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Cilantro, another name for the leaves of the coriander plant, is a vibrant herb crucial to Asian and Latin cuisines. This ingredient imparts a peppery, slightly spicy flavor to dishes. Iconic cuisines like Vietnamese pho or Mexican street tacos receive a lift from the signature taste of cilantro.
AeroGarden & Cilantro: 5 Tips and Tricks
AeroGarden offers a hydroponic growing solution that fits on your countertop. Hydroponics is a water-intensive growing method that establishes an ideal cultivation climate for plants. Because of these efficient conditions, hydroponic plants grow five times faster.
Herbs are some of the most rewarding plants to grow, especially in the convenientAeroGarden growing system. There are a few items to carefully consider when growing cilantro in an AeroGarden to make sure you have a successful harvest.
1. Pods Are Easier Than Growing From Seeds
There are a vast array of different varieties of cilantro to choose from. Some of these different types include California Long-Standing, Terra, Leisure, Costa Rica, and Lemon. Cilantro can be grown effectively in many global settings, including in your tabletop AeroGarden.
Cilantro is rich in a variety ofvital nutrients. Just a quarter cup of raw cilantro can deliver 16 percent of the Vitamin K you need daily, promoting bone health. That same amount of cilantro provides 5 percent of Vitamin A and 2 percent of Vitamin C levels recommended daily.
This zesty herb also supplies your body with powerful antioxidants to promote healthy cell growth, slow down premature aging, and reduce your risk for certain diseases.
One metric that separates the different varieties of cilantro is “bolt-resistance,” or the ability to keep the plant from flowering in a heat spell. Bolt-resistance engineering prompts the plant to direct its energy toward growing and not reproducing another new plant.
The Long-Standing and Leisure varieties of cilantro are considered “bolt-resistant” strains of this herb. These kinds of cilantro can rapidly spread, even in an environment with a higher consistent temperature. However, they don’t flower and stop growing, so you get a lot of production from a single plant.
An AeroGarden offers different types of AeroGarden seed pods to help you choose the most effective plants for you. These pods are specifically designed to provide all the seeds and nutrients your plants need to grow for months at a time.
Each model of AeroGarden has a different number of seed pods, including three-pod, six-pod, and nine-pod models, so it is easy to grow multiple plants in one AeroGarden unit.
AeroGarden also offers a “grow anything” option, with seed pods customized to the plant you want. If you choose the “grow anything” pods, you need to purchase your cilantro seeds separately and place them in the seed pod.
But you don’t have to start with new seed pod kits; you can purchase a pre-packaged cilantro pod to eliminate any hassle from the process. This is usually much easier.
Which Cilantro Seeds Are Right For You?
If you want to grow cilantro plants in your AeroGarden, we recommend starting with an AeroGarden cilantro pod. AeroGarden plants are chosen because they work well in the hydroponic system, and cilantro is no different.
Did you know that cilantro actually belongs in the parsley family? Cilantro is one of the most popular herbs around the world, but there are different varieties. With that in mind, we understand there may be specific hydroponic cilantro that you are interested in cultivating.
If you don’t have specific cilantro in mind, start with ‘Long Standing’ or ‘Leisure’ cilantro, as these cilantro leaves are slow to grow bitter.
2. Learn How to Grow Your Cilantro
The first step is to germinate your cilantro seeds. Germination means you are encouraging the seed to sprout, which is the crucial first step for a healthy plant.
The easiest path to follow is to grab a pre-packaged pod and put it in your hydroponic garden, where it will be fed nutrition, given optimal amounts of light and watered around the clock.
On the other hand, if you want to start with fresh seed pod kits, you need to consider the proper germination of the seed well before worrying about what to do with all of your excess cilantro harvests.
Simply dampen the seed pod slightly and place it under the AeroGarden’s light to germinate seeds. Monitor the germination stage closely. This stage determines if the seeds will grow into a healthy plant.
Germination can be one of the trickier steps to growing cilantro, believe it or not. In some circumstances, the husk around the cilantro seed can be too hard for the seedling to penetrate. The germination stage can last four or five weeks, although it is usually much shorter at about seven to ten days.
Don’t give up on your seedlings! If they haven’t sprouted after a few weeks, consider soaking the next batch of seeds overnight to soften the outer husk.
