Mexican coriander (Eryngium foetidum) is known by many names, including culantro and recao. This herb is popular in Mexican, Asian, Moroccan, Vietnamese and Thai cooking. Don't confuse Mexican coriander with cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), another common herb. Mexican coriander has long green leaves, and its pungent flavour makes it a popular herb for salsas, soups and sauces. Because it has many common names, look for its scientific name when buying seeds or seedlings.
Plant Mexican coriander in mildly acidic, neutral, or mildly alkaline soil, which is well-drained but kept constantly moist. The amount of moisture present is more important than the soil type when growing this herb.
Plant this herb in the shade. Mexican coriander will grow in full sun, but it is not the optimal condition. Plants grown in shady areas have larger, greener leaves and a more pungent aroma. Plant Mexican coriander in the shade, particularly if you plan on selling it, because it will be much more attractive.
Plant Mexican coriander after the last frost, in early spring. The plants need some cool weather, but they can't survive a frost. Plant them in rows, leaving about 6 inches between each plant. Allow another 6 inches between each row so that the plants don't crowd each other. Mulching will help keep the roots shaded and cool.
Mexican coriander plants produce small blue flowers as they mature. However, the leaves are the desired part of this plant, and when flowers begin growing, the leaves become tough and unsuitable for culinary uses. Therefore, you should harvest this plant before flowers begin forming (at about 8 to 10 weeks). Harvest Mexican coriander by removing the entire plant at soil level, which will encourage it to regrow and allows for optimal production.