I bought a pot of cilantro from the supermarket. After 1 day at home it's now wilted. The soil is moist and the plant is near a sunny window. enter image description here

  • 1
    I'd suggest keeping it out of sunlight - the one I bought 3 days ago from the supermarket isn't quite as bad, but almost - mine's out of the sun but on the windowsill. Seems to want a lot of water even so, which means it must be taking it up, but its not stood upright since I removed the outer bag, unlike the basil and parsley bought at the same time. Don't leave it sitting in water for longer than 30 minutes, it won't help... – Bamboo May 8 '18 at 21:48
  • Make this an answer Bamboo. I've done the same thing and when I chopped all that weight off, it stood up and started growing again. I used every bit of that cilantro i chopped off. This year I am growing it seriously...we use this more than any other herb seems like. – stormy May 9 '18 at 0:08
  • @stormy - given these supermarket ones are usually lots of little plants, have you ever tried splitting the rootball and growing the sections on separately, if you use a lot of it? I don't use enough of this particular herb to try that... answer posted, as requested! – Bamboo May 9 '18 at 14:16
  • These cilantro plants come to the store during the growing season while I am already growing cilantro in the greenhouse and grow room. I've purchased butter lettuce with the roots and basil with roots...I thought that this was just a gourmet way to get the freshest herbs when one doesn't have a garden. Not a way to actually start plants though it is possible. Thus the wilted cilantro. Major stress with water filled turgid plants...of course this will happen. Nice answer!! This hardening off is a big deal to remember...even at this scale, the sill of the window. – stormy May 9 '18 at 22:48

Wilting is a sign of transplant shock; a severe change in environment, or damage to the roots, may cause issues like this, too. In your case, I'm thinking it's just not hardened off to your windowsill. Whatever the cause the solution is often (not always) the same. Extra leafy plants can be especially problematic, since they require more water than plants with fewer leaves (and they can't get as much water due to the transplant shock, or whatever the issue is). Leaves that have endured drought can sometimes be permanently altered in their function.

I would suggest the following:

  • Trim off some leaves to eat (ideally the biggest, oldest, wilting ones).
  • Mist your plant (it helps to get some water to the leaves)
  • Give it some potassium sulfate or wood ash (potassium helps plants to absorb water)
  • Don't give it any nitrogen at this point (that can make issues like transplant shock worse)
  • If you want to be extra cautious, reduce light levels for a while (but reducing the number of leaves should reduce the light the plant is getting; new leaves that grow should be adapted)

Bamboo's suggestion of just keeping it out of bright sunlight should be sufficient, though! But I'd personally give it some potassium, too, at least.

If the plants are too immature, removing some leaves may not help.

  • 1
    I gave it some water overnight and the next day was not as sunny and it did perk up a bit. – user1261710 May 10 '18 at 10:15

The trouble with supermarket herbs is, they're surrounded by a plastic bag which supports the foliage - when you remove that outer wrap, they often flop over completely. Usually, with basil and others, you can water and they will stand up again, but my coriander (cilantro as you call it there) looks very similar to yours, bought about 4 or 5 days ago, and hasn't stood up. It's not as bad as yours, but then mine's not in sunlight, its on a windowsill that provides good light but no sun, so I suggest you move it out of the sun, because it won't be helping.

These plants (usually more than one, several seedlings initially, over-fertilized and forced to grow on to provide quick foliage for sale, unlike ones sold in garden centres which are proper plants) seem to require frequent watering, so make sure you do that, but don't leave it sitting in water after 30 minutes, it won't help and may cause fungal problems. Use the foliage in cooking and when you do, cut it off near the base to force new growth - as it regrows, it should then be upright and you may even be able to let it have some sun through that window. And I don't recommend giving any fertilizer at all - it will have been overdosed before sale anyway.

  • 1
    And great point about fertilizer...they do overdose with fertilizer. Nurseries should always give a care sheet for that particular plant to include how long it has been in the setting it was found before purchase, recommendations on how to acclimate if necessary and what fertilizer was used, formulation and last date of fertilization. People just buy plants without even asking the staff or cashier. Short term perishables is what they become. And the buyer thinks it is because they have a black thumb. – stormy May 9 '18 at 22:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.