How to Grow Cilantro in Florida
Posted by Jeena Lugo on
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an herb that is used in various cuisines around the world. It is a relatively easy herb to grow, but the process can vary depending on the climate and soil conditions of your region. In this blog post, we will discuss how to grow cilantro in Florida, specifically focusing on planting cilantro seeds in early fall, coriander seed, and how to harvest cilantro in early spring.
Planting Cilantro Seeds in Early Fall
The best time to plant cilantro seeds in Florida is in early fall, around late September or early October. This is because cilantro is a cool-season herb and prefers to grow in cooler temperatures. When planting cilantro seeds, it is essential to choose a location that gets partial to full sun, as cilantro plants require plenty of light to grow. Additionally, it is best to plant cilantro seeds in well-drained soils, as they do not tolerate waterlogged soils. If your soil is too heavy, you may need to add organic matter to improve the drainage.
Cilantro seeds can be sown directly into the soil or started indoors and then transplanted outside. If you choose to start your cilantro seeds indoors, you should begin the process about six weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. Once the seedlings have grown large enough, you can transplant them outside into your garden.
Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander seed, and they are an essential ingredient in many dishes, including curries, stews, and soups. If you are growing cilantro primarily for its coriander seeds, you should let the plants grow until they have gone to seed, which typically happens in early summer. Once the plants have gone to seed, you can harvest the seeds by cutting off the seed heads and placing them in a paper bag to dry. Once the seeds have dried, you can store them in an airtight container for later use.
If you are growing cilantro primarily for its leaves, you can begin harvesting the leaves as soon as they are large enough to use. It is best to harvest cilantro leaves in the early morning, as they will be the most flavorful at that time. To harvest cilantro leaves, simply snip off the outer leaves with a pair of scissors, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. It is essential not to cut the plant down to the ground, as this will prevent it from regrowing.
Harvesting Cilantro in Early Spring
If you are growing cilantro for its leaves, you can harvest the leaves throughout the fall and winter months. However, cilantro plants will eventually begin to bolt, or go to seed, in the spring as temperatures warm up. When cilantro plants bolt, they produce fewer leaves and become less flavorful. Therefore, it is best to harvest cilantro before it bolts.
If you are growing cilantro for its coriander seeds, you should wait until the plants have gone to seed before harvesting. This typically happens in early summer, around June or July. Once the plants have gone to seed, you can cut off the seed heads and dry them in a paper bag.
Cilantro plants are relatively easy to care for, but they do require regular watering and fertilization. When watering cilantro plants, it is best to water deeply but infrequently, as this will encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Additionally, it is best to fertilize cilantro plants with a balanced fertilizer every two to three weeks.
If you are growing cilantro in Florida, you may need to protect your plants from pests and diseases. Common pests that can affect cilantro plants include aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. To prevent pest infestations, it is best to keep your cilantro plants well-watered and fertilized, as healthy plants are less susceptible to pest damage. You can also use natural pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or using organic insecticidal soaps.
In addition to pests, cilantro plants can also be affected by diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot. To prevent these diseases, it is important to keep your cilantro plants well-spaced and ensure good air circulation around them. You should also avoid watering your plants from above, as this can promote the growth of fungal diseases. If you do notice any signs of disease on your cilantro plants, you can try using organic fungicides or removing and destroying affected plant parts.
In conclusion, growing cilantro in Florida is a rewarding experience that can provide you with fresh herbs and spices for use in your cooking. To grow cilantro successfully in Florida, you should plant cilantro seeds in early fall, choose a location with partial to full sun and well-drained soils, and water and fertilize your plants regularly. Additionally, you can harvest cilantro leaves throughout the fall and winter months, and wait until the plants have gone to seed in the spring to harvest coriander seeds. With the right care and attention, your cilantro plants will thrive and provide you with a bountiful harvest of fresh cilantro leaves and coriander seeds.