I grew coriander from seeds and the plant has done marvellously well until the last week or two where it appears to have stagnated a little. I noticed that some leaves have began to brown entirely, while others have brown tips.

This is a potted plant in heavy soil. I was very generous with fertiliser, and I do water on most days save for overcast and rainy days. I notice that the water takes a while to be absorbed into the soil. The soil is constantly wet too. I'm afraid I might have planted it in too heavy soil.

There is drainage below the plant. I used a bed of stones in a plastic pot with two holes. But I think the sand might be too heavy.

This plant gets at least five hours of sun, maybe more, on on sunny days, and the weather is sunny and mild year round (São Paulo, Brazil).

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  • 1
    Just a couple of observations. The part that is closest to the sun (upper right of the picture) looks mostly healthy so maybe sunlight is the problem. Also a few (but not all) of the browning leaves are not true leaves and will brown and fall off as the seedlings grow true leaves.
    – BRM
    Dec 16, 2013 at 21:19
  • When you say heavy soil I am assuming you mean from the garden out of doors? Not potting soil from a bag? That right there is a big deal. Seedlings should not have added fertilizer until the third set of leaves. Your cilantro looks too light of a green. The browning is normal for leaves that aren't making food for the plant because they don't get enough light and/or you are watering way too much. What have you fertilized with and how much? Do not water that pot unless it actually feels LIGHT. You'll water more when your cilantro grows more roots. You should THIN to 12 plants...!
    – stormy
    Jun 7, 2018 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


You may be watering too much if your soil is wet all the time. The top inch of soil should be allowed to dry out before you water your plants again, and the pot should be allowed to drain freely in between and not sit constantly in water. Constantly wet soil for most plants means you will get rotted roots. Rotting roots below will produce brown leaves above, because the rotten roots can't properly take up water and nutrients for the foliage and the plant eventually has to start cutting back on how many leaves it can support.

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    I agree. when its the lower leaf of the plant that goes brown i normaly think over water, same as if its just the edges. Upper leafs i tend to attribute to to much sun.
    – LindaL
    Dec 17, 2013 at 8:16
  • Agreed! And that kind of ghostly brown streaky look on the lower leaves is also often a pointer to rotten roots.
    – TeresaMcgH
    Dec 17, 2013 at 15:26
  • That seems reasonable given how heavy the soil I used. I'm wondering if I should repot them.
    – Mohamad
    Dec 17, 2013 at 16:30
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    Coriander takes so little time from seed to harvest that I'd just replant a new batch of seeds into lighter soil and try not to overwater it. Coriander has a long tap root, and plants with long tap roots generally don't transplant well after a certain size - plus, the roots are likely damaged, so they would have even less chance of making it.
    – TeresaMcgH
    Dec 17, 2013 at 17:33
  • I agree with you Teresa! Allow those coriander/cilantro babies deal with that garden soil, next batch, use potting soil. You need to thin. Lift that pot and feel the heft. Those little seedlings don't have enough roots to help suck the water out of that soil. Sitting water is death to plants unless they are aquatic. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out once your plants are mature. Right now, that is where all of their roots are hoping for water. Down below is soggy, anaerobic and they will not grow roots down into that environment. Are there drainage holes?
    – stormy
    Jun 7, 2018 at 6:40

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