Coriander - Coriandrum


Coriandrum or Coriandolo is native to the eastern Mediterranean area; grows in the middle of the Mediterranean scrub. It is an annual aromatic plant, with a slender and erect habit, of medium size; in fact, it can reach 70 cm in height and 20 cm in diameter. The leaves are bright green and particularly bright. The flowers, which appear between summer and autumn, are small, grouped in inflorescences and white in color.
It is a plant native to the Middle East which then spread to the Mediterranean area. It belongs to the Apiacee family.


The plant prefers sunny positions. The dry and dry climate favors the appearance of seeds. However, it is a completely rustic species, which therefore resists even at rather harsh temperatures. The ideal exposure of the coriandrum is the one that allows to receive the direct sun for most of the day, but in a place rather sheltered from the force of the wind, element that can disturb the growth of the coriander.
The ideal position must be very bright and warm. Especially in the northern regions, exposure to the South is strongly recommended to ensure fast development and completion of the production cycle (especially if we want to harvest the seeds).


Family, genus, species

Apiaceae, Coriandrum sativum
Type of plant Annual or multi-annual herbal, aromatic
Growth First slow, then fast
Height Up to 1 meter
Maintenance simple
Exposure Full sun
Ground Not demanding, better calcareous and well drained
Composting Not necessary, it likes a lot of phosphorus
Irrigation Light, only when the soil is dry
Use Vegetable garden, aromatic corner, vase (h-l about 30 cm)
Rusticitа Quite rustic; protect in the early stages

History of Coriander

Coriander is an annual or multi-year herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean basin known since ancient times: there is evidence that its use for culinary and medicinal purposes in the Far East dates back more than 9000 years ago. Even today it is in these areas that this spice is most appreciated and is an indispensable element for the preparation of a large number of dishes (for example Indian curry and garam masala). It is also much loved in the New World, particularly in the central and southern states (indispensable for example in the guacamole), perhaps due to the strong immigration from Asia and Africa.
Coriander gives us essentially two different products: i dried seeds, used as a spice or confetti, and the leaves, used mostly fresh similarly to how it is for parsley.
The major producers and consumers of seeds are India, Morocco, Canada, Romania and Turkey.
As an aromatic it is mainly cultivated in Russia, Central Asia, China, India and Latin America, especially in the Caribbean areas.
Its name derives from the Greek "corys" and "onder" which means "similar to the bug," because the smell emanating from the leaves resembles that released by those insects. The confetti (small pieces of paper) take their name from the custom of distributing the planted seeds of this plant for Carnival.

Description and botanical classification

Coriander belongs to the great Apiaceae family which includes more than 450 genera and 3500 species of plants, many of great interest for their aromatic and food qualities. Among the "relatives" of coriander we find, for example, carrot, parsley, anise, dill, cumin, cultivated fennel and wild fennel.
Coriandrum Sativum is a herbaceous plant characterized by a large amount of aromatic oils, present in every part, from the stem to the leaves, to the seeds. The simple rubbing allows an abundant release into the air. The development is initially very slow to accelerate with the arrival of medium-high temperatures. The leaves have flat, bi-tripennatosette, of a beautiful bright green, finely carved. The upright plant can reach 90 cm in height and is characterized by highly branched herbaceous stems.
Flowering occurs from mid-summer, but in a scalar manner. The single flowers, white, pink or, more rarely, brown, are grouped in large umbrellas. Later they evolve into small seeds (actually the fruits) round, first green, then light brown, surrounded by a thin skin. When dried they have a sweet and delicate aroma with a citrusy aftertaste.


The ideal soil for the cultivation of Coriandrum plants must be melted and with a good calcareous component as well as well drained, given that, the excessive presence of water and the formation of water stagnations, brings the plant to a fast deterioration, which can lead to the death of coriander specimens.
Coriander is a plant rustica which can be satisfied with rainwater, even if, during the summer season, when temperatures are high, it is good to intervene with regular watering every 3/4 days.
Coriander is a very adaptable aromatic and grows easily in almost all soils and at different pH values ​​(from 5 to 8) as long as they are well drained. In absolute favor, however, the medium-textured soils, calcareous and fairly rich in organic substance.
The manuring they are not strictly necessary: ​​the abundance of nitrogen which causes excessive growth of the stem and consequent fragility should be avoided. Coriander, on the other hand, appreciates a good supply of phosphorus which favors the concentration of aromatic oils in the leaves and seeds. A good solution is to add a little phosphorus pentoxide to the soil at the time of processing.


The propagation of plants of this genus to obtain new specimens usually occurs by sowing. Plants must be planted between late spring and early summer, the best month, usually, is April. To obtain good results from the sowing process it is advisable to prefer sandy soils, which allow the maintenance of a good degree of humidity, without however allowing the formation of water stagnation.

