Cilantro Flower: Meaning, Benefits & Growing Guide

Image represents flower of Cilantro plant
Cilantro has bloomed with white flowers.

Have you ever looked at a Cilantro flower and wondered, “why is it wearing an umbrella at the top of its head?”

Indeed, Cilantro flowers are actually called “umbels,” which in Latin translates to “Umbellula,” meaning “little shade.”

But be patient for a few days until your Cilantro crowns this “umbrella” on top.

Generally, Cilantro blooms clusters of whitish-pink umbel flowers within 40 to 45 days after germination, with a mild citrusy aroma during mid to late summer. It needs 6-8 hours of sunlight, biweekly fertilization with phosphorus, and once every 1-2 days water to flower.

Image represents the umbel flowers of Cilantro
Here is a comparison between two umbel flowers of Cilantro in pictures.

However, you may remember Cilantro as a plant having a distinct fragrance that either offends or allures people, but its flowers have a different story.

Read more to know everything about the Cilantro flower in the article below!

How Often Does Cilantro Flower?

If you are expecting your Cilantro plant to flower, you need hot weather!

As an annual herb, Cilantro readily produces vibrant blooms annually during the months of summer when the plant reaches a height of about 50 cm.

Image represents bolting of Cilantro under full sun
Cilantro is in the bolting process under full Sun.

Unfortunately, your Cilantro will not produce speedy blooms during winters and slows its flowering period; however, it will readily produce more foliage during these times.

Moreover, Cilantro’s rapid flowering to seed-setting capacity during the summers often disappoints people as they cannot enjoy the foliage growth during these hot days.

In fact, it is a defense mechanism of plants to escape winters, known as bolting. However, the plant loses all its flavor and aroma once it starts to bolt, and there is no turning back from it.

Besides, the blossoms stay on the plant for at least one week, after which they enter the fruiting and seed-setting stage.

Fortunately, you can use these seeds to grow indoor Cilantro flowers. This helps you make your home interior aromatic with Cilantro flowers.

Place your Cilantro in the shade, but make sure to keep it in a south-facing window with direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours daily.

This way, you can have clusters of Cilantro flowers all year-round.

Cilantro Flower: Overview

The floral characteristics of this plant are equally intriguing as its smelly facts, so you need to take a look at the table below to get some idea.

FeaturesCharacteristics
Bunch SizeAbout 1.2 cm
Bloom ColorWhitish-Pink
InflorescenceUmbel
FamilyApiaceae
SexualityBisexual (Male and female part present in same flower)
Blooming PeriodSummer (Faster blooms)
Winter (Slower blooms)
Floral AromaMild citrusy smell
Seed ProductionFour to six weeks after flowering
Seed ColorCreamy brown to brown
Seed Size and WeightSize: about 0.31 cm
Weight: 0.011 g

Cilantro commonly comes with white blooms; the most colorful ones you can find are pink with a slight hue of white.

Image represents the different color blooms of Cilantro flower
Cilantro has white and pink colored flowers.

Whatever the color of the flower might be, Cilantro always blesses you with seeds from which you can grow more Cilantro flowers.

Initially, you might not find the seeds appealing to the eyes, but they will surely leave your tongue satisfied!

But to have seeds at your disposal, you must give the Cilantro flower enough time to pollinate, or you can also aid the plant in pollination.

How Do You Pollinate Cilantro Flower?

Let me be honest; you don’t even need to disturb your Cilantro flower to pollinate. Since Cilantro flowers are bisexual, hand pollination is barely necessary for such herby species.

In fact, Cilantro flower bunches are effective in attracting nectar-collecting insects like bees, cuckoo wasps, butterflies, and hoverflies, which are its natural pollinators. 

Bees sitting on cilantro
Bees are sitting on cilantro to volunteer pollination.

However, if you do not find enough pollinators in your area, you can also hand-pollinate them.

Prepare yourself by grabbing pollinating tools such as a fine-tipped brush and gloves. Then, you can begin the hand-pollination process by following the step-by-step guide given below.

