The tiny pungent leaves of this herb make a pretty clump of fresh green in either a sunny or partially shaded position in the garden. A hardy annual relative of parsley plants are either grown for their leaves or their ribbed brown seeds – you should choose a cultivar suitable for your requirements.


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Seeds can be started in well-prepared soil outdoors or sown in pots filled with multi-purpose compost in early summer. Sow seeds thinly and cover lightly. Germination will usually take between 7-20 days. Sow every three or four weeks for a constant supply of leaves.

If growing for seed production, thin out to leave a 10cm (4in) gap among plants and make sure they are given a sunny site.

Leaves for early winter use can be obtained by sowing seeds in the autumn, then protecting seedlings with cloches or low polythene tunnels.


Keep soil and compost damp, but avoid overwatering. Dry soil or compost can cause plants to bolt or flower prematurely.

Plants do not normally need feeding, but the occasional liquid feed of a balanced fertiliser can be used as a pick-me-up.

Weed regularly around plants grown for seed production and to prevent a check to growth.

Common problems

Slugs and snails
Slugs and snails

These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.


There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape and biocontrols.

More info on Slugs and snails


Plants flower and set seed prematurely.


Unless growing for seed sow bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist.

More info on Bolting


Pick leaves when young and use either fresh or frozen.

Plants grown for seeds should be allowed to send up long stalks carrying airy sprays of dainty white blooms, followed by peppercorn-size seeds.

Pick when ripe, just before they start to fall to the ground. Cut entire stems and allow to dry on paper.

When fully dry, store in airtight containers. Seeds can be used whole or ground to a coarse powder with a pestle and mortar.


Coriandrum sativum:Can be grown for its leaves or seeds.

‘Leafy Leisure’:A vigorous cultivar producing masses of leaves. Slow to bolt.

‘Lemon’:Grown for its citrus-flavoured leaves.

Buy coriander

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