Leggy Cilantro

Joined Jun 11, 2001
I've grown various herbs over the years in pots, and added cilantro to the mix this year. It is making me nuts! Rather than growing in a parsley-shaped bushy form with lots of leaves, it put on a small underlayer of normal cilantro leaves, and for the past three weeks has grown straight up into flowering stalks of hair-thin leaves that bear only a passing similarity to cilantro. It's stayed well watered, gets Peter's every 10 days or so. I've cut the stalks back twice now, and it just keeps on coming.

Any ideas on getting real cilantro out of this rouge plant?

Joined Dec 30, 1999
Based on your location, it may be to late for cilantro because of the heat. Cilantro is extremely sensitive to warm weather. It needs to be sown in your area immediately after danger of frost. You are in USDA Zone 7B so ideally your cilantro should have been planted April 7th.

Heat causes cilantro to bolt (go to seed) very quickly. Since cilantro is short lived anyway, heat doesn't help.

If you still want to try growing it, try moving it to a bright yet fully shaded area. Or an area which gets eary morning sun and is in shade the rest of the day.

Herbs don't like to be fertilized. They actually prefer soils with less nutrients, just make sure it's well drained.

Try sowing slow bolting varieties, if you need sources, let me know.

"Cultivars to consider are `Santo,' `Leisure,' `Jantar,' and 'Slo-Bolt" all of which are slow-bolting and have been bred specifically for foliage production rather than seed."


"Coriander, a cool season crop, is easy to grow as a culinary herb and is most suited to fertile loam soils...

One of the major problems in producing cilantro is premature flowering. Bolting becomes acute as the days get hotter and longer. A number of seed companies now offer slow-to-bolt (long-standing) cultivars. There are significant differences among coriander cultivars regarding the response to premature flowering, and while some are less susceptible, none are totally unresponsive to high temperatures and long days (Simon et al. 1989). Thus, cilantro is planted as a spring, early summer, or fall crop."

For more info, look

Joined Apr 19, 2001
In addition to all the above, keep pinching the top leaves back, and any new leaves you see forming at the ends of a stem. This will force the plant to grow down and out. And keep a watchful eye for those flowers developing, and pinch them off as soon as you see them. I do this with basil, also, and find that I get a much bigger yield than if I just let it grow up and up.
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Thanks for the tips. I've had great success with the topping out of basil over the years, and will try the same with the cilantro. It just got so wild so fast I was surprised.

On a brighter note, the tarragon is happy as can be, and the habaneros and red/yellow bell peppers are coming on finally. Basil well on the way to bush status.....:D
Joined Jul 26, 2002
What a great thread. I never have any success with cilantro. Does it need a lot of sun?
We have part shade. And most all other herbs are doing very well. Cilantro has always been a problem.
Any tips? I live in NYC.
Joined Jul 31, 2000
The great thing about cilantro (if you can keep up with it before it goes to seed) is that the entire plant can be used from roots.stems,leaves,flowers and seeds.
In medieval times,the seeds were candied and eaten after banquets to aid digestion and freshen your breath (first toothpaste?)
The roots are wonderful in stirfries with there kind of mild cilantro/celeriac flavor.
Cilantro of course loves sun to light shade and does best in hummus rich,moist well drained soil.
Spring and fall are the best time to sow your cilantro,and mulch the soil to keep moist and cool.Also as soon as you see it about to shoot to flower cut it back to prolong it's season
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I have resorted to cultivating it with my debit card this year. Perhaps I'll have better luck next year!:rolleyes:
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Cilantro does like partial shade; try planting it in between your pepper plants, and do successive plantings so you don't end up with harvesting it all at once! Try the slow-bolt cilantro available, too; I've had quite good luck with that.

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