Today, when planning for the vegetables and herbs that I would love to grow for the spring, I put cilantro as the first entry on my list. That’s not only because I love to garnish cilantro on the dishes I cook but also because it needs very little care and maintenance from my side. I recalled my wonderful growing experience last year. Then I remembered struggling with the question of why my cilantro was turning yellow for many days and finally finding the correct way to treat it.
While searching for the solution, I remember encountering many other people who were troubled by the same problem with their cilantro plants. When the growing season is at the edge, I am writing this guide for people who are upset to see the lush green leaves of their beloved cilantro turning yellow, and I am including practical and tried ways to make the plant grow healthy and green again.
Reasons Why Is My Cilantro Turning Yellow?
Leaves have a chemical pigment called chlorophyll that keeps their colour green. Chlorosis is a process that drains the green colour of the leaves and makes them yellow or brown.
The leaves may turn yellow due to several factors, including not getting enough Sun, over-exposure to Sun, lack of nitrogen, over or under-watering, and pest infestation.
It is essential first to understand the reason why my cilantro is turning yellow, and then you can look for possible treatment.
1. Lacking enough sunlight
This is the problem that I struggled with, and I have seen many other people in similar situations. I used to put my cilantro pot in a shady window, afraid of getting the leaves burned by excess sunlight. But, in a few weeks, I started to notice the leaves becoming yellow, and when I looked for the reasons, I found the culprit to be the cilantro plant not getting enough sunlight. Then I placed it on a sunny windowsill, where it used to get almost 6 hours of daylight every day.
Lacking sunlight can make the leaves pale green and yellow, showing wilting and stunted growth. Most herbs, including cilantro, grow best in the entire Sun, with more than 4 hours of sunlight daily. Check the place where you put your cilantro and how long it gets sunlight. If tree branches, shrubs, or dense foliage cast shade on the cilantro, then cutting them back would help.
2. Improper watering schedules
If you don’t water the cilantro enough, then it may cause the leaves to curl inwards. If you don’t fix this issue on time, it can lead to the leaves turning yellow, wilting, or falling off. You should water the cilantro plants evenly after the first germination and reduce watering when the plants grow a bit taller as the root networks are established.
If you are struggling with the question, why is my cilantro turning yellow? Water the annual herb carefully. Let the dry soil bit between consecutive watering and constantly water the plant during the morning so the Sun makes the leaves dry out the day before night falls.
3. The soil is poor
Yellow and pale leaves of cilantro plants may result from poor soil nutrients. Applying the correct fertiliser in the right amount is the secret to growing the plant correctly. Although fertilisers enhance the growth and appearance of the cilantro plant, using too much fertiliser can be damaging. It is good to fertilise the cilantro plants 1-2 times during the growing season and apply ¼ cup of nitrogen-based fertiliser per 25 square feet of the area where you are growing cilantro.
Fertilising carefully is also important, as I have seen many people on the Internet who got nitrogen burns by touching the nitrogen-based fertiliser to the cilantro’s stems or leaves.
4. Pests are damaging the plant.
If you need an answer to why is my cilantro turning yellow, then look for pets or insects that may rarely feed on the plant. The pungent smell of cilantro leaves repels common garden pests, but sometimes, mites and aphids feed on cilantro. The first step to getting rid of pests is using your garden hose to blast water powerfully on the plant and dislodge and kill aphids, mites, whiteflies, and many other problems.
If this easy remedy isn’t enough to finish the insect problem, then you can make an easy insecticide home. I used to keep this insecticide in a spray bottle close to the cilantro plant and spray it on the plant whenever I spotted an insect on any leaf.
- Fill a plastic spray bottle with a quart of water
- Add a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent
- Cover the bottle and mix it thoroughly
- When you see an insect on your cilantro, spray the soap directly on it.
- Use this homemade insecticide once each week to get rid of insect problems
How To Bring Back The Green Colour Of Cilantro Leaves?
When leaves turn yellow through a process called chlorosis, you may be able to reverse the damage, while sometimes, it may be irreversible. The reasons for yellowing leaves for which you can change the damage are:
- Little underwatering
- Nutrient deficiency
- Early temperature and lighting issues
- You are unlikely to make your cilantro green again in these cases:
- Pest infestation
- Leaves are old
- You use diseased seeds to grow cilantro
- Frequent overwatering has resulted in root rot
When you correctly identify the cause behind yellow leaves, it is time to fix the issue. Here are some ways to revive the greenery of cilantro by changing the environmental conditions to suit the plant’s needs.
Place your plant where it gets ample sunlight: This is right to stimulate the cilantro plant to become more vibrant and lush green in colour. I used to put my plant on a windowsill where it would get direct sunlight throughout the morning and afternoon.
Keep the plant moist: Water the cilantro plant more frequently or place it close to a humidifier to eliminate dry yellow leaves.
Repot the plant: Changing the soil and adding a fresh nutrient potting mix may encourage new root growth.
Add some fertilisers: Fertilising the plant with the right amount and frequency of fertiliser is a way to revive cilantro plants’ growth.
Prune the yellow leaves: This will make the plant use its energy to grow healthy leaves and in developing new green leaves.
Questions That People Commonly Ask About Growing Cilantro
Is it safe to eat yellow cilantro?
If you have found an answer to why is my cilantro turning yellow, then do note that It is not safe to eat cilantro leaves that have turned yellow. The reason behind yellow leaves may be a disease, or the leaves have gone far from the point of being useful. Yellow leaves may not permanently harm you, but you are at risk of becoming sick after eating them.
What are the reasons for cilantro leaves wilting?
Cilantro needs almost 6 hours of full sunlight every day. But during the summer, when the weather becomes too hot, you may need to put it in a shady spot where it gets the required amount of Sun and plenty of shade.
How much watering is required by cilantro?
The soil of a cilantro plant should look and feel moist at all times. But don’t overwater the plant and soak the ground, as it can damage the roots. Plants in bed should get an inch of water every week, and when growing in a container, they may need more watering.
How frequently can you harvest cilantro?
It is good to harvest the cilantro plant once a week before it reaches the bolting phase. If your plant is growing well and bushy, you can gather it more than once weekly. Remember, the more you harvest the leaves, the more you can delay them from bolting.
How to prune cilantro?
The right way to harvest cilantro leaves is to cut the outside leaves, leaving the inner stems to grow and letting you harvest more leaves each week.
How to identify an overwatered cilantro plant?
Naturally, cilantro plants tend to grow toward the Sun. But when they are overwatered, they become limp and droop until they fall over. Moreover, the leaves of overwatered cilantro will feel soft and become discoloured to pale yellow.
What are the ideal growing conditions for cilantro plants?
Cilantro plants need similar growing conditions as that of other herbs and vegetables. A well-drained, light soil with the right amount of organic matter is suitable for cilantro. The plants grow well in full Sun and with slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5.
Which fertiliser is suitable for cilantro?
It is good to fertilise the cilantro plants 1-2 times during the growing season. So, apply ¼ cup of nitrogen-based fertiliser per 25 square feet of the area where you are growing cilantro. Using too much nitrogen fertiliser can make the plants less flavorful, so fertilise them carefully.
Can I grow cilantro in a container?
Cilantro is one of the best houseplants that grow very well in containers and pots. Just remember to take a nice large jar or a growing container and fill it with a potting mix rich in nutrients. Move the container around to provide the right amount of sunlight and regularly water it.
You would no longer be worried about why my cilantro is turning yellow. So now, you can get some good seeds and start planning to grow cilantro during spring. And if you are already increasing cilantro, your green leaves are beginning to turn yellow.