Coriander plant care: watering, pruning & more


I studied horticultural sciences at university and in my free time you can find me in my own patch of land, growing anything with roots. I am particularly passionate about self-sufficiency and seasonal food.

Favourite fruit: quince, cornelian cherry and blueberries
Favourite vegetables: peas, tomatoes and garlic

Coriander rewards good care with an abundance of aromatic leaves and seeds. Read on to find out how to keep your coriander thriving.

potted coriander
Coriander needs ample moisture, especially as a young plant [Photo: Olga Miltsova/]

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is a low-maintenance kitchen herb with peppery, aromatic leaves, and rich seeds. Here is everything you need to know about fertilising and caring for coriander.

How to look after coriander: watering and fertilising

Coriander is relatively undemanding, but it does require a balanced supply of water. It is especially important to water young coriander plants regularly. When they are too dry, coriander plants bolt and form premature, stress-induced flowers.

This process considerably shortens the harvesting period of coriander, as does waterlogging. To avoid waterlogging, ensure that you do not overwater your plant, and, if you are growing potted coriander, make sure your container drains water well.

Tip: Place a layer of mulch around your coriander. Lawn clippings or leaves will prevent weed growth and reduce evaporation. Plant material also feeds microorganisms in the soil, but can bind to nitrogen, so you may need to fertilise your coriander twice if it is nested in mulch.

If you are cultivating your coriander outdoors, you should not need to fertilise it once it is in the ground. Garden soil usually contains enough nutrients for the plant, and if you add a little compost to the earth as you plant or sow the herb, you should be good to go!

Note: Once fully grown, coriander does not need watering – the herb demands much less water at the end of the summer.

coriander in the coriander
Coriander benefits from a protective mulch layer, especially outdoors [Photo: BT PORNCHAI/]

How to cut coriander

Coriander leaves can be harvested year round, but the best time to cut them is in June, before the plant flowers. To cut coriander, slice through the stems of individual leaves. This will ensure the plant remains intact and new leaves continue to form.

Once coriander starts to flower, the plant will put energy towards seed formation and not leaf formation. As such, if you harvest young flower stems early, the plant will continue to produce leaves for longer. Alternatively, look out for late-flowering coriander varieties such as ‘Confetti’ or ‘Marino’.

Of course, coriander seeds are also a spice, so have no fear if the plant begins to flower! To harvest coriander seeds, allow them to ripen. You will know when coriander seeds are ripe, because they turn brown. This tends to happen at the end of August and in September.

Once ripe, remove the coriander cones and their seeds. Do this in the early morning when the seeds are still dewy so they do not fall off. Let these cones dry out indoors for a few weeks, and they will be ready to use in the kitchen!

brown coriander seeds
For harvesting coriander seeds, whole coriander cones should be cut in the early morning and dried afterwards [Photo: Dineshahir/]

How to care for coriander in a pot

Caring for potted coriander is not the same as caring for bedded coriander. If you have bought a pot of coriander from the supermarket, be sure to repot it using nutrient-rich potting soil and a large container with good water drainage. Supermarket pots are usually too small for the plant, and it is probably already fully rooted.

After replanting your potted coriander, you will need to care for it. Potted plants sitting on patios or balconies tend to dry out much faster than plants in beds, so water your potted coriander well on hot summer days. In addition, nutrient deficiency can cause coriander leaves to yellow.

Coriander continues to absorb nutrients from the soil until its seeds ripen in autumn. As such, you will need to fertilise your coriander regularly in summer. Our Plantura Liquid Flower Food is ideal for fertilising coriander, and, because it is applied with water, permeates the roots of the herb directly.

Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for all flowers & balcony plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for a lush blossom throughout the season
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Tip: If acute symptoms of nutrient deficiency occur in bedded coriander, apply a liquid fertiliser for quick relief.

Wintering: is coriander frost-hardy?

Coriander is neither hardy, nor perennial, so you can expect it to die in autumn, once its seeds have ripened. However, the unrelated Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) has a very similar aroma to true coriander and is perennial. Part of the knotweed family (Polygonaceae), Vietnamese coriander will survive the colder months if you overwinter it indoors in a bright and warm (15 to 20°C) location.

vietnamese coriander
Vietnamese coriander is a perennial but not as hardy as traditional coriander [Photo: minibum/]

Coriander is an integral part of Asian cuisine, so why not try growing some Asian vegetables to go with it? Here are eight different Asian vegetables species to grow at home!