Organic Coriander Farming – Planting Guide

Organic Coriander Farming (Cilantro)

Hello friends, we are here today with the topic of “Organic Coriander Farming”. The coriander plant is an erect annual herb in the Apiaceae family. Coriander is also known as Cilantro and it is an annual herb that has been grown and eaten all around the world for a very long time. It has a wonderful tangy flavor and is the perfect herb plant for adding some zing to your cooking. Fresh leaves can be added to salads and wraps while the roots and seeds, which have a stronger flavor, are used to enhance curries and stir-fries. It can be mainly grown for its leaves or its seeds. It is a soft and hairless plant. In this article we also covered the below topics about growing Coriander;

  • How do you grow organic Coriander
  • Which fertilizer is best for Coriander
  • What conditions does Coriander need to grow
  • What’s the best time to grow Coriander
  • Can you grow Coriander all year round
  • When and where should you grow Coriander
  • How long does Coriander take to grow
  • How to grow Coriander faster
  • Planting Guide for Organic Coriander Farming
  • Tips for Organic Coriander Farming

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Organic Coriander Farming (Cilantro)

Planting Guide for Organic Coriander Farming
Planting Guide for Organic Coriander Farming (Image credit : pixabay)

Organic Coriander Production in India

Coriander grows best in pots or prepared beds with loose and well-draining soil. Coriander plants can reach 3 feet tall and have a reputation for being easy to cultivate. Also, it will ensure your herbal supply is always fresh, and more flavorful than commercially grown varieties.

Coriander is an annual herb plant, mainly cultivated for its fruits as well as for the tender green leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. In India, Coriander is grown in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, UP, and Madhya Pradesh. The major portion is though consumed locally and a small quantity is being exported now. Organic Coriander production is holistic and improves the health of the ecosystem such as biodiversity, life cycles, and soil biological activity. Also, it emphasizes the use of management practices rather than the use of non-agricultural inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require a locally adapted system.

The main benefits of organic Coriander farming are that organic Coriander is highly profitable due to export demand and that organic products are of high quality, safe, nutritious, and environmentally friendly. The associated benefits are the protection of long-term soil fertility, based on the principle of a sustainable agriculture system, which allows the use of insoluble nutrient sources through micro-organisms. So, the application of various organic sources of nutrition along with the organic way of disease and insect pest management recommended for realizing higher growth and give a high yield of Coriander.

Choosing the Best Coriander Varieties for Your Area

When growing Coriander organically for the leaves, you’ll want to grow slow bolting varieties. Also, slow bolting plant varieties are better in hotter climates as they won’t go to seed as quickly. For harvesting the Coriander seeds, most varieties work fine as all will go to seed at some point.

Coriander plant needs cool climate conditions during the growth stage and a warm dry climate at the maturity stage. Mostly, it can be cultivated in most types of soils, but well-drained loamy soil suits the crop well. Though, cold climate and high altitudes can lead to superior quality seed and higher essential oil content. The major Coriander varieties cultivated in India are Gujarat Coriander-1, Gujarat Coriander-2, UD-20, Rajendra Swati (RD-44), CS-287, CO-1, CO-2, CO-3, APHU Dhania-1 (LCC-170), Suguna (LCC-236), Suruchi (LCC-234), Susthira (LCC-219), Sadhana, Sudha, Swati, and Sindhu.

Soil and Climatic Requirements for Organic Coriander Farming

Coriander plant grows well in a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, although it performs best in the middle of this range. For best results with organic Coriander, rototill or spade in 2 or 3 inches of composted organic matter or manure into the top 6 inches of your garden soil. The cool and comparatively dry climate is best for growing Coriander.

You can grow Coriander in any climate conditions with a warm summer, so long as you keep the plant well hydrated during the intense summer heat. Coriander can be grown in containers or home herb gardens. It requires regular water throughout the season and does best in loose soil amended with organic compost. The Coriander plant will bolt (flower and go to seed) quickly in warm temperatures.

