What to Plant with Cilantro (And What to Avoid)

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You’re already growing basil and parsley. But if you’re looking to add something new to your garden, cilantro is a wonderful, easy-care addition. For starters, its flavor is crisp, bright and intense when freshly picked, so it’s amazing in your favorite salsa recipe. Granted not everyone adores cilantro; some people actually have a gene that causes cilantro to taste like soap. But for the rest of us, it’s an easy-to-grow herb that has multiple harvest times.

Intrigued? We’re here to help—here’s how to care for cilantro, as well as our recommendations for what to plant with it (and what to avoid).

What You Should Know About Growing Cilantro

You can harvest cilantro leaves fresh, then let the plant go to flower, which will happen when the temperatures begin to rise. Pollinators go crazy for these tall flowers, which attract parasitic insects that feed on the nectar and attack unwanted garden pests such as caterpillars, stink bugs and aphids. Once the flowers go to seed, harvest the entire head and place it in a paper bag to catch all the tiny seeds, which are the spice coriander. Any seeds that fall in your garden may pop up again next spring.

What Should You Plant with Cilantro?

In addition, some gardeners believe planting cilantro with specific companion plants is beneficial. Although companion planting is mostly folklore, it’s based on the theory that certain plants may improve yield, keep bad bugs away and attract beneficial ones when planted together. It’s mostly anecdotal evidence, but there’s no harm in interplanting cilantro with other edibles and flowers; it will definitely bring in the pollinators needed for fruiting in plants such as squash and pumpkins.

When planting anything near your cilantro, make sure they’re plants that like similar environmental conditions. Cilantro tends to prefer cool whether, so it’s happiest in spring and fall gardens. It also has shallow roots, so it likes steady water, though it doesn’t want to stay sopping wet. Although it needs full sun in northern climates, cilantro prefers some shade, especially in the afternoon, in hotter parts of the country.

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The 8 Best Cilantro Companion Plants (in Our Opinion)

What to Plant with Cilantro Lettuce
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1. Lettuce

  • Why We Love It: Super-easy and fast to grow

Like cilantro, lettuce is a plant that likes regular moisture and doesn’t like heat so plant in spring before temperatures soar. Plant short rows in successive weeks for a long season of fresh greens.

What to Plant with Cilantro Swiss Chard
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2. Swiss Chard

  • Why We Love It: Gorgeous colors, produces from spring to fall

This green is both beautiful and edible. Swiss chard likes the same conditions as cilantro, which is cooler weather and consistent moisture.

What to Plant with Cilantro Cherry Tomatoes
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3. Cherry Tomatoes

  • Why We Love It: Prolific producer and better flavor than store-bought tomatoes

Garden-fresh tomatoes just taste better. Fact. Pairing plants with different growth habits is called “intercropping,” and there’s some data to show it’s effective. Because tomatoes need support to climb, they may be able to provide some shade to cilantro as the summer heat intensifies.

What to Plant with Cilantro Peppers
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4. Peppers

  • Why We Love It: Prolific crop that’s easy to grow

Like tomatoes, peppers love the heat and need supports to stay upright. These tall plants can provide shade to cilantro, which may help protect it from afternoon sun.

What to Plant with Cilantro Beans
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5. Beans

  • Why We Love It: Edible crop that pollinators love, too

Plant climbing beans, which need a trellis, alongside your cilantro. These fast growers may help cilantro produce for a longer period of time before it begins to go to seed.

What to Plant with Cilantro Spinach
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6. Spinach

  • Why We Love It: Easy and fast grower

Spinach loves cool weather and lots of moisture, so it’s an ideal companion plant for cilantro. Harvest baby leaves, or wait until it matures, which is typically within about 45 to 60 days for most varieties. Plant again in late summer for a fall harvest.

What to Plant with Cilantro Dill
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7. Dill

  • Why We Love It: Attractive flowers and pollinator-friendly

Dill has pretty, pale yellow blooms when it goes to flower, and it’s a pollinator magnet just like cilantro. Plant them together to welcome all the good bugs to your garden.

What to Plant with Cilantro Sweet Alyssum
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8. Sweet Alyssum

  • Why We Love It: Fragrant, low-growing annual that self-sows

Cilantro is sometimes plagued by aphids. Sweet alyssum is a great companion because tiny parasitic beneficials are attracted to this sweet-smelling plant, which blooms from spring to frost. They may stop to munch on any aphids on your cilantro!

What to Plant with Cilantro Avoid
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What to Avoid Planting with Cilantro

There are several plants that don’t generally do well when planted near cilantro. Lavender, thyme and rosemary prefer dry conditions, so they don’t thrive around cilantro, which likes regular watering. Fennel is another edible you should avoid as a companion plant for cilantro because it’s believed that cilantro hinders fennel seed formation.

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Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce, and many other national publications. She also trials new plant cultivars and field tests garden products to evaluate practicality and durability.

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Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...