jsturm
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Cilantro bolting in May?

This year is my first time growing cilantro. I have planted herbs and parsley before with good results.

I was astonished though to see that the cilantro I transplanted last month has flowered (the ones I grew from seed are still small and growing nicely). They are tall, at least 30", but narrow and never produced a lot of leaves.

Not sure if I did something wrong or it's just the variety I bought. I'm in zone 6b, about a month from the last hard frost and most of my plants are still small.

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sweetiepie
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Some Cilantro are designed more to provide seeds so you have great quantities of Coriander.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

My cilantro that I started from seed is starting to flower now (it is after all, nearly June). When they start to flower, they shoot up tall and narrow, when before they were shorter and leafier. Lettuce and other plants do the same thing when they bolt.

I'm one of those people for whom eating cilantro tastes like having your mouth washed out with soap, so I only grow it for the seeds (and because lots of beneficial insects like the tiny florets). So I'm not sorry to see it flower. But if you want the leaves, it helps to water well, mulch well, and plant crowded. The warmth of the soil is what triggers bolting, not the warmth of the air. So if you can keep the soil cool and moist, your cilantro will last longer. Planting crowded is because then the plants shade the soil to help keep it cooler.
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Francis Barnswallow
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

My cilantro has been bolting for weeks.

CharlieBear
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Did you have a heat spike? Cilantro is really a cool weather plant and in my experience is much more temperamental than parsley. It seems to resent weather spikes and requires more water than most herbs. You may not have done anything wrong. The only thing you could try in the future is to start it earlier and plant is out earlier and see if that solves the problem or plant it in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. People who seem to have the best luck with it plant it is large pots they can move in the shade during the heat of the day.

jsturm
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm in Michigan, temperatures here have been in the 70's in the daytime. The plants are partly shaded with about six hours of sun a day. Just surprised that I only got about a month out of the plants, having transplanted them in late April.

However, I have room to plant something else now and I can harvest the seed so all is not lost.

I have two cilantro plants in pots (started from seed in March) doing well. My plan was to transplant them to the garden when they outgrow their pots but I think I'm going to put them in a bigger pot instead and see if I can get more time.

My parsley on the other hand is doing great, like last year when I was harvesting well into October. The more I learn about gardening the more I realize I don't know.

imafan26
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Cilantro does better in the cooler months of the year. In summer they bolt fast. There are slow bolting cilantro like Leisure and slo-bolt, but I tried those too and they may last a little longer but they will still bolt after about a month and a half. During the cooler months it is possible to keep cilantro producing by picking off the leaves regularly. Then it is possible to keep them in production for almost 6 months.

It is one of the reasons I also grow culantro or ngo gai. It has a cilantro flavor but lasts longer. It also does not like the heat and has to be grown in shade and moist conditions. Pureed into a paste it is an ingredient in the Mexican sauce called recaito and in Vietnamese Pho it is one of the herbs on the plate that is served with the noodles. The leaves aren't really eaten, they are pretty tough but if it is steeped in the hot broth it gives off the cilantro flavor and aroma.
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pepperhead212
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

I have been trying to grow cilantro for many years, and have always had the problem with early bolting. I don't know what I did different, but this year I have some growing fairly well, and I just heard that we had the second hottest May on record! Go figure! There are more leaves than I have ever gotten on them, but I'm hot holding out hopes for it lasting.
Image

I have tried many brands of slo-bolt cilantro, and one frilly type, and still no luck. However, I have had luck growing it indoors, and it seemed that the longer I kept the lights on, the longer it would hold off bolting. I don't recall the exact length of times, but I got a lot of cilantro off of each plant, like I cut parsley, when the light was on for 16 hrs., but at 14 hrs. there was less harvest and sooner bolting, and at 12 hrs. much less, and much sooner bolting.

Something that has never made sense about cilantro to me is that it is supposedly a cool weather crop, and it is the heat that supposedly makes it bolt. Yet, if you look around the world at the areas were the cuisines use it the most, they are in HOT areas! Southern India, SE Asia, Mexico and many warm areas of Latin America - they don't grow other cold weather crops that much, like brassicas. They are the areas that use hot peppers - a hot weather crop, that goes hand in hand with cilantro. So where's the logic in this, and what is really causing this bolting?

Right now I am trying to grow some different seeds (bought as spice) as cilantro, figuring what can it hurt, and maybe the seed from those countries would survive heat better. If it's only good for the seeds, I'll have more for those dishes! I'll start another thread on that, and post some photos of those seeds.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Coriander grows anywhere from Southern Europe to North Africa and Southwestern Asia. So it is more of a subtropical and Mediterranean plant. Sometimes if you find the right micro climate it just keeps coming back like a weed. Other times your hair will turn gray before it grows for you.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

I use a lot of Cilantro in my cooking, & the only way I've been able to keep a relatively constant supply of nice fresh leaves here in Virginia has been to do a lot of successive sowings. Whether in-ground or in large containers, I try to have three plantings going in 2-3 week successive plantings until frost.
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imafan26
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

To keep them going longer you need to make sure they stay relatively moist and you keep picking them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

jsturm
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

I've repotted my remaining cilantro instead of transplanting, in hopes of getting through June. I'll bring it inside on hot days.
image.jpg
Will sow more seeds once I have room, or I guess I can start some more in containers now. First I have to buy seed or wait until I can harvest seeds from my first plants.

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ElizabethB
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Jsturm - Next year try planting your cilantro in the shade of a tree - if available. In past years - before my live oak had to be removed - I panted cilantro in deep shade and watered frequently to keep the soil cool and moist. It would last until mid to late June. In south Louisiana Cilantro s usually planted in March from starts. In the deep south it is a good cool weather crop - fall planting = harvest through most of the winter months.

Good luck
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DonV
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Mine is bolting in Ohio. Early - it drives me NUTS. LOVE fresh salsa, but tomatoes are ripe a month after cilantro bolts. GRRRGGRGRGGR

This year I planted in buckets and will move inside during hot days. Seems like it will work. Would have worked better if I actually did this when it was getting over 80. It was early so I did not think it would bolts so young. It did. Thank goodness for successive planting. More coming.

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GardeningCook
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Yup - succession planting is the name of the game with Cilantro (many lettuces too). I've been able to enjoy Cilantro Spring thru Fall here in Virginia by sowing small plots/pots of Cilantro every two/three weeks or so.
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lexusnexus
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

This has been one of the great mysteries in life to me. Southeast Asian cooking uses cilantro extensively. Well, my recollection of Southeast Asia, and I have to admit that it's been 20 years since I was there, is that it's very hot and humid. Just how do they manage to have it available for cooking? Grow it up in the higher elevations? Anyone have any idea how they do it?
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GardeningCook
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Re: Cilantro bolting in May?

Well, for starters there are different varieties of Cilantro, so perhaps the type(s) grown in tropical areas are more acclimated. In fact, there's a variety offered here from many seed companies called "Slo-Bolt" that supposedly doesn't bolt as quickly in hot weather, although I've yet to grow it myself.

And the fact that Asian cuisine uses Cilantro so very frequently, it may simply be a crop that's always succession-sown as a matter of course in tropical areas.
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