Coriander needs a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight preferably 8 or more for optimum growth. Coriander develops better flavor with more sunlight. Strong light creates more fragrant oils in the foliage and plant stems.

Tips for Planting Coriander

  • Sunlight – Full sun to partial shade
  • Maturity – 60-75 days (leaves), 100+ days (seed)
  • Height – 1 to 3 feet
  • Soil Temperature – 17 to 27°C
  • Planting Depth – ¼ inches
  • Germination – 7-15 Days

Coriander Seed Germination

  • Depending on the outside temperature levels and moisture levels, Coriander seeds will germinate after 7 to 15 days.
  • When stored in a cool, dry place, Coriander seeds are viable for at least 5 years.
  • Coriander will germinate in soil temps ranging from 7 to 29°C; optimal germinating temperatures are 15 to 23°C. The Coriander seeds will germinate in 7 to 15 days typically.
  • Because Coriander is frost resistant, it can be planted quite early in the spring, even in Northern climate zones.

Problems in germinating Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds are the easiest to germinate. Just sprinkle seeds on the ground and you will see seedlings in a week. Normally, Coriander seeds don’t germinate due to some reasons;

  • Poor seed quality
  • Selected seeds are not meant for sowing
  • Aged seeds

Coriander Plant Propagation

Coriander is propagated directly from seeds and must be sown after the last frost. The seeds must be planted in a prepared bed by planting seeds 0.6 to 1.2 cm deep allowing 5 cm between seeds and 30 to 38 cm between rows. Plantings can be staggered to ensure a continuous harvest and the Coriander seeds must be kept moist.

Seed Sowing in Organic Coriander Farming

Sow Coriander seeds directly into well-drained and fertile soil. Coriander plants have deep tap roots so at least 25 cm deep pots are needed. In a pot of 25 cm diameter, you can sow approximately 5 seeds per pot. Choose well-drained soil and mix in some aged manure or compost to speed along the growing process. If you work compost into the top few inches of your Coriander bed you won’t need to fertilize again as the plants grow.

Plant seeds half an inch deep, spaced about 2 inches apart. Once the Coriander plants are about 3 inches high, you can thin them out to 6 inches apart. If you are planning on growing Coriander to produce Coriander seed, you should space plants out a little more to give them room to grow to full maturity, as Coriander plants can get as tall as 2 feet.

Sowing Time and Method in Organic Coriander Farming

For the vegetable purpose, an optimum time for seed sowing is the first week of October and when grown for seed purpose, completes sowing in the last week of October to the first week of November. Depth of soil must not more than 3 cm. Use the Pora method for sowing Coriander seeds.   

Seed Rate and Spacing Requirement in Organic Coriander Farming

Coriander Seed (
Coriander Seed (pic source: pixabay)
  • The seed rate required for Coriander planting is 10 – 12 kg/ha (Irrigated crop) and 20 – 25 kg/ha (Rain-fed crop). The whole seed will not germinate and the seeds are split open into halves before sowing for more germination percentage.
  • Keep row to row distance of about 30 cm and plant to plant spacing of 15 cm.

Planting Process in Organic Coriander Framing

Step 1) Coriander crop thrives well in temperature levels between 17° to 27°C. Coriander plant is best sown directly in pots rather than growing them in seed trays and then transplanting the sprouts.

Step 2) After that, you can grow Coriander in full sun and well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0. Sow the seeds about 1/2 to 1 inch deep in the soil. Press the soil over the seeds and cover with the half-inch layer of fine mulch and water thoroughly.

Step 3) Water the Coriander plants carefully in dry periods. Good soil drainage is necessary to ensure healthy root health as Coriander has deep taproots. You can choose to buy organic manure.

Step 4) Germination of Coriander seeds takes up to 7 to 15 days. To extend the Coriander harvest, regularly snip soft stems, rotating the Coriander plant while you harvest.

Step 5) Take a handful of organic Coriander seeds and then spread them evenly on a plate. Break the seeds into halves. All you need is reasonable soil that you can keep well-watered.

