How to Harvest Cilantro Without Killing the Plant?

Are you a fan of fresh, aromatic herbs straight from the garden? If so, you’re likely familiar with the rich, distinctive flavor of cilantro! This delightful herb adds a fresh burst of flavor to a variety of dishes, from spicy salsas to savory curries. But how do you keep your cilantro plant healthy and productive while enjoying its fresh leaves? Let’s dive into the simple process of harvesting cilantro without hurting the plant.

Cilantro Plant

Before we step into the garden with our harvesting tools, let’s learn a little more about cilantro. Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb. This means it completes its life cycle from seed to flower to seed again all within one growing season.

The plant typically grows to about 18-24 inches tall and features delicate, feathery leaves. The part we commonly use in cooking is the leaf, and it’s best when harvested young and tender. As the plant matures, it develops a tall stalk, blooms with tiny white flowers, and eventually produces coriander seeds.

When to Harvest Cilantro

Now that we’ve got to know cilantro a bit better, let’s learn when to harvest it. Generally, cilantro grows very quickly, and you can begin to harvest leaves within 3-4 weeks after planting.

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A good rule of thumb is to wait until the plant is about 6 inches tall. At this point, the plant should have enough foliage to allow for harvesting without stressing the plant. Look for leaves that are bright green and appear mature. These are your prime targets for a fresh, flavorful harvest!

Remember, regular harvesting encourages the growth of new leaves and delays the flowering stage, known as bolting, which makes the leaves less tasty. So, the more often you harvest, the more flavorful cilantro you’ll have for your culinary creations.

Tools Needed for Harvesting Cilantro

When it comes to harvesting cilantro, you don’t need an arsenal of gardening tools. In fact, you only need one – a pair of sharp, clean scissors or garden shears. Why? Well, pulling the leaves by hand can sometimes damage the plant, whereas a clean cut is far less stressful for it. Before you start, make sure your chosen tool is clean to avoid introducing any disease to the plant.

Step-by-Step Guide on Harvesting Cilantro

Here is your simple, step-by-step guide to harvesting cilantro:

  1. Identify the leaves you want to harvest: Look for mature, bright green leaves.
  2. Make your cut: Using your scissors or garden shears, snip the stem of the leaf about one-third of the way down from the top.
  3. Repeat: Continue this process, working from the outer parts of the plant inward.
  4. Store properly: Once you’ve harvested your cilantro, rinse the leaves in cool water, pat them dry, and store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
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And voila! You’ve successfully harvested cilantro without hurting the plant.

Tips to Promote Continuous Growth

After you’ve harvested your cilantro, there are a few things you can do to promote regrowth and enjoy a continuous supply:

  1. Regular watering: Cilantro prefers moist, well-drained soil. Keep the soil consistently moist, but be careful not to overwater.
  2. Good lighting: Ensure your cilantro plant gets plenty of sunlight – at least 4-5 hours a day.
  3. Regular feeding: Feed your cilantro plant with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to support healthy growth.
  4. Succession planting: Because cilantro bolts quickly, especially in hot weather, consider planting new seeds every 2-3 weeks for a constant supply of fresh leaves.

Remember, a little care goes a long way in keeping your cilantro plant happy and productive. Happy harvesting!

Frequently Asked Questions

My cilantro plant is flowering. Can I still harvest the leaves?

Yes, you can still harvest the leaves, but be aware that once the plant starts flowering, the leaves often become more bitter and less flavorful.

What should I do with the seeds?

The seeds of the cilantro plant are actually coriander! You can harvest and dry them for use in cooking, or you can save some to plant for your next round of cilantro.

Can I grow cilantro indoors?

Absolutely! Cilantro can grow indoors as long as it has plenty of sunlight and is cared for properly.


There you have it – the simple, easy way to harvest cilantro without killing the plant! With this guide, you can now enjoy a continuous supply of fresh, aromatic cilantro right from your garden. Remember, the key is to be gentle with your plant, harvest regularly, and provide the proper care for continuous growth. Whether you’re spicing up a homemade salsa, garnishing a hearty soup, or adding a fresh twist to a salad, your homegrown cilantro is ready to add a burst of flavor to your culinary creations. Happy gardening and bon appétit!

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