Watch CBS News

Bolting Flowers Going to Seed

by KYW's Phran Novelli

Whoa, what happened to my cilantro? It was just a cute little herb plant, then all of a sudden it shot up about 2 feet high and it's covered with flowers. Gardeners call this behavior 'bolting' and it's the plant going quickly to seed.

Lots of plants do it, including parsley and lettuces – it happens when the weather gets hot. The plant gets a signal that the end is near and rushes to make a new generation. Quick! Flowers! Seeds! Mission accomplished. Except not for you if you were planning on making salad or salsa, you're out of lettuce or cilantro and out of luck. Because, once a plant bolts to seed, it tends to turn bitter and it'll leave a bad taste in your mouth.

To have a fresh supply of lettuce or herbs all summer, many people just plant seeds every couple of weeks. So, I think I'll catch some of those cilantro seeds my plant is making now and get some new plants going.

(Photo: by Phran Novelli. Cilantro bolting to flower and seed. The broad leaves of the herb now overtaken by spindly leaves and loads of flowers, followed by seedheads.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.