Step 6) Prepare the soil with compost and then sprinkle water on it. Dig a trench not more than 2 inches deep and sow the seeds in straight uniform lines. Keep a distance of 0.5 to 1 cm between them.

Step 7) Direct sow Coriander seeds into the ground, and keep them well-watered.  Just remember Coriander plants can grow up to 2 feet tall. Leave about 5 cm between Coriander plants if you’re growing it for the leaves. 

Step 8) Cover with soil and press firmly. Water the Coriander seeds right after sowing and once every day. Within 7 to 10 days, the leaves will start sprouting. Initially, the Coriander leaves will be glossy, long, and thick. By the 3rd week, you should get a mild fragrance. By this time, the thick leaves will have turned thin and this is when they are ready for harvesting.

Water Requirements for Organic Coriander Farming

  • The key to growing Coriander successfully is to keep it from bolting for as long as possible by tricking the plant into thinking that it perpetually spring or fall seasons. You can do this by giving them plenty of water and mulching the soil around each Coriander plant to keep their roots cool. This will convince each plant to continue to produce fresh Coriander leaves rather than transitioning to flower growth.
  • Keep your Coriander well moistened but don’t let it get soaked. Having soil with good drainage is important for keeping Coriander plants healthy.
  • Cilantro plant needs good moisture about 8 inches into the soil. The best watering practice to the Coriander plant is a good soaking about 1 time per week.
  • If soil is sandy, you may need to water more frequently, but using a good mulch layer around your plants will keep them moist. Then, check the soil moisture every few days until you get a feel for how the air, soil, water, and mulch interact.
  • Commercial growers almost always use a drip irrigation system.
  • Don’t allow your Coriander plants to wilt but don’t make your soil soggy either. You can tell if the soil’s too wet if you can compact the soil easily in your hand.

Manures Requirements for Organic Coriander Farming

To prevent bolting, you can use mulch like barley straw to keep the soil cool. Mulch also keeps moisture in the soil. Overhead watering reduces Coriander seed yield. Applications of organic manures are directly or indirectly helpful in increasing the availability and uptake of nutrients from the soil and ultimately boosting crop yield. Farmyard manure (FYM) is effectively utilized for Coriander production. Since vermicomposting supplies all the nutrients in readily available form, it enhances the uptake of nutrients by Coriander plants. Castor cake is concentrated organic manures which supply nutrients readily by faster decomposition. In the meantime identification of a suitable variety of Coriander that suits organic management that crop yield cannot be compensated.

Coriander Cultivation in Rajasthan

In India, Rajasthan is the largest Coriander producing state and it contributes 62% of India’s total production. In Rajasthan, the highest area for Coriander cultivation is Jhalawar (42%), Baran, (35%) and Kota (20%).

Rajasthan is the major producer of Coriander crop. About 62% of the total Coriander output is from Rajasthan with 36% of the area under Coriander cultivation. Also, the quality is superior as well as internationally acceptable. The strengths of Rajasthan in Coriander are;

  • Highest area, production, and productivity
  • Internationally acceptable quality
  • Climatic conditions suitable for quality production

Pests and Diseases Control in Organic Coriander Farming

Coriander has few problems with pests and diseases. Some of the organic methods to control Coriander pests and diseases are;

Leaf Spot – The symptoms are small yellow spots that in time turn into large brown spots. It is caused by too much moisture, so it can be prevented by growing Coriander in well-drained soil and not over-watering each plant.

Powdery Mildew – The symptoms are white, powdery coating on the Coriander leaves during hot, dry periods. To prevent it by keeping plants from drying out and removing any plant that becomes infected.

Herbs rarely have serious pest problems. Keep a close watch for powdery mildew disease, and if symptoms are found, treat cilantro with the following least-toxic techniques;

  • Neem oil used on a 7-day schedule will prevent a fungal attack on indoor plants.
  • Use a slow-release and organic fertilizer on plants. Soft, leafy, new growth is most susceptible.
  • Apply sulfur or copper-based fungicides to prevent infection of susceptible Coriander plants. For best yield, apply early or at the first sign of disease.

