Foodies and gardeners alike often find coriander to be among the most polarising plants in the patch, eliciting equally passionate responses of both love and hatred. While there is nothing that we can offer to change your taste, gardening haters may need to accept some responsibility for their difficulties with the plant.

Coriander can sometimes feel like a tumultuous relationship that you keep going back to. But have you ever considered that maybe coriander is not the difficult partner we make it out to be? Rather, it always seems to be dating absolute duds. That’s right, we need to stop trying to change coriander, and rather try to understand it better. Appreciate it for what it has to offer. After all, it has so much – leaves, stems, roots and seeds are all edible, making it a true object of desire.

The most important thing to learn about coriander is when to plant it. Despite some marketing attempts to promote ‘slow bolting’ varieties, the fact is that when you plant it in summer and the warmer parts of spring, all varieties will want to bolt to seed. Planting in the cool of autumn or early winter is a better fit for this herb. During the warmer months, we have great success growing coriander in a bright but shaded courtyard, where it gets lots of indirect light but little heat.


Sow seeds directly to the patch if conditions are mild, otherwise propagate in a seed tray and then transplant to the patch. Make sure to keep watering up to both seeds and seedlings as coriander is a thirsty plant and moisture stress will prematurely send it to seed.


In ground: Water daily for the first 4 weeks and 3-4 times a week in the absence of rainfall thereafter. More frequent watering may be required during the warmer times of the year.

In Pots: Water daily while establishing and for the entirety of the warm season, otherwise every second day – after they are 4 weeks old – if growing during the cooler times of the year.


Prepare the patch with compost and slow-release organic fertiliser and plant seeds directly into the patch.

After a month thin out the seedlings if they’re overcrowded. However, they won’t mind being grown in close quarters. Coriander will appreciate a monthly feed of a liquid seaweed solution and regular watering.

After a couple of months begin harvesting in moderation, ensuring that the plants have consistent moisture to reduce stress. Mulch to a depth of 3cm (1¼ in) using pea straw, lucerne hay or sugar cane mulch.

The length of the harvest will depend on the availability of moisture and nutrition, and the temperature. Plants tend to bolt in warmer conditions. Even when the foliage gives way to flowers and seed heads, don’t waste any part of this multifaceted edible plant.


It planting from seed, it will be approximately 8 weeks before you can begin harvesting in moderation; 4 weeks if you’ve bypassed the infancy stage with a seedling.

Early harvesting will affect the plant’s ability to photosynthesise, so only take a leaf or two…enough to season your oyster shooters and little else. As the plant settles, you’re able to dig deeper into the plant and harvesting will help maintain its productivity. Pick larger, more mature stems down to the base of the plant.

Seasonal changes – heat/cold and lack of water – will stress the coriander and shoot off seed heads. Trim them back to help prolong foliage production.


Coriander always grows best in the cool season and will get stressed from lack of water or from the hot afternoon sun. But don’t despair if your plants bolt to seed; all parts of the plant are edible, and coriander seed is an essential part of your spice rack.


Cool/Mountainous: March - May + September - December
Temperate: March - June + September - November
Subtropical: April - November
Tropical: April - August




Full sun preferable, but part shade manageable


1 cm


20–25 cm




Work a fertile, friable soil, mixed through with compost and organic matter. Herbs are hardy perennials that will survive in most soil types


Pots, wall, in-ground




Not required


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