How to Grow Parsley

Parsley, native to Mediterranean regions, is a flowering plant that is part of the family Apiaceae. Parsley is commonly grown as a culinary herb due to the freshness it adds to food dishes in addition to being used as a dried spice. Two well-known types of parsley are curly-leaved parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and flat-leaved, or Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum). Curly-leaved parsley is typically used as a table garnish, while Italian parsley is often preferred by chefs for flavoring food.  In addition to its decorative and flavoring roles in the food industry, parsley also provides nutritional value and natural healing properties. The herb is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as vitamins K, A, and C. These vitamins offer blood clot, bone health, and antioxidant properties, overall playing important roles in heart health and immune health. Parsley is an easy herb to grow at home. If you have limited outdoor space, growing parsley indoors in a container with drainage holes is feasible. Seeds should be placed about 1-2 inches apart and about ¼ inch deep in the soil. When growing parsley indoors, it is best to place the container on a windowsill to ensure the herb receives as much sunlight as possible. However, if you do have an outdoor garden, parsley is a great addition.

Tips for Growing Parsley Outdoors 

Growing Season: Begin sowing the seeds during spring or early fall. Container: A large container size is necessary since, depending on the type parsley, the herb may grow 1-2 feet tall.  Spacing: Place seeds 1-2 inches apart. Place each seed about a ¼ inch deep in the soil.  Temperature: Parsley grows best in 65°F temperature. Sun: Parsley grows well in full sunlight, however, the herb can grow in partial shade too. Soil: Parsley thrives in fertile, nutrient-rich, and well-drained soil with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.0.  Water: Water the seedlings about 1-2 times per week, but make sure to avoid overwatering. When the plant reaches its full size, make sure it receives 1-2 inches of water per week. 

How to Harvest & Store Parsley

Once the herb is about 6 inches tall, you can begin harvesting the plant by first cutting the outside stems that are closest to the ground, which were the first stems to grow. This will allow for new growth, whereas cutting off stems at the top of the plant may prevent new growth. After harvesting your plant, it is best to wash the leaves, then dry the parsley before use in cooking. Parsley can either air dry or be placed in the oven at a warm temperature (100°F) for just a few minutes. Keep an eye on the parsley to ensure it does not burn in the oven. After drying, store parsley in an air-tight lid container in a cool and dark location.

Beware of... 

1. Pests Parsley is easy to grow, however, this herb is susceptible to several fungal diseases and pests. Common pests include parsley worm, cutworm, aphids, and carrot root flies. To get rid of pests using a natural remedy, a natural soap and water mixture is best. If your parsley has a pest issue, just mix 5 tablespoons of natural dish soap with 4 cups of water in a spray bottle and spray the solution on the plant every day for about a week.  2. Mint, Alliums, Lettuce and Carrots Parsley does not grow well when placed near some type of plants like mint, garlic, shallots, onions, lettuce and carrots. Alliums, for example, can stunt parsley growth. If parsley is planted near lettuce, this will actually affect the lettuce plant by making the lettuce seed too early in the growing season. When growing mint, avoid placing mint plants near parsley since mint has roots that spread and overtake other plants. And lastly, since carrots and parsley are both part of the Apiaceae family, they both attract carrot root flies, plus they may cross-pollinate.   3. Parsley Bolts When parsley plants start to flower, this means the plant has gone to seed. This will cause the plant to stop growing leaves. This often happens if the temperature outside is rapidly increasing and becomes too hot for the plant. To avoid bolting, you can move your plant to a shady spot. You can also snip off the flowers as soon as possible, although it is possible that the flowering will occur again at a later time. In addition, you can move the plant indoors to try to avoid parsley flowering.

Interested in growing basil? Visit our blog on Basil Growing Tips

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