Coriander is a versatile herb.  It’s hugely popular in curries and many types of Asian, Chinese and Thai dishes.  Both the seeds and the leaves of the plant can be used, each offering it’s own distinct distinct flavour. The seeds have a slight lemony flavour and they are often ground and used as a spice. The leaves (also known as cilantro) have a slightly bitter taste.  They can be chopped up and added to dishes and breads or used as a garnish.


Coriander enjoys a sunny position in the garden.  However, during the hottest part of the day, it does like a little shade. If stressed, coriander has a tendency to run to seed, where it flowers prematurely, developing seeds instead of growing lush foliage. This isn’t much of a problem if you are growing the plant for its seeds, but not if you are growing it for its leaves.

Being quite a sensitive plant, coriander is best grown from seed directly into the soil. Transplanting young plants can shock them and cause them to bolt (run to seed).

Prepare the soil thoroughly by digging it over, removing any weeds and incorporating organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost. Rake the soil level and the sow seeds 4cm apart in drills 1cm deep.

Germination of coriander takes up to 3 weeks. Thin young plants to 20cm apart to allow them to grow to their full size. During dry periods, ensure that you water them, taking care to never let the soil dry out.  Re-sow coriander every three weeks to ensure you have a continual supply during the summer. It is not normally necessary to feed coriander if the soil is well nourished. However, if the plants appear to be suffering, give them a liquid organic feed to perk them up.


Harvest the leaves when the plant is big and robust enough to cope. Pluck or cut each leaf off the stem or snip whole stems if necessary. Both the leaves and the stalks can be used.


Coriander does well in containers and can be grown on a sunny windowsill or balcony. The container must be quite deep as coriander has a long taproot. Scatter seeds on the surface of the compost and cover with soil, watering well. Care for the plants as you would if they were in the ground; you may need to water them more often as pots dry quickly.