Growing herbs is a favorite hobby of many plant enthusiasts. Not only are herbs easy to grow, but growing them is accessible to nearly anyone. While you can do it in a garden, a spacious backyard is not needed – you can plant your herbs on your windowsill or balcony instead!
Cilantro, also called coriander, is one of the many plants you can grow at home and use to enrich your dishes. A single cilantro plant can provide several months’ worth of fresh cilantro when you understand a simple practice called pruning. In this article, we go over what pruning is and how to do it. And, of course, cover the general maintenance of a cilantro plant!
Why should you prune cilantro?
Pruning is an old practice in horticulture involving the selective removal of certain plant parts. The goal of pruning is to remove old, non-productive, or disease-infected branches or shoots of plants. That, in return, encourages new healthy growth.
Regularly cropping your cilantro will let you enjoy the herb for an extended period. The cutting of the plant results in more leaves sprouting. As pruning delays the development of cilantro seeds, it extends the harvest period, letting you enjoy fresh cilantro for months.
Plus, it keeps your plant looking aesthetically pleasing! Cilantro grows leggy and droops quite fast when not pruned.
How to prune cilantro to promote growth?
The pruning itself is a simple process and easy to understand. You do not need anything other than some garden smears or a pair of scissors. And we will never get tired of saying – always sterilize the tools you’re going to use on your plant!
The same goes for the trimming as well. You may be wondering about what is the difference between trimming and pruning? While during pruning your main goal is to save your plant, trimming is for making the plant more bushy. You can read a more detailed guide below about it.
How do you prune cilantro step by step?
- Grab your cutting tool. Gardening smears are the most comfortable with this job, but scissors will do just fine too.
- Cut the stems from the base, and try to do it above a leaf or a secondary stem – this will encourage fast new growth. Don’t harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a time.
- Remove any damaged leaves the plant carries. If you notice any yellowing or discolored cilantro leaves, it’s best to snip them off – this prevents any potential issues.
- Prune the flowers. Pink, white, or lavender flowers growing indicates your coriander is nearing the end of its life cycle. Once the flowers seed, cilantro plants die. To extend their lifespan, cut off the flowering stems from their base.
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How to trim cilantro?
It is super easy to trim the plant, the only thing you have to do is to cut off the first third part of the healthy branches. Furthermore, you can use them for cooking while the remaining part will grow more leaves. When should you trim? If the plant successfully reached about 6 inches (15 cm) height, it is considered mature, so you can start to cut back as written before.
How to harvest cilantro without killing the plant?
As you can see from the previous section, harvesting cilantro leaves is fairly simple. But it is possible to damage the plant during the process. Here are some tips to avoid killing the plant when harvesting.
- Don’t harvest the leaves before your cilantro plant is at least 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Cilantro should reach this height around 4 weeks after planting.
- Harvest weekly – This prevents the plant from bolting.
- Using your hands is okay when you need a few leaves of coriander. But when harvesting in larger quantities, avoid tugging the plant in your hands, as it can damage the plant.
- When using a cutting tool, ensure it’s sharp and clean. You can disinfect it with some rubbing alcohol.
- Never harvest more than ⅓ of a plant at a time if you want to keep your cilantro alive.
How often do you water cilantro?
Water is one of the most important factors in the life quality of any plant – whether you’re growing a polka dot plant, garlic, or coriander. Knowing how much and how often to water your cilantro plant is crucial if you want your plant to sprout and have a rich harvest. They want a lot of water, but you should still be careful not to overwater your cilantro plants.
A good rule of thumb is to water them frequently but lightly rather than water them a lot but not as often. Using well-drained soil is also beneficial to avoid overwatering cilantro.
The exact amount of water your plant needs depends on several factors, such as the age of the plant and where it’s growing. Plants growing outside generally require more water as they get a lot of direct sunlight. Cilantros thrive in moist environments – this is especially true for younger plants. So, water lightly every few days to keep the soil moist. Established plants need slightly less water – you can wait between waterings until the top half-inch of soil is dry.
How to store cilantro?
If you’re not in the mood for fresh coriander at the time of harvest, storing cilantro is easy – and there are several ways to do so. Avoid leaving picked cilantro leaves lying around as they wilt quickly, losing their taste and texture. Luckily, there are many methods to store cilantro for a shorter or longer time.
How to store cilantro in the fridge properly?
If you need your batch of coriander to stay fresh for a short period, from a few days up to a week, you can put them in a glass of water. We recommend placing the glass in a fridge and changing the water occasionally.
Another method for storing your cilantro for a week or so is using the refrigerator. Don’t just throw the freshly picked leaves in the fridge. Wash them and wrap them in a moist kitchen towel. Place the towel in an airtight container or a sealed bag.
How to store cilantro long term?
It isn’t harder than the refrigerator method. Freezing is the best method if you want to store your cilantro for a longer time – the herb can last up to 4-6 months in a freezer. We love freezing it in ice cube trays!