Add Water & Nutrition As Needed
Your AeroGarden monitors your plants’ plant food and water needs and signals that indicate when attention is needed. Watch these lights as the plants start to establish themselves. Keep the growing dome over the plants until they start to touch it.
The AeroGarden Harvest is one of the smaller AeroGarden units, but it may be the perfect size for an indoor herb garden and, therefore, may be the perfect size to grow cilantro. This is great news if you plan to grow basil or other herbs alongside your cilantro.
If you plan to grow tomatoes in your AeroGarden or other tall plants such as peppers, you may consider one of the larger AeroGarden products that allow for versatility.
Some of the AeroGarden units have two separate light hoods so that you can keep the light lower above shorter plants like cilantro or even lettuce and raise the grow lights for tomatoes or peppers.
3. Tending to Cilantro – Keep It Growing!
After your cilantro has germinated, it can now establish its roots and grow healthy and strong. One of the most crucial aspects of AeroGarden growing is maintaining the plant’s consistent temperature. Monitoring the lights on your AeroGarden is a critical step for gardening success.
Cilantro grows best in temperatures that range between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If lights beam directly onto them, moving them further away from the leaves is important. Not moving the light away from the plant can cause the leaves to scorch or can discourage growth.
You can start to prune your cilantro plant when it reaches about two inches in height. Gardeners should prune only about one-third of the cilantro crop at one time to encourage continual growth.
After two or three months, your cilantro plants should thrive and harvest. Expect for your plants to reach the top of your AeroGarden and to appear wider than the appliance. Healthy cilantro should be vibrant, kelly green with a strong stem and several flat leaves.
A healthy, balanced cilantro plant can thrive in an AeroGarden for up to six months on a single pod. Pay close attention to yellowing leaves, which can indicate the temperature is too high.
If you notice any brown leaves, don’t fret, as you can just snip them off. That said, as long as you follow AeroGarden instructions and maintain enough water and nutrient solution in the hydroponic system, you shouldn’t encounter too many brown leaves.
How Long Will Cilantro Herb Plants Live Indoors?
Most cilantro plants will last several months indoors. The key is to keep the plant properly trimmed back and pruned because when the plant flowers, it will change the flavor profile.
Growing your cilantro plants in a climate-controlled environment will enable the plant to last much longer than it might outside. Cilantro grown outside does best in mild temperatures, particularly during the cool spring and fall months.
Cilantro usually doesn’t fare well during the extremes. The herb plant tends to struggle if it gets too hot or cold. Fortunately, if you grow the cilantro pods indoors with your AeroGarden system, this is much less of an issue.
Cilantro is an annual plant, so if you ever decide to move your cilantro outside, it should come back each and every year. You can replant AeroGarden cilantro, but be careful with the plant when doing so, and follow AeroGarden instructions.
Potted cilantro may be a nice little addition to your permanent indoor herb garden.
4. Harvesting Cilantro
The only tool you will need to harvest your homegrown cilantro is scissors. Simply snip away any stems you wish to use within one or two days to eat your cilantro in a fresh preparation.
It is recommended to harvest either small areas of your cilantro at one time, or the entire crop at once to be preserved. This is because shorter heights of the herb may get crowded by taller plants, which causes the shorter plants to die off due to lack of light exposure.
Even if you are not planning on using your cilantro right away, you can harvest your cilantro for future use. Especially if the majority of your cilantro has reached the top of the AeroGarden, it may be time to cut it all away and preserve it. The easiest way to preserve cilantro is by drying.
Clip your entire crop of cilantro, or most of it, and divide it into small sections. Tie each section in loose bunches with twine or undyed string. Make sure the string is not cutting into the stem when you tie the knot around the stems.
Then hang the bunches upside down in a dry, dark place with enough room for air to pass between the bunches. Make sure you don’t crowd the plants because they can start to mold as they dry out. A closet with a rod for hanging clothing works terrifically for this job.
Leave your drying herbs hanging for several weeks until they feel brittle to the touch. Then cut them down and transfer them to sheet pans. Using your hands, slide your hand along the stalk and the leaves will slough off. Then store the dried leaves in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
You Can Also Dry Cilantro Herbs Seeds
Once the cilantro starts to bloom, simply clip off the seed heads and dry them out. Dried Cilantro herbs seeds are edible and packed with flavor. You can add them to rice, salad, or nearly any other dish for an added punch.
