Hydroponics has become a popular soilless system for growing herbs like cilantro/coriander. If you don’t know how to grow hydroponic coriander, don’t worry because in this article we are going to cover a complete guide for growing coriander in a soilless medium. Growing these plants in the soil can be challenging because the grower may need to apply fertilizer, manage the diseases and pests, etc. In this guide, we will include the following:
- Requirements for thriving cilantro/coriander in hydroponics
- Best hydroponics system to grow cilantro/coriander
- How to grow hydroponic cilantro/coriander – A complete guide
- Common diseases and pests in coriander
- Harvesting process of cilantro
Requirements To Grow Cilantro/Coriander Hydroponically
Cilantro/coriander is indeed an excellent herb to grow in soil, however in soil, the maintenance is greater. Growers may have to eliminate weeds, manage pathogens and diseases, add more fertilizer, and so on. However, in hydroponics, you can grow these herbs a lot faster than the soil.
Before you start growing coriander in soilless media, knowing the requirements is a must. Fortunately, coriander is considered one of the easiest plants to grow. Since it’s not being grown in the soil you should be careful about the nutrient concentration and water quality. The more one can fulfill the needs of cilantro/coriander, the faster it will grow, and the more it will flourish.
The basic requirements for growing cilantro are as follows:
The Electrical Conductivity (EC) of the solution should range between 1.2 and 1.8 dS, and the pH should be 6 – 6.8 (neutral). Make sure that the TDS (total dissolved solids) in the system is less than 400 ppm because it will hinder the growth of these herbs.
Temperature and Light
Coriander grows best in the winter. If you want to grow them during summer or spring, make sure you keep the temperature between 40-degrees and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. To enhance the growth, you should make sure that the temperature is between the two and that the salt concentration is lower in the solution.
In the case of light, remember that these beautiful herbs don’t require intense light. If you want to use artificial light, The T5 Fluorescent light is a great choice. You’ll also get a better yield if you use T5 Lighting from the beginning. You can also use HID or LED lighting. To obtain a productive yield, you should give you coriander a minimum of 12-13 hours a day.
You should make sure that each individual cilantro plant has about 10″ of space around them. Coriander tends to be bushy, so they need space for spreading.
To grow hydroponic coriander, you must focus on their nutrient requirement. You can add either inorganic fertilizer or organic fertilizer to make the solution. Inorganic fertilizers dissolve in the water quickly, and it only takes a small amount to meet their demands. However, adding too much fertilizer can cause toxicity in the solution. On the other hand, using organic fertilizer can provide all the nutrients in the water, but it is a slow-release fertilizer. One drawback is that the water quality may get worse if the you don’t manage the system accurately.
However, you can use a combination of organic fertilizer and inorganic NPK fertilizer to make the solution super effective. In the case of cilantro/coriander, the recommended NPK is either 19-19-19 or 20-20-20. Mix 1tbsp NPK fertilizer in 1L water.
To maximize the growth, you can dissolve urea in water and spray it on leaves. Since this herb is like dense and leafy vegetation, make sure that you add more nitrogen and phosphorus. You can also use hydroponic fertilizer to create a nutrient solution. This fertilizer provides essential nutrients instantly.
(Find out how to grow garlic hydroponically!)
Best Hydroponic System To Grow Cilantro/Coriander
Before we directly start discussing the best hydroponic system for growing coriander, it’s important to know about different hydroponic systems and their pros and cons. After you get a rough understanding of each of the systems, you’ll also learn the best one.
The most basic mechanism in all hydroponic systems is that the plants are provided with nutrient solution to help them thrive well.
There are six types of cultures – wick and deep water culture are for beginners, drip and ebb-flow are for intermediate growers, and nutrient flow technique/aeroponics are for the advanced growers.
Remember that to set up a hydroponic system at home, you will need a few things:
- An air pump – to supply oxygen in the water
- A water pump – to supply water to the chamber
- Substrates – Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, or coconut coir
- PVC pipes and timer
- Net cups
Wick culture is considered the easiest method to set up at home. It is an easier one because you don’t need to buy an air pump or water pump. Simply get your net cups, put the substrate (vermiculite, perlite, coconut coir) inside them, then use a tray to hold these cups and place them straight in the nutrient solution. That’s it! Your setup is done.
