Culantro is a tropical perennial herb that is native to Mexico, Central and South America. The Taíno Indians also cultivated the culantro in Puerto Rico. The leaf is green with long jagged edges (spiny). The culantro has a strong aromatic scent. We also refer to the culantro by the term “recao” in Puerto Rico.
The culantro is an integral part of the Puerto Rican cookery. Once the culantro is added to the dish you are preparing, a pleasant aromatic scent is immediately released by the culantro. This fragrant spice herb is what gives our cuisine its unique flavor and aroma.
Every summer I grow my own culantro in long planters and place them on my deck away from direct sunlight. Every morning I spray a fine mist on my plants to keep the soil moist. They will start growing after 3 months but the wait is worth it. I never thought that I would be able to grow culantro in the Midwest due to the fact that the temperature can vary drastically even during the summer months.
Where Do You Purchase the Seeds?
For this illustration, I purchased the Viablekitchen seeds online. They contain 10,000 plus seeds in each package.
I also purchased another brand online directly from Puerto Rico: Gonzalez Agrogardens. Chose the brand of your preference but just make sure that words Culantro and/or Recao are written on the envelopes.
The seeds are tiny round dark brown specks similar to the appearance of poppy seeds.
Let’s Discuss the Flower Box and Potting Soil!
The flower box that I normally use to plant the culantro seeds is 8″ (Width) x 29″ (Length) x 6½” (Depth).
For this illustration, I purchased Schultz Moisture Plus Potting Mix. However, you can purchase the brand of your preference.
We Are Ready to Plant the Seeds!
Fill the flower box with the potting mix. Spread the seeds evenly starting at the top of the flower box all the way to the bottom. Use one complete package of seeds for each flower box.
Fill a spray bottle with water. Spray a fine mist on top of the potting soil and seeds, starting from the top of the flower box all the way to the bottom. Repeat this process until the potting soil is moist not soaking wet.
Follow Up Instructions!
Never cover the seeds with soil. The seeds need to be exposed on top of the soil. Place the flower box in a shady area away from direct sun. Every morning spray a cool mist on the potting soil to maintain the soil moist for 3 to 4 months. Therefore, you never pour water onto the potting soil. The outdoor temperature should be between 80°F to 85°F. It takes approximately 14 to 28 days for the seeds to germinate. Once the seeds start to germinate, you will need to patiently wait another 3 months to be able to harvest the culantro.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Grow Culantro!