Growing cilantro in the summer

Cynthiann(7)May 4, 2013

I started some cilantro from seed so I can have it in fresh salsa when my summer tomatoes ripen. I've recently learned that cilantro is a cool season plant. So how am I going to keep cilantro alive during the summer heat?

Will cilantro plants survive summer shade? Or should I grow it indoors?

I'm growing so many new things this year, so I still have a lot to learn.


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All I know about cilantro is: It bolts, as soon as it gets hot.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:06PM
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It can be frozen and added to salsa. Freezing changes the texture but not the flavor. I have been doing this for several years. If you just don't like the texture change, you may have to buy fresh cilantro at the store, because as Moni says, as soon as it gets hot, it bolts

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:01PM
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I started the seeds 2-3 weeks ago so they are still small, not enough to freeze a bunch before the summer heat arrives.

The variety I have says its slow to bolt but I assume it still doesn't take much in the Oklahoma heat. I'll still plant some outside to be able to harvest the seeds for cooking.

How about growing it indoors?


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:33PM
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I want it all summer too. I'm planning to put it in a pot in partial shade & cut it regularly & continue to sow & see if I can keep it going awhile. At least until I leave for a couple weeks & it bolts.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Ive grown cilantro probably 8 out of the last 10 years and never had a bolting issue. I plant in fill sun. My only issue has been that it grows like crazy..... But....... I do pinch the tops off of them constantly so that they dont flower or go to seed, so thats might be the difference. But if your a fan of coriander, let some go to seed, grind them up in a morter and pestal and you have fresh coriander. Thats just my experience with it.

Good luck


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:53PM
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LOL No info from me.

I, along with 3,849 others belong to I HATE CILANTRO.COM. It is my opinion that it is a perfect way to spoil good Mexican food.

We have a great little Mexican place in Grove and I love everything I have ever eaten there, except their salsa. I always order guacamole to eat with my chips, because I just can't take the taste of cilantro.

Here is a link that might be useful: I Hate Cilantro

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:24PM
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Carol, my father and my son agree with you, but my daughter and I love it, fresh or frozen in our fresh salsa.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I succession sow cilantro every 2 or 3 weeks so I always have more coming along in case the current group of cilantro plants starts to bolt. I really don't mind having it flower because many of the beneficial insects that help control pest insects are attracted to the cilantro's flowers. Any flower that attracts beneficial insects to my garden is welcome.

Chosing a slow-bolting variety helps it stay in production a bit longer.

Keeping the ground really cool by mulching it heavily or by sowing the seed very thickly so the plants shade the ground beneath themselves can help prevent it from bolting. This is a key point because it is not warm air temperatures that induce bolting in cilantro, it is warm soil temperatures.

Cutting it frequently helps keep it in a vegetative state too, though eventually it will want to flower. Remember that the cilantro plants are programmed to flower---that is how they ensure the survival of their species by setting seed for the next crop.

I grow it in everything from dappled shade to full sun and it is happy pretty much everywhere, as long as it is mulched so the soil stays relatively cool. I usually put on mulch about 4" thick before the end of May.

You also can grow heat-loving cilantro substitutes like papalo or culantro.

You can grow it inside under fluorescent lights, but I don't know that it is necessary to go to that extreme. Try growing it well mulched outside and cutting it often or try growing it in the cool season and papalo and culantro in the warm season. You'll likely have to order seeds for them online. I've never seen papalo or culantro seeds on a seed rack in a store.

Like Emma, I have to cut mine often because it grows so well, especially at this time of the year, but when I have to cut a lot and don't have time to use it all or freeze it, I mulch the potato plants with it. I think maybe it keeps the pests away.

Carol, I like cilantro but only in reasonable amounts. If Tim made the salsa in this family, I think he'd substitute cilantro for the tomatoes. When he's making pico de gallo, I have to hover and look over his shoulder to make sure he isn't putting in so much cilantro that no one else will eat the pico. He got his recipe from a friend who has owned a Mexican restaurant for decades, but I am pretty sure the recipe calls for 2 T. of cilantro, and Tim will put in 2 cups of it. It drives me crazy.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Carol, I'll never forget the first time I tasted fresh cilantro, it tasted exactly like dish soap to me. I avoided it for years, but now I love it. Now it tastes like summer.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Personally I dislike cilantro. I won't grow it in my yard! But I have friends that love it, and grow it.

I also don't like to baby plants. I plant them, and they have a choice, grow and produce, or die. That is why this weird season we usually call spring is so hard for me.

No sympathy from me. LOL


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:57AM
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I really appreciate all the great advice. I'm happy to hear that some of you have had success with growing it in the summer. I decided I will try to grow it in a couple of different locations in the garden; just to see how it will be affected. Also, I will definitely mulch heavily, harvest/prune often and also do succession plantings.

If I'm not successful with it this summer, I will look into the alternative Dawn mentioned (papalo or culantro ) for next summer.

I think cilantro can be an acquired taste - I used to think it tasted like soap, too! Now I can't imagine having salsa without it. I liken it to my use of fish sauce: by itself or too much of it doesn't taste very good to me but just the right amounts well blended into food adds another dimension and flavor to the food that would be missing without it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:19PM
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Dawn, i guess the reason ive had such good luck with mine is that i grow it in such large bunches, i dont thin it out at all and i also plant it right at the end of the bed where my tomatos go, so i guess thats why ive had luck with no bugs on my tomato plants. I had no idea that it attracts good bugs. I hadnt even bought any seed this year, but ill be going out to get some today and probably plant it tomorrow when i plant the tomatos.

Thanks for the good info. I will probably plant it on both ends of the bed this year!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:47AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I just planted some in 4 inch pots tonight after reading this thread. Too much cilantro is awful but a little makes salsa taste good. I used to hate it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:08AM
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