I am growing the cilantro indoors. I bought a cilantro plant from Walmart(it was already a half-grown plant in a small container like a seedling container) on the 20th of Jan and today I transferred it to a bigger pot.

As you can see in the picture:Plant root system when removed from the original small pot

The stalks are clumped together and the root system has grown in that small shape of the container and the roots of some stalks are sort of a little outside the soil's top layer. Should I separate the stalks because to do so I will have to cut through the roots, or will my planting work (I put it in the center of the pot as in the picture).

Planted in the center of the pot and the plant is drooping

Also, as you can see the plant is drooping and I am assuming it is because of underwatering. The conditions - the pot is in the living area against the patio doors and they receive sunlight from around noon to evening, I live in Fairfax, VA (I am not sure about the zone thing). Should I reduce the sunlight?

I am also growing basil which is growing pretty well, that is the main reason I am confused about the drooping of the cilantro and thought maybe they are starving each other by being so close. Also, I have pruned and harvested the plant today that is the reason there are so few leaves. If any more information is required I am happy to provide it.

Thank you in advance.

  • Would the goal be to break them up and spread them out or are you okay with them growing closely to one another?
    – Rob
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


What you bought was not “a cilantro plant” but a whole cluster of seedlings. Herbs that are sold in the produce section of stores are often not produced for long-term planting, but for a somewhat extended storage - think of them as a bunch, but with roots attached to prevent immediate wilting.

For that, seeds are planted very densely, way more than you would in a regular gardening scenario. This makes for a “dense” bundle and the competition will encourage the individual plants to grow “as fast as they can” to outrun the others. Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable scenario. Over time, some will win that race and others will perish. Natural selection.

Now, what does that mean for your pot? That’s for you to decide. As it is, not all seedlings will reach maturity, even with diligent watering and fertilizing. You can accept that and, as time goes, by carefully pull out dead plants from the cluster (you don’t want them to rot in there). You can start thinning out the plants when you harvest for your kitchen. Or you can gently try to pry apart the root-bound cluster and plant small sections of a few plants a few inches apart. Even just opening up the square into a kind of “ribbon” will help to give the individual plants a better chance. Some loss is to be expected, but that’s inevitable in any scenario. Don’t plant deeper than the seedlings grow naturally, the “heart” should stay above the soil level.

If you want a little cilantro patch, consider growing it from seed next time. It’s quite easy to germinate and you have better control about planting distance.

  • Thank you. I think I'll keep growing it the way it is until it dies (hopefully a party of it lives). Also, I should fertilize in the spring not right, that's what I read in some online articles. Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 23:59

Cilantro doesn't take well to transplanting. I would just thin the seedlings after repotting, removing the weakest ones.

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