When summer is in full swing, it is important to make the right variety decision when planting coriander, especially in sub-tropical areas.
American Long and Moroccan are tried and tested varieties that will not only give growers peace of mind in their choice, but will also provide optimal yields under challenging growing conditions. With fluctuating temperatures and unstable market prices, it is important to have a variety with reliable yields and quality.
Coriander is an annual herb with bright green leaves that have an aromatic smell and taste. It is grown from direct drilling of seed at 10 – 20 kg per hectare. Seed must be planted 1 – 1.5 cm deep with an interplant spacing of 8 – 10 cm. The ideal distance between rows is 30 – 35 cm. Growers can plant American Long and Moroccan at the same time in summer, and harvest the quicker-maturing Moroccan first and the slower-maturing American Long later.
American Long is a taller plant than other varieties. Mature American Long is a vigorous plant and will grow around 12 – 15 cm in 6 weeks. The more abundant and bigger leaves will result in higher yields, better market prices and better income per hectare.
Moroccan is a shorter plant than American Long and will bolt if it is harvested too late. Moroccan will mature to around 10 – 12 cm in five weeks. The smaller plant is also Moroccan’s biggest advantage as it can be a week faster to mature, which may allow an extra planting in the summer. Moroccan is well adapted to the extreme heat experienced in summer and will tolerate more stress before it wilts.
Temperature fluctuations in summer can result in coriander starting to bolt. American Long has good tolerance to bolting and this means some flexibility in harvesting. If the process is disrupted, for example by heavy rain, then harvest can be delayed for a time without losses. Other varieties tend to bolt more quickly and any disruption in harvesting can lead to losses.
American Long has a very mild aroma in its stems and leaves, making for a perfect salad ingredient or garnish for the summer. To increase product shelf life, it is recommended that the plant is pulled complete with roots. This will provide an extra few days to market the product in prime condition.
Moroccan has more of a pungent smell and taste, and is ideal for cooking especially in stews or curries. Moroccan has excellent regrowth potential. A grower can cut and bunch it, and allow it to grow out again for another harvest. This coriander type’s seeds can be found as multigerm (split seeds), which will result in more than one plant growing from a single seed.