I'm growing some herbs in pots on my patio, and I've let things get away from me a bit: my cilantro and lemon basil are flowering. I know it's considered bad to let my cilantro flower like that, and it'll not taste as good now, but is the same true for lemon basil?

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure how it will taste, but letting it flower is a disaster for other reasons - this plant is a half hardy annual, which means its main purpose is to flower, set seed and die - flowering means it's on the way to setting seed, so clip those off immediately. I can't say I've noticed any deterioration in flavour in the leaves on ordinary Basil when I've missed a few flowers, but then I've never left them on the bush for too long.


In response to a comment below, another matter to clear up - the use of the word 'cilantro' is largely confined to America and spanish speaking countries. The plant concerned is Coriandum sativum, and in the UK, we call the plant coriander, including the leaves and seeds. In America, though, it seems you call the leaves and plant itself 'cilantro' (a Spanish word) but the seeds produced 'coriander'. Whatever local names are used, the plant is still Coriandum sativum.

  • 2
    Cilantro won't be cilantro anymore but the seed is Coriander. Yes?
    – stormy
    Jun 24, 2014 at 18:52
  • 1
    @stormy - pinging you just so you definitely see the Update in the answer
    – Bamboo
    Jun 25, 2014 at 11:13

Just chop the flowering tops off your basil and it will grow new branches with perfectly tasty leaves on them. Towards the end of the summer, let a few plants go to seed so as to collect the seed for growing next year.


In general, flowering will take all the energy from the plant so you don't want to reach that stage for basil or cilantro. So, if you have already reached that stage I would remove the flowers for both plants. I have experienced that with cilantro and when that happens the new cilantro leaves don't have the same flavor as the original ones. For basil, I would chop off the top third of the plant so it gets bushier rather than a tall plant. This will give you more basil.

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