How to Grow Culantro

(Cómo Sembrar el Culantro)


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!

Category: Gardening

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Can I grow this in my closet? I live in an apartment building so I do not have access to a yard.

    • Hi Rosa, If your closet has no windows, I believe it would be difficult to grow culantro (but not impossible) because culantro requires sunlight (but not direct sunlight) and an optimal temperature of 80°F for the seeds to germinate. I keep my culantro plant near a kitchen window with a warming pad under the planter and sunlight lamp on top in an open space during the cold winter months in the Midwest. I do not recommend this technique in a non-ventilated environment like your closet. Other individuals plant their seeds in a regular planter and keep the planter indoors on a stand in the living room. I would suggest for you to go to your nearby nursery center and ask for recommendations!

  • I purchased my recao plant on line. First I placed it on my kitchen window but it started to flower; so after cutting the stalks, I moved it to my living room where it gets light but no sun. It stopped flowering but it is getting brown at the point of the leaves. Some advice?

    • Hi Gladys, If the soil is too wet, the leaves will turn brown. I only mist the soil every morning with a spray water bottle after checking the soil for wetness even when the leaves are long. You bought the plant online so it will need some sunlight especially if the leaves are approximately 2 inches long. Cutting the stalk where the flower and seeds are located, will allow the recao leaves to grow more but will not cause the leaves to turn brown. No direct sun should be on the soil when the initial seeds are planted on top of soil until the leaves are approximately 2 inches long (approximately 70 days) and depending on the indoor and outdoor temperature. Once the leaves are 2 inches long, it will need some sunlight.


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