro is an herb that actually provides two different harvests. When you harvest and use the foliage, it it called cilantro. When it flowers and goes to seed, you can gather and dry the seeds. The seeds are a spice called coriander.
Cilantro should be direct sown from seed. It develops a large, long taproot that could be damaged during transplanting, so it is preferable to always plant it from seed directly into its home container. Since it has this long taproot, it needs a fairly deep container, so you should plant cilantro in a pot that is at least 8 inches deep, and 10-12 inches would not hurt. It grows to 8-12 inches wide, so a fairly wide pot would help, also.
Seeds should be sown directly into containers in early spring. They should be planted in a very shallow hole, and should be covered with about one half inche of potting mix that is packed down lightly. They should germinate in approximately two weeks, as long as the soil is around 60 degrees F. When they reach 4 or 5 inches in height, thin them to a few inches apart.
Cilantro needs a lot of sunlight. It should be grown in a sunny spot outdoors, or on the sunniest windowsill you can manage. Cilantro has succulent foliage, so it needs a lot of water. You should water it regularly, and often.
Cilantro goes to seed very easily, so be sure to harvest it early. To harvest cilantro, simply snip the stems off at the soil level. If you want a continuous harvest of cilantro, you should make small sowings of it every couple of weeks. Once you’ve harvested all of a plant, tear it out and use the same pot to sow more.
Any variety of cilantro will work fine, but if you are more interested in the leaves than the seeds, look for “nonbolting” varieties. If you wish to harvest the seeds for coriander, any variety will do.