Where/how to cut cilantro

rweakley(8)November 21, 2011

I've searched and searched with no success for this discussion.

I have a bunch of cilantro plants that I will soon be ready for harvest. I don't know exactly how to do so. The plants are one stem up to the cotyledons and then several stems producing leaves above that point.

I assume that I don't want to cut below the cotyledons right? I cut a single stem with a leaf on it just to see what it would do, and it got a little brown where I cut it. It doesn't show any signs of continuing to grow. So when you cut the cilantro does it just throw up new stems instead of continuing to grow the cut ones?

So the basic question here is where on the plant can I cut? And how much can I cut? Can I cut down to the soil or do some leaves need to remain intact for new growth to emerge?

Thanks for the help!


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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Rule of thumb, don't cut more than 1/3 of the living plant material off if you want the plant to survive.

If you cut the cilantro to the soil line, be prepared to plant more seed. You need to leave enough for the plant to survive if you want it to push more growth.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:14PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Cut an entire stem. New ones grow.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 1:36PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

If I understood the OP correctly, the plants were very young and only had one stem. Cutting that one stem to the ground will probably kill such a young plant.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 6:59AM
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@Morgana--No, there are several stems protruding from each plant above the cotyledons. I went ahead and cut the plants in half heightwise. I have about 30 plants growing in a 6"D x 6"H container (I've heard they like being crowded). It gave me enough to throw in the food processor with some Pace salsa...nice little addition. That left each plant with some leaves left to provide energy to the plant.

I guess the cut stems just kinda sit there and dry up while new ones are being produced?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 4:03PM
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I just grab a handful and hack with the scissors. Cilantro is sort of like leaf lettuce, you should succession plant about once a month during its cool growing season.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 7:11PM
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Got a second batch growing, just starting to show true leaves. I planted about half as many in the same size planter to see if they would grow more vigorously. I did a little experiment and cut one plant from my first batch nearly to the soil. It's actually growing a new stem of leaves :)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 12:19PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Experience is a good teacher in the garden - we learn from both our successes and failures! The garden is also generous with many second chances - though sometimes new plants or seeds are required!! I'm glad to hear it is going well for you.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Cilantro takes forever to germinate, sort of like parsley, but once it's growing it's very easy. I just spread it over a spot that I want to grow it, lightly cover with soil and keep damp. It can take up to three weeks to emerge. But, once it does, it should grow all through the cool season and I just chop handfuls for salsas. When I get too much, I make mint/cilantro chutney which is wonderful with homemade garlic naan.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 11:13PM
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