Culantro is an herb native to Mexico, Central, and South America which has a strong, aromatic scent that fills the air if you brush up against it. This easy-to-grow herb has many culinary uses in Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisine. It is a very popular herb in Panama, Puerto Rico, and other Latin countries. Although used in small amounts, its very strong flavor is used as a seasoning in a wide range of foods including meats, vegetables, and chutneys. It goes by many names: long coriander, false coriander, culantro or recao (Spanish), langer koriander (German), ngo gai (Vietnamese), pak chi farang (Thai), and bhandhanya (Hindi). Like its close relative, cilantro, the plant tends to stretch tall and go to seed in the lengthening days of spring. While culantro and cilantro look different, the leaf aromas are similar, although culantro is stronger. Although it is grown as an annual, it is actually biennial in areas warm enough to let it overwinter.
Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available at your local stores, as we select and sell varieties best suited to the growing conditions in each region.
Only available in the following state, in limited quantity: southern FL
- Type Annual in most areas
- Planting time In spring, after the last frost
- Features Elongated leaves with strong flavor and fragrance very similar to those of cilantro
- Light Partial shade
- Soil Well drained; let soil surface dry slightly between waterings
- Spacing 8 to 12 inches
- Plant size 6 to 18 inches tall
- Garden use Great for containers
- Culinary use Latin American and Asian dishes; an key ingredient in recaito seasoning
Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.
Light requirements: Partial shade.
Planting: Space 8 to 12 inches apart.
Soil requirements: Plants thrive in rich, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8. Work organic matter into soil before planting to add fertility and improve moisture retention. In containers, use premium quality potting soil.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist. Apply mulch to keep soil cool and leaves clean. The combination of cool and moist soil postpones flowering and helps plants produce leafy growth longer.
Frost-fighting plan: Culantro is extremely cold-sensitive. Light frosts (28º F to 32º F) can damage plants. Do not set plants out before your area’s last frost date. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts.
Growing tip: Once plants flower, leaf flavor and texture becomes undesirable. To prolong your harvest, clip flower stems as soon as you see them.
Harvesting: Pick leaves frequently and early in the growing season, before plants flowers. Pinch or pull individual leaves when picking, and be sure to never harvest more than one-third of the plant.
Storage: Wrap leaves in a barely damp paper towel and tuck into a loosely closed plastic bag or container. Store in the refrigerator and use within 7 to 10 days.
For more information, visit the Culantro page in our How to Grow section.
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