  • Wait for the flowers to open, usually during mid to late summers Remember, you have to pollinate the flowers immediately after it opens.

Pro Tip! Cilantro becomes ready to bloom when the plant’s central stem becomes thick, which is called bolting, and occurs faster during summers and late during winters.

  • Collect the pollen from the anthers of the flower using the tip of a fine brush.
  • Brush the collected pollen into the Stigma of the same flower.
  • You can cross-pollinate by brushing the pollens in the Stigma of flowers from another plant.

Remember that you must pollinate the flowers in the early morning when the sun is not scorched. The afternoon sun can damage the pollens and make them non-viable.

How To Collect Cilantro Seeds?

After successful pollination, you will notice that the Cilantro’s thick central stem starts to turn brown and becomes woody.

This normally happens in 2-3 weeks after flowering and during the time when your Cilantro plant will produce the brown-colored seeds from fruits.

Image represents the ripe fruits and seeds of Cilantro flower
Here are ripe fruits (left) and seeds (right) of Cilantro flower.

You can prepare yourself with the tools necessary for collection. This table below will help you if you want!

ToolsSpecifications
Gardening GlovesFor protection
Plastic BucketFor seed collection
Paper BagsPaper BagsFor storage after collection
PrunersFor clipping flower heads

Now, buckle up to collect seeds; for this, you can follow the step-by-step guide below.

  • Hold a plastic bucket beneath the flowering head to gather the seeds.
  • Bend the stem containing the flowering head and pick the seeds with your hand.
  • Alternatively, you can also clip the whole flowering head with pruners. This will not affect the plant once the seeds are extracted. 
  • Place the flower heads in a paper bag and shake them to release the seeds from the fruit husk.
  • You can either keep the seeds in paper bags to dry or take them out from the bag and store them in a container on the kitchen top desk for later use.

You can store cilantro seeds in the best condtion for three to four years by freezing them or drying them to increase their shelf-life.

How To Make Cilantro Plant Flower?

Cilantro is an easy-going herb for gardeners as it doesn’t require finicky flower arrangements.

However, you need to replicate the natural conditions as far as possible to have consistent seasonal flowers in your Cilantro. 

For instance, here are some crucial requirements that you can fulfill to get your Cilantro to flower.

  • Provide organic slow-releasing fertilizer of 1/4th strength containing a high amount of phosphorous every once in two weeks during the flowering season.
  • You can also use frequent NPK fertilizer in the ratio of 15-30-15 but keep this minimum during the flowering season to prevent early bolting.
  • Well-draining aerated loamy soil containing sand or perlite with pH values between 6.2 and 6.8 works best for easy flowering of Cilantro. 
  • Cilantro has a nasty habit of flowering quickly. Still, you can prevent this by placing your Cilantro plant in direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours daily near a south-facing window to continue the normal flowering cycle.
  • Apply 2.4 liters of water per square foot in your outdoor Cilantro plantation to make it flower. Also, you need to water the plant once every 1-2 days with the same amount of water.
Image represents watering the Cilantro plant
Watering Cilantro plant is good when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry to touch.
  • Cilantro also needs a temperature between 50 and 85 degrees F to grow and bloom. 
  • Maintain a relative humidity of around 40% to promote the annual flowering cycle in your Cilantro plant. It is better to use a hygrometer indoors to keep check-in humidity requirements at all times.  

Cilantro flower buds are highly susceptible to attacks by Beet Army Worms.

If your Cilantro suffers from these pests, you can use insecticides like Conserve SC Formulation of Spinosad which is the primary line of defense against these insects.  

You also need to watch out apium virus Y disease, bacterial leaf spot, carrot motley dwarf, and cilantro yellow blotch to save cilantro flowers. 

What Should You Do With Cilantro Plant Flowers?

Cilantro flower may be an eye-pleaser, but the plant trades this off by rapidly losing the taste of its foliage from citrusy to bitter.

So, it’s better to harvest the foliage of your Cilantro early before it starts to bolt. However, if you plan to cut the flowers to bring back the foliage taste, your good luck enjoys a bitter salad.

