Slo Bolt Cilantro
days to maturity: 40 days
plant spacing: 4 plants per square foot
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: overwatering and rotting roots
harvest notes: harvest outer leaves as needed or whole bunch as “cut and come again”
Cilantro is such a commonly used herb it perhaps needs no flavor introduction, however we hear many stories of south Florida gardeners having a “hard time” growing cilantro. The trick is using a “slo-bolt” variety, which means it will go to flower slower and tolerate the heat more, and also harvesting it in a timely manner. Cilantro plants are only 6-8 inches tall when they’re mature enough to harvest, which we think is one of the reasons why people think they aren’t succeeding at growing cilantro when really what they aren’t succeeding at is harvesting it! Cilantro is a plant that can be grown in “bunches” which means instead of planting 1 cilantro seed that makes 1 cilantro plant you plant about a dozen cilantro seeds together and basically treat them like they are one plant. You can either go through and harvest exactly the mature fronds that you need for the kitchen one by one, or you can grab the whole “bunch” of fronds and cut a few inches above the base. this is called “cut and come again” and 2-3 weeks later the plant will regrow and can be harvested again. For a continual source of cilantro throughout the season we recommend having at least 4 plants and replanting them every 6 weeks or so through spring. Plants that you’ve already harvested a few times can be left to bolt, so you can have access to flavorful cilantro flowers, then fresh green coriander seeds.
First image courtesy Johnny's Select Seed.