You’ll find your Mexican food dishes don’t taste the same without fresh cilantro in them. The herb cilantro is used in Asian food, as well. Cilantro flavors a range of other foods and condiments. It is often called Mexican Parsley. Even the roots of cilantro are edible. It is a member of the carrot family.
Cilantro grows in containers or in well-draining garden soil. It is easy to grow and it is time to get it started now. Here are a few reasons why cilantro is a must-have herb in the garden.
Cilantro as Pest Control
The fragrance and small flowers of bolting cilantro attract beneficial insects to the garden. Beneficial’s munch on the bad bugs in the garden, eliminating bad bugs and providing an organic means of pest control. These good insects lay eggs on small flowering plants, such as cilantro. Once hatched, juvenile insects are ready to feed on pests. Hover flies and parasitic wasps are just a couple of the good bugs cilantro will attract to the garden.
Cilantro also repels bad bugs way from the garden. Aphids, potato beetles and spider mites flee from the scent. Discard plants that have heavily attracted bugs.
Cilantro as a Companion Plant
Cilantro in the garden stimulates the growth of some green vegetables, including spinach. Plant cilantro in well-placed spots to provide pest control and stimulate growth of other veggies.
Caraway, chervil, mint and dill are great companion plants for cilantro. Avoid planting cilantro with fennel. Don’t confuse cilantro with its cousin, culantro, a spicier herb.
Cilantro as Coriander
Flowers of the cilantro plant produce tiny seeds which are called coriander. Coriander is an individual spice with a pungent, citrus flavor. Coriander seeds are usually dried before use. Recipes may call for the use of whole seeds or ground seeds. Outside the United States, coriander may also refer to the leaves of the cilantro plant.
In the ground or in containers, cilantro is a short-lived herb. Plantings every few weeks will provide a steady supply. Harvest leaves when plants are 6 inches or taller. Cilantro will flourish in a sunny environment during the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. Include cilantro in the herb garden.
During the heat of summer, grow cilantro where it gets late morning and afternoon shade. Planting cilantro where it can be shaded by a taller plant, such as a tomato, is ideal. Keep the roots of cilantro shaded with mulch or low growing, pest repellant plants such as alyssum