Garden Maintenance

How to Trim Cilantro [Easy Step by Step Guide]

Regular trimming of cilantro delays flowering and thus extends harvest time for the leaves. Find out in this article how to trim cilantro the proper way!

Pruning your cilantro will thus delay flowering and therefore the arrival of seeds. Also, after flowering, the leaves are less good and less tender, trimming the cilantro will therefore allow you to harvest the leaves for a longer time.

Cilantro grows best in cooler climates with well-drained soil and adequate sunlight. Proper pruning of the cilantro plant allows you to harvest fresh leaves whenever you need them. Once the plant has developed cilantro seeds, they are ready to harvest within 45 to 70 days.

How to Trim Cilantro Step by Step

When it comes to cilantro, trimming is relatively easy. All that is needed is to cut the cilantro plants to about a third of the depth. The upper third is what you will use for cooking, and the lower two thirds will grow new leaves.

To trim the cilantro, you will need a pair of scissors.

Step 1: Before trimming the cilantro, wait until the plant is at least 15 cm high .

Remove all dead, discolored, and diseased foliage from the cilantro plant with sharp scissors. Foliage removal helps the cilantro plant focus on new growth.

Step 2: Remove the cilantro flowers when you notice them blooming. Remove the flower buds to delay the bolting

Removing the flowers ensures that the cilantro plant will continue to produce new leaves and prevents the formation of seeds on the plant. Once the plant has developed seeds it will begin to die.

Step 3: Cut back the cilantro plant in the spring or summer. Allow the stems to grow 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) tall. Trim the cilantro by cutting the stems towards the base with the scissors.

Cut the plant only when you need to use the harvested leaves. Trim each stem harvested from the ground.

Step 4: Let the plant reach 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) again before pruning again. After you harvest the cilantro plant a second time, it will begin to stop growing when the outside temperature gets too high for the plant.

Tip: If you mainly want to prune the leaves of the cilantro, there is a trick to suppress flowering: Sow the cilantro rather late, between mid-April and mid-June. On the other hand, if you want to harvest seeds, sow early, namely from the end of March.

How to Trim Cilantro Leaves

Tip : Always use a sharp and clean cutting tool to protect the cilantro plants from infection with fungal spores or viruses.

Start picking cilantro leaves about 2 months after sowing. Throughout the season, which will last from May to October or the first frosts, cut a few leaves as needed. The plant is never as fragrant as it is freshly cut, so pick it the same day.

Depending on your needs, you can use a sharp knife or scissors to either cut off entire shoots close to the ground or pick individual leaves. However, avoid stripping more than a third of the cilantro plant so as not to weaken it.

The leaves of the cilantro plants can be trim continuously during the growing season. Prune the cilantro by clipping the leafy stems near the ground when they are 10 to 18 inches tall.

Use the fresh shoots for cooking, but leave the older leaves on as they can taste bitter. Don’t cut more than a third of the stems at a time, as this will weaken the plant.

Cut the plants close to the ground and hang them in bunches of three to five stems in a warm, dry place where they can ripen.

If your main interest is in the foliage, you can plant it in the shade and it will flower later. Cut off the umbels before the dainty white flowers appear, so the cilantro doesn’t put its power into the seeds. 

When the self-grown or purchased young plants have developed into strong herbs, the leaves of the cilantro can be trimmed continuously. 

Depending on whether you only want to use the fresh leaves or later also the seeds of the cilantro plants, you can either cut off whole shoots close to the ground or harvest the leaves individually with scissors. 

If seeds are to be harvested, one should not cut off too many at a time to avoid weakening the plant too much. At the same time, however, pruning is urgently needed to avoid the formation of flowers and seeds too quickly. 

How to trim large amounts of cilantro

It usually happens for consumption in large quantities, or when the cilantro plant is severely weakened and has a lot of unwanted bugs. This pruning makes the plant sprout stronger, and the time varies according to each type of seasoning. 

Stiff-stemmed plants will take longer to grow, while plants with no or soft stems can grow in about two weeks. 

It is possible to do this type of pruning in parsley, chives, cilantro and mint. The mint can be pruned at the height of the ground, and in these cases it is necessary to leave 3 cm of stem, which guarantees regrowth. Parsley should be pruned above its first branch.

Speaking of pruning, here is a simple step by step guide how to prune dragon fruit!

How often should you trim cilantro?

You should trim cilantro about once a week. If the plant grows well, you can trim more often. Either way, you’ll need to trim cilantro at least once a week to keep it from closing. After you’ve harvested the cilantro, if you can’t cook it right away, you can freeze the cuttings until you’re ready to cook with them.


You don’t have to be a professional gardener to figure out how to care for cilantro. Knowing how to trim cilantro is a necessary skill to grow and enjoy cilantro for a longer period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cut cilantro?

Cilantro leaves are ready for trimming 45 to 70 days after planting. Cut the outer leaves once they are 4 to 6 inches long. Another option is to cut the entire plant 1 to 2 inches above ground level to use both the small and large leaves.
When cutting the cilantro stem, be sure to use sharp, clean shears or scissors. Leave a few leaves on the stem intact so the plant can still generate food for itself.

How much cilantro to trim?

You can trim cilantro leaves according to your needs. However, be careful not to cut more than a third of the plants so that the leaves can grow back.

When to cut cilantro leaves?

When the seedling reaches 6 ”, start pruning the twigs to use when you need them. The best time to cut is before the cilantro blooms in June. To do this the individual cilantro leaves should be cut off together with the stalk, so that the growth center of the plant is preserved. As a result, new cilantro leaves are formed again and again.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.