Are you one of those people who can’t seem to keep anything green alive? Cilantro is a hardy, annual herb is relatively easy to care for, but a little bit of knowledge around caring for cilantro plants will help you grow healthier plants. One of the most important things to remember is how often to water cilantro.
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How Often to Water Your Cilantro Plants
Cilantro (i.e. coriander seeds) like to be grown in moist soil, but not overly wet soil. The key is to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
As a general rule of thumb, you should water your cilantro plant every 1-3 days. If the weather is particularly hot or dry, you may need to water more frequently. On the other hand, if it’s been raining quite a bit, you will be able to get away with watering less often.
If you’re not sure whether your cilantro needs water, the best way to tell is to stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry about an inch below the surface, it’s time to water your plant.
Whether you are growing cilantro in herb garden beds, in a pot, or are starting seedlings indoors and transplanting them outside, they are going to have a different watering frequency. Let’s take a look at each scenario to growing cilantro.
Growing Cilantro Plants in Raised Beds & in the Ground
If you are planting cilantro in raised beds or garden beds, you usually only need to water every 1-2 days unless it’s very hot outside. Depending on which zone you live in, your cilantro plants can often see quite a bit of rain during parts of the season.
If you live in a more dry area or are experiencing weeks where there is no rain in sight, you’ll want to check your cilantro plants daily to make sure they don’t need water.
- With cilantro seedlings and starter plants, they often do best with more frequent watering. Check on them daily and make sure the soil doesn’t need watering.
- With more mature plants, or full-grown cilantro, they are hardier and can usually go a few days without being watered.
When overhead watering, be sure to use your hose nozzle on the lowest setting or invest in a watering wand that helps with watering accuracy. You want to water the ground around the cilantro plant, as wetting the leaves and flowers head can invite fungus and plant viruses to take hold.
- Made with aluminum making it lightweight, yet durable
- Rubber foam along the wand for additional protection at the natural wearing point.
Add Mulch to Your Garden
When growing cilantro in the ground, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by adding mulch around the cilantro plants.
This helps reduce water evaporation and keeps the soil surrounding the plant from getting too hot, causing your plants to dry out too quickly.
Mulch will also help the ground temperatures to stay consistent if temperatures fall overnight suddenly. Cilantro grows best with direct sunlight and a good amount of heat.
Another added benefit of organic mulch is that is reduces the splash-back effect and helps prevent dirt and possible disease from splashing up onto the leaves when it gets watered or it rains.
Potted Cilantro Plants
If you planted cilantro in a container or pot (even if it’s sitting by the door or on the patio), it will require a bit more attention. The sun’s rays are much stronger than the light it will get indoors, and that, along with the wind, will cause the soil to dry out faster.
Make sure your plants are in a good quality potting soil, pots with good drainage, and in an area that gets full sun.
I like to deep water the entire plant, making sure the entire pot is wet and drains the excess water. Usually after a good deep watering, you can almost always skip the next day (unless it’s going to be really hot).
If the weather is calling for a lot of rain, hold off on watering the cilantro so it doesn’t get overwatered.
Keep the soil moist and water as often as every 1-3 days. But also make sure the plant does not sit permanently in wet soil or this can cause over watering issues (see below).
If the weather forecast is going to be very dry and calls for summer heat, make sure to check the plant (sometimes more than once per day) to see if your outdoor cilantro needs a drink of water.
With potted plants, you want to water often so the soil does not dry out completely, but be aware that overwatering cilantro plants can also damage the plant.
Growing Cilantro Indoors
An indoor cilantro plant might require less water when it’s not as warm and the wind isn’t blowing as hard. However, if you do have fans on your plants, then you might want to treat them similarly to if they were outdoors.
Unlike outdoor plants, when you grow cilantro indoors they don’t experience rain so all of their water needs are manually being met by you (unless you’re growing them hydroponically).
Starting Seeds & Watering Cilantro Seedlings
I love starting seeds indoors to get a head start on the growing season. But some cilantro varieties can be hard to germinate. Cilantro seeds germinate in around 5-10 days, but if the environment isn’t warm enough they can take a lot longer.
I water my seedlings daily, or at least every 2 days. The pots they start off in are small and drain really fast, so without daily watering they can dry out easily.
Once the plants have sprouted and they are up potted into larger containers, the watering doesn’t need to happen quite as often.
Can You Water Cilantro Plants Too Much?
Yes, you absolutely can overwater cilantro plants. Overwatering your plants consistently can even lead to root rot, which is not good in terms of the yield you’ll get from your plants.
Signs you are watering your cilantro too much:
- Drooping cilantro leaves
- Leaf discoloration
- Mushiness around the base of the plant stem
If you suspect you have overwatered your cilantro plants, let the soil fully dry out before restarting your watering process. The plant will be fine with dry soil for a little bit, but make sure to keep and eye and don’t let it fly back the other way and let the plant roots dry out too much.
Make sure you have your cilantro planted in well drained soil.
Proper Watering is Key
While it can be really easy to grow cilantro, it’s also very easy to overwater your cilantro plant. Make sure it’s in fast draining soil with proper drainage, and any cilantro grown indoors is in a pot with at least one drainage hole.
Cilantro leaves can be dried and used in a variety of dishes, or eaten as fresh cilantro and added to guacamole (my favorite!) or other foods.