How Much Space Does Cilantro Need to Grow? Essential Garden Tips

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Cilantro is a popular herb widely used in various cuisines to enhance the flavor of dishes. Many gardeners are interested in growing cilantro at home, both for its culinary and aesthetic appeal. To successfully cultivate cilantro, it’s essential to understand the optimal growing conditions, including the amount of space needed for healthy growth.

When planting cilantro, it’s crucial to provide appropriate spacing, as this allows the plants to grow without competition for nutrients, water, and access to sunlight. According to Home Guides, the number of seeds you plant per square foot depends on the size of the plants you want. However, a general guideline is to plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart, as recommended by the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Ensuring adequate spacing between cilantro plants not only helps them grow to their full potential but also allows gardeners to enjoy a continuous harvest by sowing seeds at staggered intervals. As you plan your cilantro garden, taking these factors into consideration can help ensure a bountiful and aromatic yield.

Cilantro Basics

Plant Characteristics

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a versatile herb used in many culinary dishes. It is a cool-season herb that grows best in the spring and fall. The plant has two popular parts used in cooking: the leaves, known as cilantro, and the seeds, called coriander (USU Extension).

Some key characteristics of cilantro plants include:

  • Height: 18 to 24 inches tall
  • Leaf shape: Lacy, delicate, and green
  • Flowers: Small white or pale pink blossoms
  • Seeds: Small, round, and brownish-gray when mature

Growing Conditions

Cilantro thrives in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. The plants need little water once they are established (USU Extension). Ideal soil temperatures for germination range from 55 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and the plants can withstand temperatures down to freezing (Oregon State University Extension).

When planning your cilantro garden, consider the following conditions for optimal growth:

  1. Plant cilantro seeds directly into the garden or containers.
  2. Outdoor planting should occur after the last frost when the soil is workable.
  3. Space the seeds 6 to 8 inches apart for sufficient room to grow.
  4. Provide consistent moisture, but avoid overwatering.

By understanding cilantro’s plant characteristics and preferred growing conditions, you can ensure a successful harvest in your garden or containers.

Spacing Requirements

Seed Spacing

When sowing cilantro seeds, it’s essential to provide adequate space for them to germinate and grow. Sow the seeds half an inch deep and 2 inches apart in your chosen planting area. This spacing allows the seeds to have enough room to develop without overcrowding, resulting in healthier plants (GrowVeg).

Plant Spacing

As cilantro plants grow, their spacing requirements will change. It’s essential to gradually thin the seedlings to ensure proper spacing and allow the plants to reach their full potential. For cilantro, there are a couple of options in plant spacing, depending on the desired plant size.

In square foot gardening, cilantro can be grown densely or spaced out for larger plants. Consider the following options based on your garden layout and plant size preferences:

  • Dense planting: Plant up to 16 seeds per square foot for a densely packed cilantro garden. This option allows you to grow many plants in a small space but may result in smaller plants due to competition for resources (Home Guides).
  • Spaced planting: Plant one seed per square foot for larger, more robust cilantro plants. This spacing gives each plant ample room to grow and develop, resulting in a more substantial harvest. However, the trade-off is that fewer plants can be grown in the same amount of space (Home Guides).

Remember that cilantro grows best in well-drained, moist soil and thrives in full sun or light shade in warmer climates. By adhering to the proper seed and plant spacing guidelines, you can help ensure a healthy, bountiful harvest of cilantro from your garden (Burpee).

Optimizing Cilantro Growth

Growing cilantro requires attention to some important factors, such as spacing and planting techniques, to ensure the plant thrives.

Container Gardening

When planting cilantro in pots or containers, it’s essential to provide the proper space for optimal growth. Cilantro seeds should be sown 1 to 2 inches apart in loose, fast-draining soil with an acidic pH, according to The Spruce. Once the seedlings develop, cilantro plants should be spaced 6 to 8 inches apart, as suggested by Kellogg Garden. Make sure to choose a container size that allows for the appropriate spacing and provides good drainage to avoid waterlogging.

Succession Planting

Succession planting is an excellent technique for maintaining a steady supply of cilantro throughout the growing season. To achieve this, follow these steps:

  • Plant cilantro seeds 1/4-inch deep and space seedlings 6 to 8 inches apart, as recommended by Good Housekeeping.
  • Sow a new batch of cilantro seeds every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.
  • Once the cilantro plants start to produce flowers (bolt), harvest the entire plant as the leaves will lose their flavor.
  • Plant the next batch in a slightly different location, as cilantro prefers a change in soil and growing conditions.

By adequately spacing cilantro plants and utilizing succession planting, you can enjoy fresh cilantro throughout the growing season.

Section 5: Common Mistakes to Avoid


One common mistake while growing cilantro is overcrowding the plants. It is essential to give them enough space to grow and thrive. A space of at least 12 inches by 12 inches is needed for each cilantro plant. Planting four or nine seeds per square foot will produce medium-sized plants, but if you plant only one seed per square foot, you may end up with a large plant that grows tall and spreads out (source). So, when planting cilantro, follow these guidelines:

  • Space individual plants 12 inches apart.
  • Plant multiple seeds in a square foot, but avoid overcrowding.

Improper Watering

Another mistake to avoid when growing cilantro is improper watering. Cilantro plants require consistent moisture but should never be soaked or overwatered, as this can lead to root rot. Instead, the key is to maintain a balanced moisture level in the soil. Follow these tips for proper watering:

  • Water your cilantro regularly, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist but not soggy.
  • Keep an eye on the soil and, if it begins to dry out, water accordingly.
  • Use a well-draining soil mix and make sure your pot has drainage holes to avoid excess water buildup.

Remember, cilantro plants are sensitive to their environment, and these mistakes can impact their growth. Always pay close attention to the plants’ spacing and their watering needs to ensure a healthy, thriving crop.


Cilantro is a versatile herb that can be grown in a variety of settings. In terms of space, it’s essential to consider the plant’s growth patterns and ensure that there’s adequate room for successful growth.

Proper spacing between cilantro plants is crucial in achieving an optimal harvest. Generally, cilantro seeds should be sowed around one to two inches apart from each other. This allows for sufficient airflow and minimizes the risk of diseases and pest infestations.

Moreover, when growing cilantro in a square foot garden, it’s important to follow the appropriate plant spacing guidelines to ensure the plants receive enough nutrients and sunlight to thrive. Soil conditions also impact cilantro’s success; fertile, well-drained soils are the most ideal for cilantro growth.

To recap, keep the following tips in mind when determining space requirements for cilantro:

  • Space seeds one to two inches apart
  • Maintain proper plant spacing in square foot gardens
  • Ensure fertile, well-drained soil for optimal growth

Taking these factors into account will contribute to a healthy and abundant cilantro harvest that you can enjoy in your favorite dishes.