Have you ever been to a supermarket to purchase fresh herbs? If yes, you might agree with me that they can be pretty pricey. But if you are someone who loves fresh herbs and don’t want to keep spending hundreds of bucks buying herbs from the supermarket, there is a solution. Grow your herbs at home! Culantro is one of the easy to grow herbs and if you have read my previous post on “what is culantro?” you might have fallen in love with the herb.
If you are interested in growing them but doubting your gardening skills, don’t worry I am here to help. In this article, I will show you how to grow culantro and also provide other helpful information that will help you grow the herb successfully. Let’s dive in!
- What Are The Criteria Needed To Grow Culantro?
- Where Can You Grow Culantro?
- When Can You Grow Culantro?
- How Can You Grow Culantro?
- How to Care For Culantro While Growing
- Pests & Diseases
- How Does Culantro Grow?
- How Do You Preserve Culantro After Harvest?
- Cap Off
What Are The Criteria Needed To Grow Culantro?
♦ Soil type – Culantro needs well prepared, well-drained fertile soil, rich in organic matter, capable of holding moisture for a longer period of time, in a warm location. A variable pH of 4.5-7.5 favors its growth that is why it can be seen growing at some location where no attention was paid for its growing & it just happened due to the seed shedding of the plants previously grown in your garden.
Culantro grows & survives well, even in some off garden locations, to show its tendency to grow in a variety of soil conditions.
The pH of the soil should be between 6 and 7.5 for healthy growth.
♦ Temperature – The outdoor growing temperature for culantro is between 70-degree Fahrenheit and 90-degree Fahrenheit. Also, the soil temperature should be kept between 75-degree Fahrenheit as the minimum requirement and 80-degree Fahrenheit as the maximum requirement.
Fill your steel nursery trays with potting mixtures or coco-peat, apply plenty of water to media, put 2-3 seeds in each hole, followed by the option to heat trays from beneath, maintaining the optimum temperature of 80°F to keep soil warn. These conditions will let the seeds start germination in about 2 weeks & it will be completed in 30 days approximately. Abundant moisture & high temperature is the favorite growing media for these Biennial plants.
♦ Light – Unlike some herbs such as basil that requires full sunlight, culantro prefer and grow best in a partly shaded light condition. When you plant this herb in shady conditions, they will produce greener and high-quality leaves. But if they receive too much light, they might abandon leaf growth almost completely and rapidly produce seeds and flowers.
♦ Water – even though the soil moisture needed for optimal health of a plant can vary from herb to herb, culantro requires that you keep the soil moist evenly. Also, ensure that water is moderate.
Where Can You Grow Culantro?
You can grow culantro both indoors and outdoors in as much as all the growing conditions or requirement can be met where it is planted. However, it is most times advisable to start growing the herb indoors because the seed is so small and might require that you use bottom heat to help the culantro seed grow quickly, smoothly, and effectively.
Another reason why you should grow culantro indoors is that you can easily meet the light conditions. Remember that you need a shady area to grow them, and that is much easier to get indoors. Fortunately, if you love to grow them outdoors, you can easily up-plant culantro and move the herb to your garden outside. Be careful not to damage the roots while doing this.
When Can You Grow Culantro?
Even though culantro is a leafy herb that is available all year round, most areas grow it as an annual herb. Culantro is extremely sensitive to cold that even the frost that is as light as 28-degree Fahrenheit and 32-degree Fahrenheit can damage it. The herb requires an environment or area that is warm to hot. This means if you are living in an area with frost, you will have to wait until the last frost date of your area has passed before you set culantro out. Even though some growers suggest that culantro seeds should be planted indoor 8-weeks before the last frost date, the perfect season to grow culantro is after frost in the spring. You will then pick the leaves of the herb until the high temperature and long days of summer arrive.
Transplant of seedlings must be done, when apparently there is no chance of frost, into pots or directly into the ground, in shade or open to direct sunlight by adding constant water supplies to keep them moist, where they may get a height of 10” for the plants, sown in shade. The seedling may be transplanted 4-6″ apart with a distance of 18″ between the rows.
How Can You Grow Culantro?
Typically, culantro is grown from seeds, but they can also be grown from cutting. However, these are different processes and can be achieved in different ways. Check below for the growing tips of culantro seeds and stem.
1. Tips for Growing Culantro from Seeds
♦ Buy high-quality culantro seeds from the farmer’s market, supermarket or online
♦ Get a container or planting pot and fill it with the required soil type (seed starting mix) and moderate moisture
♦ Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil and place the container where direct light cannot reach and so it can get partial shade
♦ Heat the bottom of the container or pot to achieve the required soil temperature and speed up the germination of the culantro seeds.
♦ While waiting for the seeds to germinate, ensure you keep the soil quite moist
♦ Once the seed starts to germinate, you can prune the culantro seeds after the first week of germination to maintain a spacing of 8 to 12cm.
♦ Allow the herb to sprout and grow through spring to summer while you keep picking their leaves for culinary purposes and storage
♦ If you need the seeds so you can grow them in the next growing season, you can allow the herb to go to seed and flower. This should happen after 10 weeks of sprouting. Then harvest the seeds and store them.
How to Choose the Best Seeds for Growing Culantro:
A seed is a basic thing which determines the fate of plants in your garden. The seed contains an embryo, which is supposed to support germination process until it develops its own roots system for survival & further growth.
It’s a bit difficult for a gardener to judge quality prior to sowing; there are some primary characters, to be seen while selecting seeds for Culantro:
Physical Quality: Culantro seeds must be uniform in size, color, and shape. This shows that there is no impurity if we observe symmetry in these characters.
Genetic Purity: Seeds must be genetically pure, in the sense, that it doesn’t contain seeds of any other variety than the one mentioned on the label of seed.
