herb garden ideas

Papalo: get to know this Mexican herb

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In a recent post, I featured one of my favourite herbs, Vietnamese coriander. Judging by the social media response, it seems that a lot of gardeners love Vietnamese coriander as much as I do!  Therefore, in case you were looking for more herb garden ideas, I thought I’d pass along another easy-to-grow, cilantro-like herb; papalo.

Papalo is an attractive plant, growing up to three-feet tall with gently scalloped, blue-green leaves. It makes a great pot plant, but I like to tuck it in my raised beds with other edibles. I sourced my seed from Johnny’s Seeds, and sowed the seed indoors in early April. As a Mexican herb, it’s sensitive to cold weather, so don’t move it to the garden until after the last spring frost.

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herb garden ideas

Papalo is both pretty and productive, with gently scalloped leaf edges.

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Papalo has a strong cilantro-like flavour, but a little goes a long way. If you’re adding it to tacos, salsa, and other dishes that benefit from a cilantro flavour, start with a few chopped leaves, adding more as needed. My favourite way to use it is in roasted tomatillo & jalapeno salsa, substituting it for the cilantro (just use half the suggestion amount of papalo for the cilantro). It’s very easy to make and so good to eat!

Have you tried growing papalo? 

Papalo is an easy-to-grow Mexican herb with a deep cilantro flavor! (Savvy Gardening)

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5 Responses to Papalo: get to know this Mexican herb

  1. Cathy says:

    Hello, I’ve not hear of papalo. What’s the beneift of choosing this over cilantro?
    Thanks, Cathy

    • Papalo is very heat tolerant, while cilantro thrives in the cool temperatures of spring and fall. Growing papalo means you can have the flavor of cilantro at a time when the plants aren’t in season.

    • Scott says:

      I have heard that unlike Cilantro, Papalo does not bolt (until late in the fall). So essentially you can use it most of the season without it turning to seed so quickly. The seed actually resembles dandelion seed with parachutes.

  2. Stefan Matzke says:

    Papalo has nothing to do with silantro. It is a very unique flavour. Basically you use this plant in Mexico for digesting very fat food better… Not everybody likes that strong taste. But if you like it, than it is a love for life 😉

  3. Elea says:

    I love this herb. I found it at my local nursery and gave it a go. It’s a winner. The flavor is unique, VERY strong but tastes amazing in Mexican food and pairs together with Mexican food like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, birds and feathers and so on and so forth. It does seem like a flavor that would be love/hate but I love it. I also love cilantro but it is very different other than they both pair well with mexican food flavors. It went to seed. I collected the seeds and planted them the following year. They all sprouted and grew easily and now I have more Papalo than I know what to do with. I’d love to know what other people use it for and what they use it for in Mexico? I used it in guacamole and salsa.

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