Ask Burton: Q: I want to grow cilantro, and it doesn’t like me. How can I do better with it? Mine always goes into flower, and withers.

A: Cilantro is a favorite herb in local cuisine and a cool season herb for most of us in North Texas. The leaves are cilantro; the seed, if allowed to develop, is coriander. Once temperatures begin to exceed 85 degrees on a consistent basis, it will “bolt”, which means it starts going to seed. This is undesirable if you want to have cilantro for cooking, as the leaves quickly lose quality and the plant will wear out as it goes into seed. Pico de gallo demands that this not be so!

For the best results, plant cilantro in February and September in a soft, compost rich soil, with the intention of harvesting it in April and November. Cilantro is easy to grow from seed, or you can purchase nursery starts of this plant as well. Plant cilantro in afternoon shade to extend its useful span in each season, but once it starts to bolt, you’re pretty much done. Let it go to seed, and replant those later if you like.

Fertilize with a moderate amount of nitrogen, but cilantro doesn’t need much else to thrive. Maintain moderate moisture for the best results.

Learn more at our Joys of Herb Gardening Class this Saturday, February 17th.