Hence, it is better to let nature run its course and leave your Cilantro to go and drop the seeds.

However, you can prune the buds of Cilantro before it opens once a week during mid to late summer.

In this way, you can even make the plant continuously produce foliage throughout its annual cycle.

Here is the list of steps that you can follow to prune the Cilantro flower.

  • First, check your Cilantro to see if it is about to flower, if the stem is thickening, or if the plant has formed flower buds.
  • Simply pinch off the stem that connects to the central part of the plant containing the flower buds.
  • You can also use pruners to cut off the flowering stem just a few centimeters below the flower head.

But don’t let this cut section waste as you can still use it to garnish your meals or cooking.

Enjoy this short video if you want to see the pruning process in detail!

Meaning & Uses of Cilantro Flowers 

Do you know that Cilantro flowers are a symbol of lust, and ancient Greeks used the seeds from the plant as an aphrodisiac?

Furthermore, the name “Cilantro” translates to “koris” in Greek, meaning “stink bug” due to the pungent smell of its flower.

Cilantro flowers also suggest hidden worth or merit. 

Although the flowering takes away all the flavor credit of its foliage, you can still include the flowers in various dishes.

Besides, they are also used medicinally, too.

Next time, if you see Cilantro with flowers, do not discard it, but take it immediately! So, let’s dive into some of the brief uses of the Cilantro flowers.

1. Culinary Uses of Cilantro Flowers 

What do salads and sorbets have in common? The answer is that they both suit best when garnished with Cilantro flowers!

Additionally, these flowers are used as a supplementary taste enhancer along with the Cilantro leaves in various dishes like salads and salsas.

Image represents Cilantro flower garnish
Cilantro flower is great to garnish salsa.

You can add chopped flowers at the top of your cooked curry as a garnish to make the flavors bolder and the dish colorful.

But, remember to use the flowers raw because cooked flowers lose all their mild citrusy aroma.

It is a great way to be innovative and bring the best exotic feel to your favorite dishes from Cilantro flowers.

Fun Fact: Some people are genetically over-sensitive to the taste of Cilantro flowers and describe it as “soapy” in flavor which makes these flowers unpalatable to them.

2. Medicinal Uses of Cilantro Flowers

Cilantro plants can be considered a “super-herb.”

The plant harbors many health benefits, but the flowers do not offer as many health benefits as the leaves, seeds, or roots.

Well, sorry to break you, but the Cilantro flowers are equally beneficial as any other part of the plant.

Dihydrobenzofuran, which is an aldehyde extracted from the essential oil of flowers, has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiangiogenic, and antimitotic effects.

The flower also has minerals and Vitamin K that help in blood clotting along with Vitamin A and C.

When consumed raw with their leaves, Cilantro flowers supply the body with dietary fibers and lower blood sugar levels.

Flowers are also great for the gut because they aid in the process of digestion.

Is Cilantro Flower Toxic? 

Cilantro flowers belong to the family Apiaceae and are known for their pungent-smelling flowers and foliage.

Some people complain about the soapy smell and taste of the flowers in moderate amounts, but consuming the flowers will bring you no harm.

According to ASPCA, leaving your dogs and cats around a Cilantro won’t cause any harmful side-effects.

Cilantro flowers are also harmless to your pets and can be used to ease the issues of digestion.

Person holding cilantro flower in hand
A person is holding a cilantro flower in hand.

It is advisable to slowly provide Cilantro flowers to your pets in pinch amounts mixed with foods, and you can increase the dosage to no more than one teaspoon.

However, you can call any of the helpline numbers if any side effects become visible to your pets.

Conclusion

Though not as famous as leaves, seeds, and roots, the Cilantro flowers have set their own niche in case of decorations and health benefits.

You can even gift these flowers to someone special to let them feel a gesture of sweet aroma and beauty at the same time.

However, due to its rapid bolting during summers, you must trade off aromatic flowers with the foliage taste. Still, you can always solve this issue by removing the flowering stem.

No matter what you do, the citrusy smell of these flowers will always bring a hint of freshness to your dish and life if you grow them in your garden.

Happy Gardening!

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