- Great for the newbies
- Less expensive system
- Ideal for growing herbs and vegetables
- Water needs to be changed because root respiration increases the carbon dioxide level.
This is another well-recognized hydroponic method for beginners. You don’t need to use substrate in this method (althought it’s still recommended to stabilise the plants). With this method the roots will stay directly in touch with the nutrient solution. In deep water culture, you have to use an air pump to supply air and sufficient oxygen to the reservoir.
Setup is incredibly simple, you just have to use the net cups to position the plants properly, and then make sure the rockwool you’re keeping your seeds in are able to absorb water. The greatest benefit of using this method is that the plants can receive the nutrients directly, and the growth rate increases like crazy.
- An easy and cheap system for the novices
- Better growth
- Roots get the nutrients and oxygen directly
- The spread of the root diseases can be an issue
Ebb-Flow or Flood-Drain Method
This method is a little bit more technical because you have to provide both water and air. However, It’s a popular method among the intermediate growers. In this design, your coriander will be positioned in the net cups which should be filled with substrate.
These cups are set on a grow-bed, which is flooded with nutrient solution drawn by the water pump. A timer is set in this design, which limits the amount of time the roots are in water, to stop them from drowning. After a specific time, the water is drained again to supply oxygen. This is why this method is called ebb and flow.
- All types of plants can be grown in this system
- Water recirculation saves water
- A bit expensive and technical
Drip Hydroponic Culture
For the semi-arid regions, this hydroponic method is the best choice. Even if you want to save water, it could still be a good method for you. In drip hydroponics, a tube which carries nutrient solution and sends it to the roots is set at the plant’s base. Then a drip emitter controls the amount of solution that is provided. with this method you can also adjust the flow rate. With drip hydroponics, It’s better to install a circulating drip hydroponic design.
- Highly effective, and plants receive the essential nutrients and oxygen easily
- Several types of plants can be grown
- Beginners may find it quite challenging to install
Nutrient film technique (NFT)
Nutrient film technique is an advanced design, which is commonly used by professional farmers and agriculturists. To install this method, you will need PVC pipes, a water pump, timer, nutrient solution, and substrates.
Keep the solution in a reservoir and set a water pump. Position the PVC pipes (with holes to insert plants/cups) at a slope. The water pump will extract the water, which will flow across the pipe and return to the reservoir once again. Experts use pipes and larger reservoirs to grow more plants.
- High water efficacy
- Plants can uptake nutrients and receive oxygen at the same time
- The right choice for both commercial and home growers.
- A little bit expensive for the beginners
- Root diseases can quickly spread across the pipe
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This is the last one and offers the highest water efficacy. We recommend this design if you want to conserve water. Though this system is expensive, you can grow many plants with it. The design is similar to NFT. But here, you don’t need to position the pipe at an angle, you should place it horizontally.
The mist nozzles below the pipe will spray the nutrient solution as a mist. This process makes the vegetables and plants grow better by supplying both nutrients and oxygen. Alternatively, you can only use the reservoir, hydroponic tray, water pump, and nozzles to set up the process.
- High water efficiency
- A large number of plants can be grown
- Very easy to set up
- Costlier than others
- Nozzles can get clogged sometimes
It’s possible to grow coriander in any but you should choose based on how experienced you are. If you’re just starting out the the wick system is your best choice.
(Did you know you can also Grow Asparagus Hydroponically!)
How To Grow Hydroponic Cilantro/Coriander – Complete Guide
Now it’s time to start growing your coriander in your home-made hydroponic system. Remember that it is possible to install any of those systems at home, but it is better to start with the simplest design if you’re just starting out. As previously mentioned the most effortless design is the wick system among all the hydroponic methods. Therefore, in this article you’ll learn how to grow coriander with this method.