Leafhoppers – Leafhoppers are always a threat wherever the Coriander plant is grown. Leafhoppers can transmit a disease known as Aster’s Yellows. Leafhoppers are small, somewhat triangular variable-colored insects that hang out on the undersides of plant leaves or stems. They suck the juices out of leaves and inject stunting microorganisms into the plant’s leaves. They can stunt your cilantro’s growth or if the infestation is heavy, even kill your plants. Insecticidal soap spray, neem oil, pyrethrum, and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) have been effectively used by organic gardeners to control these pests in Coriander plants.

Aphids – Aphids are common pests that can be found on the undersides of your Coriander leaves. Aphids suck the juice from your leaves and leave a sticky substance behind. The best solution to aphids is to import ladybugs into the garden. They feed on aphids and are very effective in ridding your Coriander plants of these little green, gray, or brown bugs. Also, the recipe for a homemade insecticidal soap that you can try is 1 cup mineral oil, 2 cups water, and 2 tablespoons organic dish soap. Mix and then put into a spray bottle or pump-up sprayer.

Armyworm – Another pest is the armyworm, which has larvae that come in various colors from black to dark greenish-brown; they have dark brown, white, and orange stripes the entire length of their abdomens. The mature larvae are about 1.5 inches long and its head is yellow-brown with brown streaks that give the worm a mottled appearance. The armyworm pupae are easy to spot when you’re cultivating your garden and they live in a brownish-colored shell just below the surface of the soil. The moth lays eggs in rows on the undersides of the leaves; after laying the eggs, the moth rolls the leaves around the eggs for protection. Armyworms feed on the plant leaves, leaving droppings under the plants and severed leaf materials on the ground. For gardeners, the easiest method to control armyworms is to handpick them and drop them in a bucket of warm soapy water to drown them or feed them to the chickens if they’ll eat them.

Aster’s Yellow Disease is transmitted by leafhoppers. This disease makes the plant produce spindly and the flowers turn yellow and make the plant sterile. Controlling leafhoppers is the best method to control aster’s yellow disease. Some organic methods for controlling these pests are insecticidal soap spray, neem oil, pyrethrum, and/or Diatomaceous Earth (DE).

Leaf spots are caused by bacteria is caused when infected water is splashed on the Coriander leaves. Overhead irrigation is at fault for spreading these bacteria. Using a drip irrigation system to ensure dry leaves is the best prevention for Leaf spots. Also, neem oil and organic copper-based fungicides can control the spreading of leaf spots.

Damping-off (seedling rot) may affect Coriander seedlings as they germinate. Soaking your Coriander seeds in a compost tea or mixing hot compost (direct from your compost pile) with the seeds is said to inoculate the seeds and seedlings against this disease. Also, you can purchase resistant seed Coriander varieties to damping-off the disease.

Harvesting Process in Organic Coriander Farming

Coriander leaves can be harvested about 40 to 45 days after planting. Leaves can be removed from the outside of the plant when they have reached 10 to 15 cm in length. Commercially grown Coriander is harvested by cutting the entire plant at soil level or 4 to 5 cm above the crown.

Commonly Asked Questions about Organic Coriander Farming

Coriander Field
Coriander Field (pic credit: pixabay)

How much time it will take to grow Coriander?

Coriander plants can be grown indoors under a wide range of climatic conditions. A Coriander can be harvested in 40 to 45 days.

Does Coriander grow easily?

Coriander is an easy-to-grow leafy herb and it can be grown from seeds sown directly in the soil or pots.

Why does my Coriander keep dying?

A dying cilantro plant is because the soil is not at the right moisture level. Because of poor soil the Coriander wilts and dies. Coriander is an annual herb that dies back after flowering.

Why is my Coriander going yellow?

If the Coriander plant leaves are turning yellow color, a feed with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer is needed.

How often does Coriander need to be watered?

When growing Coriander in containers, you may need to water more frequently, especially as temperatures begin to rise.

Why is my Coriander going purple?

This problem can be caused by not enough food, too much food, the incorrect pH level, or the environment being not humid enough.

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