Growing coriander

Liz Taylor Image
08/22/2009 - 05:22

Has anyone grown coriander successfully, and if so have you any tips? I miss it in cooking and have never seen it for sale in supermarkets or vegetable markets so I guess it isn't used by Italians. Any herby advice would be most welcome, I am moving house soon and want to start a herb garden.



It is a permanent herb in my orto (see previous my gardening posts).  I get the seeds delivered every year from Thomson and Morgan to me in Sarteano, not very from from you.  They also have a great range of chinese and other exotic vegetables that grow well in Tuscany. Coriander needs a lot of water and goes to seed very quickly.  I sow them in succession and harvest them very young.  You can get the young plants in the better garden centres in Italy: they grow them for their seeds and not for the foliage!  Ask  for coriandolo: or you can wander around the herb section: you will be surprised what you will find.  I found a horse-radish (rafano) plant once, and you will also find all the usual suspects, chives (cipolina), tarragon (dragoncelo), dill (aneto), many varieties of mints (menta), red and green basil (basilico), all the varieties of thyme (timo),  flat parsley (prezzemolo) they do not stock the more intense curly leaved parsley, common fennel (finnochio) (not the florence fennel) for their seeds, marjoram (maggiorana), oregano,  borrage (borragine), bay (alloro), sage (salvia), camonile (camomilla). I know Vivaio Biaggi in Montepulciano stocks these plants.  This garden centre is sourcing a rhubarb (rabarbaro) plant for me for autumn planting. Coriander does not grow as well in Tuscany as in the tropics as they like a very humid environment.  When I grow them in pots I mix a good lot of water retaining crystals in the compost.  The result is still not as great as the 50p bunch from the Brixton Market but it enhances my meat and fish curries,  fajitas, fresh tomato salsa, certain chinese noodle and fish soups and tropical sugo di pomadoro.  Great herb and sorry for going off thread in the middle! 

Coriander is one of my favourites, so I thought must grow some in our Orto. A friend bought some seeds over from the UK and off I went......they took to it like the proverbial...shooting within a few days and growing well in normal soil not in Pots. They do need lots of water and I have found thrive better when not too exposed to Sun and wind. They don't get big and bushy, but that may be down to fertiliser, and do go to seed quite quikly, but you should be able to grow it from April to October. Good Luck.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

That's very encouraging news as my new house is near Coreglia Antelminelli, not so far from you, so I'm pleased to know you have had success. Will follow your advice.

I find it best to sow it in Aug / Sep in the uk as it doesnt seem to like being sown in June/ July. But that's because its been very cool and wet in Cornwall over the last 2 summers!It hates getting too hot and dry so keep it out of the hot sun and give it some good well rotted compost to root in and you'll have this lovely herb all year round (move onto window sill in winter)