Whether you call it coriander or cilantro, Coriandrum sativum is a controversial plant. If you were to line up six people and ask their opinion, four would praise the sprightly flavor of cilantro leaves, and two would make awful faces and come up with a descriptive phrase like this one, posted in response to a recent story in the New York Times: "mildewed canvas deck chair combined with the flavor of old window screen."
The controversial flavour problem has been traced to differences in aroma and taste perception, with some people missing the floral notes that make cilantro leaves taste and smell good. This may be a genetic trait, but it is subject to change. One of your two cilantro haters may eventually change their minds, while the other will forever consider cilantro to be a vile insult to the taste buds. The lesson here is simple: don't plan a dinner for guests without checking their coriander status first.
Cilantro in the Garden
European gardeners refer to coriander as coriander, while Americans call the leafy juvenile form cilantro and speak of coriander when growing plants for seeds. It's a handy distinction for gardeners, because this species is always in a hurry to produce flowers and seeds when grown in spring. The "cilantro stage" passes very quickly when days are getting longer and warmer, with most plants showing signs of bolting after 50 to 60 days in the garden. To have a continuous supply, you must keep planting more seeds. When the weather warms in summer, you can keep new crops coming by growing cilantro in the shade of taller plants like tomatoes.
As long as cilantro insists on bolting, a strong case can be made for allowing a pair of plants from your early spring planting to bloom and set seeds (the seed-to-seed process takes about 120 days). Clusters of white coriander blossoms make tremendous nectar plants for bees and butterflies, and a single well-grown coriander plant will yield about 400 seeds. Best of all, the seeds ripen just in time for late summer planting. When the mature seeds dry to tan, I crumble the seed-bearing branches where I want my fall crop to grow, as well as places where I would like to see cilantro seedlings in spring. Handled this way, coriander is one of the most successful reseeding crops in my garden.