Growing Hydroponic Cilantro

Introduction:

Cilantro is a ‘love it or hate it’ plant.  Those who hate it may find the taste of cilantro to be 'soapy.'  This perception is due to aldehydes that exist in cilantro, which are also a byproduct of soap making.  But the strong taste of soap from eating cilantro is uncommon, and generally perceived by those with a genetic predisposition. On the other hand, those who love cilantro it often want to add the herb to every meal. This decision might be a good one for health as well as taste, with cilantro being high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and to a lesser extent, Vitamin C. Luckily, access to fresh cilantro all year long is made easy with an indoor, hydroponic garden. Before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Germination:

First, cilantro is a difficult seed to germinate. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, but it does require a bit of extra work. Our Seedling Starter Kit is a great option to make the process as easy as possible. Many growers in our community have also suggested using the ‘paper towel’ method to kick start the germination process. Regardless of the strategy you choose, consider gently ‘cracking’ the husk that holds the two cilantro seeds together and then soaking them in water for between 24 to 48 hours.

Germination takes a bit of time with cilantro, with the plants beginning to emerge after seven to 10 days in most cases. 

Light:

Cilantro requires steady and even light for 12 to 14 hours per day in order to thrive. This isn’t a factor you want to leave to chance – invest in quality LED growing lights to give your indoor garden the best chance for success.

EC Range:

EC is a measure of the amount of nutrients in your system.  Your cilantro plant will prefer an EC range of 1.3 to 1.8. 

pH Range:

right pH level ensures that plants absorb the nutrients they need in the optimal timeframe. Cilantro seems to enjoy a slightly higher than normal pH range of 5.5-6.7 for optimal growth.

Nutrients:

Make sure to mix you nutrients carefully in the reservoir before measuring the EC, either by stirring your reservoir, or allowing your pump to run for 15 minutes after adding nutrients.  Because you are not seeking flowers to grow with your cilantro, a general 10-5-14 nutrient solution will work very well.

Pruning:

As you do decide to take some leaves off, make sure you take from the outside of the plant only. Leaving the inner leaves alone will encourage the plant to keep growing.  If your cilantro begins to flower, try removing the flowers early to preserve your cilantro’s taste.

Harvesting:

Cilantro plants are fairly easy to harvest. Use clean, sharp scissors or shears to cut about one-third of the way down the plant. You will use the top one third for cooking while the bottom two thirds will continue to produce new leaves. Once the plant is growing well, harvest it about once per week and freeze or dry any leaves you can’t use right away.

Time To Harvest:

Conclusion:

An indoor garden is a great way to make sure you always have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It doesn’t have to be difficult, either, especially with tools like the iHarvest® at your disposal. Make growing easy and fun with our growing system and join our Indoor Garden Works community of avid and informed growers on Facebook

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