Can you grow cilantro from fresh cilantro?

From Grocery Store to Garden: Can You Grow Cilantro from Fresh Cilantro?

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a ubiquitous herb prized for its vibrant flavor and aromatic fragrance. A staple ingredient in countless cuisines, from zesty salsas to fragrant curries, cilantro adds a touch of freshness and complexity to a variety of dishes. With its increasing popularity, many home cooks wonder: Can you grow cilantro from fresh cilantro purchased at the grocery store? The answer, while seemingly straightforward, involves a deeper understanding of seed viability and the lifecycle of this fast-growing herb.

Exploring Seed Viability: Understanding the Lifecycle of Cilantro

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb, completing its entire lifecycle – from seed to flower and seed production – within a single growing season. For successful germination and subsequent growth, viable seeds are essential. However, store-bought cilantro presents a unique challenge. Often, the bunches we purchase are harvested after the flowering stage, with the seeds potentially past their prime for germination. Additionally, commercial processing techniques, including washing and storage conditions, can further affect seed viability.

Cultivating Cilantro from Fresh Cilantro Seeds: A Step-by-Step Guide (if viable)

While the success rate of growing cilantro from store-bought seeds might be lower, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. For the adventurous home gardener, here’s a step-by-step guide to attempt this process:

Selecting Suitable Cilantro Plants:* Look for cilantro bunches with seed heads that appear plump and green, indicating relative maturity. Avoid bunches with dried, brown seed heads, suggesting older seeds with potentially lower viability.

Extracting and Preparing the Seeds:* Carefully detach the seed heads from the cilantro stems. Break apart the seed heads and gently rub the seeds to separate them from the chaff. Winnowing, or gently blowing on the seeds, can help remove any remaining plant material.

Sowing and Germinating Cilantro Seeds:* Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix. Lightly moisten the soil and scatter the cilantro seeds on the surface. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite or another light growing medium. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy, and place the pot in a warm location with bright, indirect sunlight. Germination can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days.

Caring for Your Seedlings: Light, Water, and Nutrients:* Once seedlings emerge, provide them with plenty of light, ideally 6-8 hours daily. Water regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry slightly between waterings. Thin out any crowded seedlings, leaving the strongest plants spaced a few inches apart. You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a week to promote healthy growth.

It’s important to note that even with careful attention, the germination rate of store-bought cilantro seeds might be lower compared to fresh seeds specifically intended for planting. Be patient, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a high germination success rate.can be an interesting experiment, for a more reliable and successful cilantro harvest, alternative methods are recommended. The most effective approach is to:

  • Purchase seeds specifically for planting: These seeds are sourced and packaged with optimal germination in mind. Look for reputable seed companies that offer fresh, high-quality cilantro seeds. These seeds are often untreated and have a higher success rate compared to seeds from store-bought cilantro bunches.

  • Advantages of Using Fresh Cilantro Seeds: Fresh seeds boast a higher germination rate, leading to a more robust crop of cilantro plants. They also offer greater variety. Several cilantro seed varieties cater to specific preferences, with options for slow-bolting varieties that extend the harvest window or those with stronger, more pungent flavors.

Sourcing High-Quality Seeds from Reputable Retailers:* Numerous online retailers and garden centers offer a wide variety of cilantro seeds. Look for companies that prioritize seed quality and freshness. Reading reviews and checking the company’s reputation can provide valuable insights.


While the possibility of growing cilantro from store-bought seeds exists, the success rate can be unpredictable due to factors like seed maturity and processing techniques. For a more reliable and rewarding experience, consider purchasing high-quality seeds specifically designed for planting. These seeds offer a higher germination rate, a wider variety of options, and ultimately, a flourishing crop of fresh cilantro for your culinary creations.

The satisfaction of harvesting and using homegrown herbs is unparalleled. Cilantro, with its rapid growth cycle, is a perfect choice for beginner gardeners. So, the next time you reach for a bunch of cilantro at the grocery store, remember – the potential for a thriving herb garden might just be nestled within those fragrant leaves. Embrace the adventure, explore the options, and enjoy the delicious rewards of cultivating your own fresh cilantro!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *