Cilantro is a green herb that is common in Asian and Mexican cuisine. For this reason--and because it is a member of the parsley family--the herb is often referred to as "Chinese parsley" or "Mexican parsley." Cilantro grows well in the garden or indoors, and requires little care.
Cilantro is grown from coriander seeds. The seeds in your spice cabinet, however, have been treated and will not grow into cilantro plants. In order to grow cilantro, purchase coriander seeds from a nursery or garden center. Sow the seeds on the soil's surface, and lightly cover with a thin layer of soil. Sown coriander seeds sprout cilantro seedlings in a matter of days.
Cilantro grows best when it is in full sun. Plant in an area of your garden that gets at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. The herb prefers filtered light in the deep south, where the sun is particularly strong.
Cilantro plants prefer soil that is kept moist but not wet. This is best achieved by using compost and/or sand mixed with the garden soil. Soil conditions that are too wet cause cilantro's root system to rot. Cilantro suffers and wilts in dry soil.
Growing in Containers
Cilantro grows remarkably well in containers indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, the gardener controls the plant's growing environment by moving the plant to more suitable areas of the yard. Indoors, cilantro grows well in sunny windows or on counter tops with the use of overhead lighting mounted under kitchen cabinets.
Pests and Disease
Cilantro is rarely affected by pest infestation or disease. The plant gives off a pungent smell that naturally repels most chewing insects. The only disease that may affect the plant is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew can be prevented by watering the soil, rather than watering from above.