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Cilantro turning bright pink!


I’m having an odd issue with my cilantro (coriander) plant. It was growing lush and dark foliage but in the last couple weeks it has started turning red/pink. The pink leaves don’t have much flavor compared to the green ones. 

I can’t find any info about this by googling. 
Has anyone encountered this before?

-It doesn’t look like it’s bolting. 
-Maybe it’s too crowded? There are a few small plants in the container. 
-Seems like it’s getting enough light since it’s not stretching. It’s growing indoors under grow lights. 
-I have to assume it’s not too much light since cilantro likes full sun, but maybe I’m wrong.
-I’ve been fertilizing with liquid fertilizer (7-9-5) once per week since the soil is definitely depleted. Maybe too much?
-Some minor damage from thrips (I think) but not much. They don’t seem to like the cilantro. Just sticking to killing my basil :)
-I use a kelp foliar spray twice per week. 

Can’t think of anything else. Let me know if you’ve got any ideas!




  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,312
    edited November 2020
    Hi Jim and welcome to the forum
    The pink leaves are dying off - hence the lack of taste.
    Pink and red colourtion is often caused by a chill, or generally temps that are too cool - is that a possibility? (look at the colour of tree leaves this time of year)
    Alternatively, it's just the older leaves dying off.

    You may also be over-fertilizing, sounds like a lot of feed you're giving them.
    I doubt they're getting too much light.

    Hmmm - thrips and basil! we've all been there! :)

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Hi Pete. Thanks for your response. 

    I don’t think cold temps would be the issue. They’re in my living room which fluctuates between about 65-75 F. 

    So maybe it is just that the leaves have been on the plant for too long as you suggested. The smaller new leaves are a nice dark green. I guess I just need to harvest more often!

    I’ll try fertilizing a little less as well. 

  • I grow coriander in my garden as an annual, the leaves always go pink/red when dying off.  I have found self sown seedlings the following year which I usually leave where they are growing and sow a few fresh seeds. I have never tried to keep it growing during the winter as coriander likes sun, longer days and heat.
  • Hi Joyce,

    Good to know! Sounds like it’s just a natural part of the life cycle then. It occurs to me that this is the longest I’ve been able to keep cilantro alive so that makes sense...  :#

    I’m growing indoors, under lights. So I’ll continue sowing new seeds about once a month or until I run out of space. 
  • I love fresh coriander. When I lived near Reading I used to buy a big bunch of really large leaved, strongly flavoured fresh coriander from the market, from a lovely Indian gentleman who grew it himself. Totally different to the coriander I grow and also what you can buy in the supermarket. I am assuming it must have been a different variety.
    Lovely in salads and curries. Mmm!
  • Ohh interesting. It somehow never occurred to me that there were different types!

    I mostly use it when I make guacamole. Or honestly just stand next to my plant and munch on some leaves. 
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