What You Need To Grow Cilantro/Coriander
- Coriander seeds
- Hydroponic tray or net basket or hydroponics cup
- A reservoir (shouldn’t be transparent)
- Substrate (Rockwool is the best)
- NPK fertilizer with the ratio of 19-19-19 or 20-20-20
- Tissue (for retaining water to accelerate the germination process)
How To Make the Hydroponic Solution for Cilantro/Coriander
Many growers make a huge mistake at this step. After a certain period, you may notice that the plants aren’t growing well. The reason behind this is the lack of proper nutrients. Every plant needs six vital elements –nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, and magnesium. To get the most growth, you must supply these elements. There are also other elements, known as micronutrients, that can enhance growth.
You can also add the growth hormone or root growth regulator to accelerate the growth.
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How To Start Hydroponics
In the beginning, you should crush the seeds gently. Crush them gently and make sure that the seeds are not entirely powdered. The seeds should be broken into two parts.
Cover the entire hydroponic tray or net basket with tissues. Sow the seeds on the tissue and cover the sown seeds again with the tissue as it will ensure quick germination. Soak the tray with a sprayer. When you move on to using hydroponic cups, you have to use rockwool to germinate the seeds. Place the seeds into the substrate, then place these cups in a position so that they stay in touch with the water. You can also spray water on top to provide moisture. Sprouts should come out as quickly as 10 days.
Place the system in a colder environment. Once you’re cilantro has begun to germinate you need to make sure that you’re keeping it in a temperature between 40-degrees and 75-degree Fahrenheits.
You should also top the water up every 20 days on average, making sure you add more nutrients solution when you do. This is just a rough guide and you should be measuring the ppm levels in the water with a TDS meter to keep it as specific to your plants as possible.
That’s it. The setup is complete. Now it is about maintenance. When the herbs start growing bushy, trim them often. If left to grow too wild, they can often become more bitter in taste.
Common Pests and Diseases in Hydroponic Cilantro/Coriander
There are three common diseases in hydroponic coriander:
- Powdery mildew
- Bacterial leaf spot
Fortunately, while pests do occur in hydroponic coriander it is quite rare. BUT you should be cautious of the diseases that they can suffer from. The first to be aware of is powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a fungus. The common symptoms are – powdery things on the leaves, stunted growth, chlorotic leaves, and severe infections. Moderate temperatures and high humidity are responsible for this pest. Make sure you don’t provide excess fertilizer, and try to bring your cilantro/coriander into the sun when you notice symptoms. Sulphur and fungicide can also be sprayed to avoid infection.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Another common disease is “Bacterial leaf spot.” You may notice tiny water-soaked spots, which turn black. Stems will also have the enlarged blackish streaks. This disease may arise because of bad seeds, or faulty foliar irrigation. It’s a difficult disease to control. So before planting the seeds, you should make sure seeds are free of pathogens.
Pythium is the last one, which spreads because of contaminated water or equipment. Sometimes the seeds, which rot and don’t germinate, give rise to this fungus. When this fungus attacks, the seedlings die after emergence.
In addition to this, there are some other pests, which are common in soil. Some of them are – armyworms, aphids, cutworms, nematodes, etc.
Harvesting Process of Hydroponic Cilantro/Coriander
The seeds of these herbs germinate within 7 to 10 days. Once they successfully germinate, they will begin to thrive in your nutrient solution. Fortunately you don’t need to worry about the maintenance, you just need to make sure to trim them when needed.
Coriander is ready to harvest between 40 to 48 days (after emergence). You can partially or fully harvest them. If they’ve been transplanted, the first harvest should be after 40 days, and the second harvest should be 55 days after transplanting. Remember that you will obtain a smaller yield in the second harvest. Therefore, it is better to use newer seeds and repeat the process to get a better result.
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After reading this guide, you should have a better understanding about how to grow coriander hydroponically.
If you’re new to hydroponics it’s a great starter plant, and you should have no trouble growing it! And remember, when you’re just starting out the wick system is probably your best choice!
And lastly, if you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise have a great day!