One side note: Baby cilantro is very popular to harvest as a microgreen, but if you plan to use your AeroGarden hydroponic garden to grow microgreens, you need to get one of the specific microgreen kits that sit atop the platform where pods would normally grow.
Microgreens don’t necessarily need to be grown on a system as advanced as an AeroGarden, so we recommend that you consider a standard microgreens tray for growing baby cilantro or other microgreens. Use the AeroGarden for full-size herbs, and especially for larger vegetables (and tomatoes).
5. Common Problems with Growing Cilantro
AeroGarden growers could encounter a small assortment of issues when growing cilantro. As discussed above, cilantro grown from seed may have a tough outer husk. Consider soaking the seeds overnight before planting to help soften this outer layer and promote germination.
Because hydroponics rely on the water so heavily, gardeners must monitor certain aspects of their water’s chemistry, like temperature, pH level, and salt content. Consider testing your water to determine the exact levels.
The water temperature should always be around 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If your climate is warmer and will warm up the room temperature, you can use cold water in your AeroGarden.
The pH level of the water used in the AeroGarden should be in the 6.5 to 6.7 range. This is a very slightly acidic composition of water. The salt content of the water is measured by EC, or electrical conductivity. The EC level for your plants should be 1.6 to 1.8 micro siemens per cm.
Health Benefits From Fresh Cilantro
Before modern times, cilantro was one of the many herbs used medicinally for improved health. Fortunately, modern medicine knows much more about herbs, such as cilantro’s benefits (and limitations).
Cilantro contains vitamins A, C, and K. The one downside to an herb like cilantro is that it is usually added in moderation for flavoring or garnishment, so cilantro will likely not be a primary source of these nutrients in your diet.
Still, some studies have shown promising health benefits associated with cilantro plants. Some of these studies were first conducted on animals, so they need further studies, but the health benefits of cilantro may include brain health, reduced anxiety, and blood sugar management.
Cilantro is flavorful and nice to keep around for your homemade salsa, but it also adds extra nutrients to your diet. There are certain regions of the world where cooking with cilantro is a daily staple, and we can see why. It tastes good and is good for you.
Does Cilantro Grow Well in AeroGarden?
Cilantro grows very well in an AeroGarden because your indoor hydroponic garden is a highly controlled environment. The AeroGarden system controls the amount of light your cilantro will receive, the water levels, and the nutrition frequency. Truth be told, all herbs grow well in an AeroGarden.
How Long Does Cilantro Take to Grow in an AeroGarden?
Starting cilantro from seed includes a recommendation to initially soak the seeds for 12 to 24 hours. Then, germinate the seeds for an average of seven to 10 days. Once the seeds have germinated and started to grow, expect to harvest a healthy supply of cilantro after 50 to 85 days.
If you use the pre-packaged cilantro pods, you may be able to harvest cilantro in as little as 30 days.
Can You Pot Cilantro Seed Pods?
AeroGarden pods can be potted once the grown plants reach a level of stabilization. Start with a pot that is approximately 3x as wide as the pod itself, and allow the plant to acclimate to the new soil environment for two or three days before moving to a new room where the temperature or lighting may be significantly different.
Never move your AeroGarden plants directly from the hydroponic pods to the ground. This level of system shock may result in the plants dying.
How Do You Prune AeroGarden Cilantro?
Pruning cilantro is a wise idea to maintain the healthiest crop of herbs in your AeroGarden. Choose scissors to snip the leaves you want to use fresh. You can also use your fingertips to cull tiny sprouts you want to discourage early on in their growing stage.
If you decide to prune large portions of your cilantro, make sure all areas of your crop receive sufficient light. When pruning, the sections left taller can overcrowd the pruned stalks located beneath. You can also avoid this by pruning either small portions or harvesting all at once.
Cilantro & AeroGarden: A Match Made in Herb Heaven
Cilantro grows well as part of an indoor hydroponic garden, and the AeroGarden system is designed to provide optimal growing conditions.
There are other options you may consider for growing large indoor gardens, such as the Gardyn system or the Lettuce Grow system, but both of these systems might be a little overkill if your primary objective is growing herbs, such as cilantro. The bottom line is that if you use a lot of cilantro leaves, you should definitely consider growing your own cilantro in anAeroGarden.
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