Can I successfully grow Coriander (cilantro) in a Houston spring?

primavera_growerFebruary 8, 2009

I love the scent and taste of cilantro (though apparently some people hate it) and I'd like to grow it in Houston in spring.

But, I read that cilantro is a "cool weather crop" and face it, Houston weather in April can be called a lot of things, but "cool"-definitely not one of them.

So, suggestions?

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Also, this may sound like a stupid question, but is Houston, Texas in Zone 8 or 9?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 2:17PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Not sure about your zone, suggest you refer to a planting zone map. The coriander/cilantro can be planted right now in your area, and should also be planted in total shade to reduce the heat of the day. Yes, it will die quickly in the high heat and strong sunlight. It will not work well if started in pots and transplanted. Let some bolt, then go to flower and seed (tiny fruits), and it might ven plant itself for next year. Also, make several planting spaced a few weeks apart, so you have a continous supply. If you allow it to bolt, and get the to the thinner leaves, it will not grow the flat parsley shaped leaves anymore, but instead will start producing seed heads..

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Thanks for answering. So about what temperature gets defined as "high heat"?

I guess it's too late to start seeds now. Maybe in fall. Can it tolerate light frost?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:48PM
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Go ahead and plant now for a spring crop. With coriander I have found that humidity also plays a part with the plant going to seed. In my area if it is very dry the plant will go to seed early. All of the information I read is that it likes dry but not for me. In northern New Mexico the plant does well as long as their is sufficent moisture in the soil.

Contrary to many I do not find zone's useful. Zone is just a temperature range. You can be in a dessert and be in the same zone as a swamp. I know most of Houston is humid but what soil conditions do you have, dry, wet, sandy, heavy clumping clay, light clay that breaks apart when dug, fill dirt etc.

Since it sounds to me that you are not a vetern gardner, I will give you a few thoughts that I have found useful.

The seasons are just time frames on the calender. Spring and summer start earlier in the South than the calender dates. Some areas in the South this could be January. Fall and winter start earlier in the north and mountain areas. Spring goes from south to north, Fall goes from north to south. Mountains are generally warmer on the bottom but receive more sunlight on one side and the top.

If you are looking at a plant/seeds that is day dependent, long, short or neutral always select the day neutral unless you are far north or south in the US. As strange as it seems the amount of daylight in the northern states is longer than the amount in the southern states. Think of it as the "Land of the Daylight Sun" is closer to the north.

And always experiment. You may be able to grow the prize winning plant that your neighbor two houses away can not even get out of the ground.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 8:19PM
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Yes you can grow cilantro (the leaves) if you plant now in Houston. If it gets hot then you get coriander (the seeds).

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 6:49AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Zones are useful for most areas, as it also refers to how many days when temps are cold or are below freezing in relation to warmer weather. I wouldn't be able to grow cilantro here now as we still have almost 2 feet of snow, and many frosty nights at temps below 10 degrees. No, frost will kill cilantro seedlings. The herb does grow quite fast, so a planting in your area right now, in shaded spot should do fine.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 4:36PM
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Yes, you're right, maifleur, I'm a newbie :). Basically my soil is: A few inches of clayey loamy topsoil, followed by a few inches of sand, followed by solid clay.
So basically it's clay.I've read than a lot of organic matter would be needed to open it up.
And yes, this information is VERY useful. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 8:28PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Gypsom is used to break up clay soil. It will not degrade and should last many years.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 12:03PM
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A possible source of plants and information is your local chapter of the American Herb Society South Texas Unit. I am posting the main page from their website. On the left side is a link to Unit websites. The South Texas Unit is in Houston.

Just because I am noisy did you live to Houston before Ike? If you moved there post Ike you may want to use light weight pots so that you can move them indoors when a big storm threatens.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Herb Society

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Technically, I live in Katy, a bit west of Houston.
Katy really didn't get much damage from Ike (well I didn't, at least), And before that I lived in houston for 5 years so I'm pretty much used to the weather, hurricanes, etc. American Herb Society, hmm? Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:46PM
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discocarp(z9b FL)

You might also take a look at cUlantro (Eryngium foetidum) which has a very similar taste. I can't grow cilantro well much of the year here in florida, but the culantro produces well all summer.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 1:23PM
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Clay soil, I understand those growing conditions. I have heavy clay. Or as I call it "heavy clay interrupted only by rock." I have a little loam (couple inches at most) on top but then all clay. No sand. In the garden beds I use compost and organic matter to loosen the soil. Worked together with the clay, it makes for a good soil that retains water and minerals well and has plenty of nutrient-rich material for the plants.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 3:19PM
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malmason(9, Houston TX)

Hello primavera_grower,

Nice to see other Katy resident in GW. Same as you, my yard is full of gumbo clay. I must soak the ground slowly if I need to dig the soil. When I started gardening, I just dug a hole, planted something, fill the hole with good soil not natural gumbo, hoping the plant will grow and bloom beautifully. Needless say, they all drowned due to this bathtub effect.

I tried tilling with alots organic matters (humas, cow manures, etc), and the beds came out nicely. My backyard is filled with raised beds. Comparing those (2) different approaches, I would go with raised beds if I need to do all over again.

If you had missed starting Corriander from seed, you can purchase a grown plant from store, plant it in a garden and let it reseed it. This Autumn it will come up by itself.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 3:42PM
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The best Cilantro I have ever grown was planted in the fall and wintered over into the spring, but then that was when I lived on the coast. Of course I bought my seeds from [spice secton] of Hong Kong Groceries so if they get too much warm weather it will bolt quickly, they do fine in the fall winter spring season. I have never tried grown it in the spring. I would try anytime to just find out what is the best time for your area

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 8:05AM
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you guys are idiots

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 7:47PM
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