Cultivation techniques

Coriander cultivation is very simple: this plant germinates rather easily and does not require constant care. To obtain good results it is only necessary to buy perfectly preserved seeds, given that in unsuitable conditions germination decays very quickly.
The cultivation can be carried out both in full ground and in pots. In the latter case we will opt for a deep container at least 30 cm wide.
As already mentioned in the previous paragraphs, in the presence of a hot and dry climate, the Coriandrum plant is able to develop and grow easily.
It's important maintain a good degree of irrigation, therefore, it is advisable to water with a certain constancy and frequency, always, naturally, taking care to check that water does not form on the ground and waiting for the water to penetrate the soil before proceeding with a new watering. To obtain particularly succulent leaves it is necessary to alternate the exposure to the sun with the positioning in areas of penumbra.
During the spring period, to increase the growth of coriander plants, it is advisable to supply fertilizer containing nitrogen and potassium which must be mixed with water every 15 to 20 days.
Particularly aromatic leaves must be harvested during the autumn period.

Diseases and pests

This kind of plant has a rather rustic character that renders it immune from the attack of parasites, but it can still suffer from the presence of radical rot due to stagnant water and the presence of oidium, a disease caused by fungi which manifests itself with the formation of a whitish substance on the surface of the leaves.

Coriander seeding

Sowing can take place from the end of March to the end of April, depending on our climate. It is possible, if we live in the North or on high ground, to proceed indoors or in a heated greenhouse in order to be sure of ending the cultivation cycle.
It is sown directly at home, working the soil up to at least 40 cm deep. After having carefully chopped the clods and created grooves, we place a seed at a depth of 1 cm, every 3 cm, separating the rows of about 20. We keep wet, at an average temperature of 12-15 ° C. Germination occurs in about two weeks.

Composition of the vase

It is important to create a thick draining layer on the bottom with gravel or expanded clay. The soil on the market is generally too light and peaty for this type of crop. It is recommended to mix it in equal parts on the limestone garden floor.


Coriander loves high temperatures especially during the germination period and in the early stages of development. Later it is able to withstand even lasting frosts and it is not uncommon for it to come back year after year (although it is often preferred to completely replace the plants in order to have greater productivity).
Dry climates are by far the best, even if they induce a rapid appearance of the seeds.

Irrigation and Watering

As we said, coriander loves fairly dry soils. In open ground it is rarely necessary to resort to irrigation. We distribute water only in the event of prolonged drought and / or live in very hot areas.
In pot the water supply must be more assiduous, but it is important to avoid water stagnation, a sure cause of deterioration. We water only when the substratum is dry in depth and we absolutely avoid the use of saucers.

Approaches and partnerships

Coriander grows very well near carrots, crucifers, alliaceae and potatoes. Instead, avoid inserting it near the fennel.

Coriander harvest

We can begin to harvest the leaves approximately 60 days after sowing: they should be used as quickly as possible to keep their fragrance at maximum. They can also be dried, in a shaded and ventilated area, but they lose a good part of their characteristics; an excellent alternative is freezing.
Instead, the seeds should be harvested very calmly, waiting for the entire plant to be dry, with a dull brown color (between July and August). In this way the amount of water will be lower and will significantly improve its shelf life. Furthermore, the unpleasant aromas (notes similar to the "bug") will be almost completely gone to make room only for sweet and citrusy ones.
It is advisable to divide the seeds from the rest of the plant and place them in a shaded and airy area so that they dry even further: excessive humidity will certainly lead to fermentation and molding in the subsequent conservation phases. They can then be placed in airtight containers, cool and away from light.

Species and varieties of coriander

In cultivation there is only one species of coriander, but over the years different varieties and cultivars have been selected in which different aromatic nuances and final dimensions are peculiar. They can be distinguished in commercially widespread varieties (suitable for hobbies) and varieties developed for intensive cultivation.
Among the commercial ones we include
Kind species (also called "Chinese coriander")
It has a spicy taste, with strong anise notes. It grows up to 80 cm (therefore suitable for full field).
With a more delicate and citrusy aroma, it grows up to 65 cm (suitable for vase)
Very intense aroma, suitable for growing in pots, with foliage similar to that of dill.
The varieties developed for professional cultivation are often indicated with abbreviations. Those developed in Bulgaria are characterized by a great concentration of aromatic oil and are sought after by the food, pharmaceutical and perfume industry. The varieties originating in Russia are more rustic and are therefore grown in colder areas and with shorter summers.
In India, instead, cultivars have been created that are capable of producing large quantities of seeds with an excellent flavor.

Uses of coriander

The seeds are widely used in the food industry. In the East they are used to create spice mixes, but they are mostly ground at the moment to avoid losing much of their delicate aroma.
They are also used for pharmaceutical purposes: in baths and foot baths they have a stimulating and draining effect. In infusion they have qualities against intestinal and digestive problems. The essential oil has bactericidal and fungicidal properties.
The leaves are mainly used in Greece, the Middle and Far East as well as in Latin America.

Coriander - Coriandrum: Curiosity: the taste and smell of coriander leaves

According to recent studies, the aroma of coriander is preferred by specific ethnic groups (South Asia, Hispanics and Middle Eastern) which for genetic reasons do not feel certain nuances that are clearly perceived by many Europeans, Africans, Caucasians and East Asian inhabitants . In fact, the latter complain of a strong taste of soap or bug, especially in fresh leaves.
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March April
Germination About 15 days at 12-15 ° C
Flowering June-September (climb)
Leaves collection From June
Seed harvesting July-September (also scalar) / td>