Cilantro, with the scientific name Coriandrum sativum, is an annual herb belonging to the family Apiaceae, which also includes parsley, celery and carrots. These plants are also referred to as coriander, dhania or Chinese parsley, and can grow up to 24 inches tall. They are native to Asia and are commonly grown for their fresh leaves and dried seeds which are widely used in cooking. Like all plants, Cilantro is susceptible to its share of problems and diseases, some of which may kill the plant unless treated promptly.
How to save a dying cilantro plant
Whether or not you are able to save your cilantro plant will depend on the cause and extent of the damage. The sooner you address the problem, the better your chances of reviving it. Nevertheless, a good first step is to ensure that you are providing the plant with optimal growing conditions, as this will ensure that it is not further weakened, and may even fix the problem.
Water your plants at least once or twice weekly.
To keep the soil consistently moist, water your plants at least once or twice a week. This will prevent the leaves from wilting and drooping. However, in droughts or heat waves, water at least thrice weekly, or as often as required to keep the soil moist.
Use plenty of compost in your potting mix.
Compost should be integrated into your potting mix to help the soil retain moisture. It is also an important factor in good soil drainage, and encourages root establishment. For cilantro plants in the garden, enrich the area with compost and mulch to conserve moisture around the plants.
Replant the cilantro in bigger pots.
If your plants are dying and their pots are smaller than 10 inches in diameter, replant them in pots at least 12 inches across in width. Bigger pots can hold more compost and retain more moisture, which helps revive the plants.
Provide the right balance of sunlight.
Place your dying cilantro plants in a spot that gets partial sun, or morning sun followed by an afternoon shade. Having the right balance of sunlight is important for the plants to grow and regain their overall health.
Other life-saving tips to revive your cilantro plants
- Prune off some leaves.
- Mist the plants to hydrate the leaves.
- Feed the plants some wood ash or potassium sulfate to help them absorb water.
- Do not feed them any nitrogen at this time.
- Reduce the levels of light for a while.
Reasons your cilantro plant is dying
The plants are not being watered enough.
Cilantro plants tend to lose a lot of moisture through their leaves on windy or hot days. To prevent them from wilting and dying, the soil should be consistently moist so that the roots can draw up water as fast as it is being lost through the leaves. Avoid using sandy or fast-draining potting mix, as the roots may struggle to absorb water and the plants will be more likely to wilt.
You have used the wrong type of soil.
Planting your cilantro in the wrong type of soil could cause damage and possibly death. Soil quality and correct pH are essential for cilantro plants. The pH should be around 6.2 to 6.8; lower or higher than that could result in improper or stunted growth. The seeds should be planted at least four inches apart for them to grow well.
You could be overwatering your plants.
Cilantro plants do not like to be watered too much, and if the soil is too wet for a long period they may turn yellow and die. Find a watering balance whereby the soil maintains moisture without becoming waterlogged. Once the soil becomes too wet, the roots will sit in stagnant water and drown, and the plants will eventually die.
It could be due to nutrient deficiency.
If your dying cilantro plants also have yellowing leaves, it could be due to a nutrient deficiency in the soil, among other things. To fix a nutrient deficiency, apply a fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can also do a soil test to ascertain exactly which nutrients, if any, are missing from your soil.
Signs that your cilantro is dying
- The leaves are wilting and drooping, and the plants have a sickly appearance.
- The tips of the leaves are turning yellow or starting to dry out.
- The leaves are falling off.
- There are black or yellow spots on the leaves, which could be indicative of fungal diseases.
Cilantro plants are annual herbs that are easy to cultivate. These plants are native to Asia and are widely grown due to their important role in culinary recipes. While they are low-maintenance plants, they can also be prone to certain problems and diseases which can take a toll on their overall health.
If your cilantro plants appear to be dying, first ensure that you are providing optimal growing conditions to give them the best chance of bouncing back to health. First and foremost, they should be exposed to partial sun and afternoon shade, provided with suitable soil enriched with good quality compost, and should be watered at least twice a week so that their soil does not completely dry out.
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