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Old April 27, 2007   #1
cmpman1974
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Default Culantro Seed

I was on vacaton in southern FL 2 years ago and saw Culantro was grown a lot. I live in Michigan and really want to give this "Cilantro-like" substitute a shot. Does anyone have viable seeds for trade? I bought some commercial seed from an outfit in OH 2 years ago (Horizon Herbs), but got 0% germination.

Chris
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Old April 27, 2007   #2
mdvpc
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Chris-I can look and see if I have seed. Culantro is also called Mexican Cilantro. Germination is dicey, and takes some time. Its a warm weather plant. PM me and this weekend I will take a look for seed.
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Old April 29, 2007   #3
Trudi
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I had to look this up, I'v never heard of Culantro.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eryngium_foetidum

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/p...99/v4-506.html

http://www.caribbeanseeds.com/culantro.htm
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Old April 30, 2007   #4
cmpman1974
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Thanks for the good info sources Trudi. I'm looking forward to growing this herb. I'm always up for the unusual.

Chris
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Old May 1, 2007   #5
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Well, whaddya know.

I first thought it might be the Chinese cilantro I love so much, but as soon as I saw the picture in the first link, I knew it wasn't.

I grew this last year in my garden because I thought my wife might like it. She did not, so I pulled it out one week ago.

I live in zone 8, The temperature got down to 14 degrees this past winter. That did not kill it. I know Michigan gets colder, but this stuff is good down to 14 degrees. I imagine you could pot it up, and place it in a semi-protected place to over-winter if you wanted.

I have no seeds. It was given to me as a cutting.

Good luck.

Michael
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Old May 6, 2007   #6
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From my own experience, Culantro is very difficult to germinate. The plants are tiny when they do germinate and die if you breathe on them too hard. I personally think you're better off to find a plant. I've actually found them at my local Publix store. I'm sure some nurseries would carry them too.

So is there a difference then between Chinese Culantro and Mexican Culantro? I love the Asian Culantro, (yummy in soups).
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Old May 6, 2007   #7
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My wife studied in Panama for a year, she was introduced to culantro there, and loves the stuff. Here's what I can share:

Culantro is not related to cilantro in ANY WAY. It tastes similar (I think it tastes identically yucky), and of course the names are almost the same.

It's difficult to germinate, and the seed germination rate is only 50-75% even if you do everything right. Plus, it's slow growing, and hates to be transplanted. Have I talked you out of growing it from seed yet?

Bowing to pressure from the Mrs. to get her some culantro and *pronto*, I found that Johnny's Selected Seeds sells culantro seeds. I scattered, oh, maybe 75-100 seeds in a plastic container a coupla months ago. I have 30-40 baby seedling things up right now. What to do? Thin and just keep three? Naah, I'm going to try to transplant some into their own pot and hope some survive.

Oh, and they don't like direct sun all day, which I find real strange for a heat-loving plant like this. Just a few hours of sun during the day, they want shade otherwise.

J
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Old May 7, 2007   #8
Granny
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Soilsniffer, one of the small sites that offer Latin American seeds only show culantro seeded into a styrofoam cooler full of dirt. (I assume with drain holes.) Apparently they never move it from that "planter" - just put it out in the yard, LOL.
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Old May 9, 2007   #9
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Chris, EM me if you are still looking for seed. I can try collecting seed from my plant, however, I have never seen a volunteer, so I believe what the others here have said about it being difficult to germinate. I never germinated any, and bought mine growing in a 3 inch pot, squeezed it out and transplanted it into a bigger pot.
Although it tastes and smells like cilantro, I don't actually use it as a cilantro substitute because it is thorny, and the leaves are thick and have sharp prickly edges. It is much easier to grow in our climate than cilantro, which will often bolt quickly in our heat. I use culantro for soups, since the hot liquid softens it up. It is really good in Vietnamese pho. For fresh eating, salsas, salads, finishes, and garnishes, I prefer to use cilantro.
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Old May 10, 2007   #10
Soilsniffer
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Here's what I have going on:



White Tupperware, far left: What's left of the 100 or so culantro seeds I planted early March. Soil was kept moist, and on a heating pad, then placed next to a window after germination.

Two round pots: On 8 May, I transferred these from the Tupperware. one by itself, and a clump of three that were REAL close together.

Square pot: On 9 May, transferred a single seedling, and two that were REAL close together.

Next: Transferring two or three that were REAL close together, but separating them into individuals first.

J

Photo hosting courtesy of Feldoncentral.com . Thanks!
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Old May 10, 2007   #11
Fert1
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Soilsniffer, I'm impressed. I never managed to grow any from seed that made it long enough to get that big. I bow to your superior skills!
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Old May 11, 2007   #12
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Soilsniffer's wife here. I think the secret is keeping the soil warm. The pot was kept on a heating pad for quite a while, and germination took a long time. Culantro is dirt cheap in Panama at the supermarket, so it can't be THAT hard to grow or else it would not be worth growing to sell. No heating pad necessary at 7 degrees north though...

And I did not say "pronto", I've been asking for culantro for 7-8 years. We did try to grow from seed a few years ago without success. I do not think DH used a heating pad that time.
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Old May 11, 2007   #13
Soilsniffer
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Yes, dear.

Love you,
J
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Old May 17, 2007   #14
Soilsniffer
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Thanks for the props, Fert1. Maybe culantro isn't as delicate as its reputation.

I cut a soil section that contained three culantro plants, spaced less than 1/2 centimeter apart. I cut a small square in the soil, digging down about two inches. I pulled apart each plant similar to how I separate tomatoes, and re-planted them individually in a new pot. The results:



They're not too happy right now, but they are improving. Conclusion so far: Culantro's not so wimpy. These three were bare-rooted for a bit, and my fingers were all over them while I was separating.

Here's an update on how the other culantros are doing, 17 May:



Maybe I'll have enough to add to a soup in ... oh, three or four more MONTHS?

J
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Old May 17, 2007   #15
Fert1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soilsniffer View Post
Thanks for the props, Fert1. Maybe culantro isn't as delicate as its reputation.
It was pretty !*@#!! delicate when I tried to grow it from seed. None of mine made it anywhere nearly large enough to separate. They were the tiniest things I've ever seen, and stayed tiny for what seemed like forever, until which time they promptly died. You obviously did something right though. Those plants actually look pretty healthy.

Mine I picked up at Publix is healthy enough. I think the trick is keeping them alive long enough until they can get a little size going. Early on it's very tricky.
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