Physiological Quality: Germination & vigor of the seed must be satisfactory. These seeds must be able to germinate under favorable conditions to become good plants as prescribed on seed labels.
Germination Test: Culantro seed must have passed germination test to possess 85% germination rate, Be clearly labeled on its pack.
Seed Health: Seeds must be free from diseases & pest attacks.
2. Tips for Growing Culantro from Cuttings
This method of growing culantro is basically for those that are already growing the herb or those who have friends and neighbors that grow culantro in their garden. Of course, you can get culantro cuttings from them to save money and time.
♦ Use a clean knife or scissors to take a culantro stem cutting. Take the cutting at an angle just below the point where the leaves grow and ensure a cutting is up to 6-inches long. I will advise you to take more than one cuttings so you have a better chance of getting more that will survive.
♦ Remove the lower leaves especially the large ones. Also, remove the buds and flowers if there are any so that the energy of the culantro plant can be directed towards producing new roots.
♦ Look for a small container, fill with water and stand the cuttings in the water. Make sure that no leave touches the water.
♦ Put the container where plenty of light cannot reach. Remember, culantro prefers partial shade.
♦ To prevent the growth of bacteria and algae, it is advisable that you change the water more often, every 1-2 days.
♦ Depending on if the right conditions are perfectly met, the culantro cutting can start rooting after a couple of days or weeks
♦ Once the cuttings start growing and the roots appear to be around 2-inches long, you can transplant them to the growing pot with soil or in the garden.
♦ You can start snipping off the leaves as they grow and if you want the seed so you can plant from seed in the next growing season, you can allow it to go to seed, harvest them, and store.
How to Care For Culantro While Growing
♦ Prune the flower stalks regularly to maintain maximum vegetative growth and yield
♦ Grow them under shade for strong and sharp aroma, better texture, excellent appearance, and greener, larger leaves
♦ Make use of a blanket to protect newly planted culantro seedlings from the frosts of late spring
♦ Apply mulch to help conserve the moisture of the soil and keep it cool. Also, it will help prevent the soil from splashing on the leaves and keep it clean.
♦ Consistently ensure that the soil is moist
♦ Don’t pull the leaves while harvesting them so as not to destroy the entire plant
♦ Do not take the culantro plant outdoors even if there is slightest of frost. Remember! This herb is highly sensitive to frost.
Pests & Diseases
As the Culantro grows under high temperature & high humidity and has broadleaf structures, which makes an ideal environment for some pests to attack this plant. Slug & Snails may hide underneath of Culantro leaves while tender shoots are the places to stick mealy bugs on. Several species of nematodes also appear in case of direct soil sowing; many of these are reported beneficial for soil fertility. Increasing plant spacing may help a gardener to reduce the fears of Slugs & Mealybugs. Culantro has also some attraction for beneficial insects while aphids stay away from these plants due to their scent.
Root Rot, Black Rot, and Bacterial Leaf Spot are the commonly occurring diseases on Culantro. Avoiding direct sprinklers on plant leaves can reduce the risk of root borne & bacterial diseases.
How Does Culantro Grow?
Every herb has its germinating time, growing time, and harvesting time and the culantro herb is not left out.
♦ Germinating time – If you meet the right conditions of growing culantro from seed, it can take between two to four weeks to sprout. About six to eight weeks after germination, you can transplant the germinated seed into your garden. However, ensure the danger of frost has passed. If not, leave them indoors.
♦ Growing time – The maturity period of culantro is approximately between 80-days and 90-days. Depending on when you grow the herb whether from 6-8 weeks before last frost date or after frost in the spring, culantro will grow till the long days of hot summer when it will bolt. e maximum requirement.
♦ Harvest time – Leaf harvesting can be done after 10 weeks of transplant. Plants in shade will give relatively more cuttings than the one, planted in direct sun, which bloom earlier to harvest seeds for the upcoming plantations in your garden. Additionally, a report from the University of Massachusetts shows that as day length increases the rate of culantro flowering is enhanced. This means that the herb is sensitive to day length and summer long days can take a toll on their leave production. With this in mind, I advise culinary growers to harvest most of the larger leaves and allow the plant to go to seed during the long days of hot summer.
Culantro loves the frequent doses of the high-Nitrogenous fertilizers for its increased vegetative growth. Remove flower stalks, as and when they appear for boosting leaves production.
How Do You Preserve Culantro After Harvest?
The seeds and leaves of Culantro can be preserved for later use. However, they have a limited time of storage.
♦ Leaves – You can preserve the leaves of culantro by moistening it with olive oil and putting it inside an air-tight container where oxygen can be sealed out. Put the container inside the refrigerator. These steps will help prevent it from browning while still maintaining its flavor. Alternatively, you can wrap the fresh leaves of culantro in paper towels and refrigerate. Also, you can allow the leaves to dry. Try to make it in the form of a powder and pour it inside a container. It will retain its color and flavor if it dries well. However, you need to use them within a few days because the longer they lie inside the refrigerator, the more they are at the risk of losing their natural taste, color, and aroma.
♦ Seeds – The seeds should be harvested for storage when they are matured and dry. Store the seeds in a plastic bag, label and date it, and put it in a cool, dark place. Culantro Seed life is usually two years.
Can you see that growing culantro is easy and simple? Grow them in the right type of soil, at the right temperature, water them as needed, and wait for them to germinate. Once they germinate, you can transplant them outside or leave them indoors. But ensure you care for them by utilizing all the tips I have provided in the “how to care for culantro” section. Harvest their leaves while they grow and allow them to seed and flower when needed. This is probably during the hot summer with longer days. What are you waiting for? I just showed you how to grow culantro. Come on! Roll up your sleeves and start growing!