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How to Grow Parsley

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Growing parsley in the home garden provides your kitchen with a delicious herb, but it can also draw in garden helpers. Some varieties of parsley are a favorite food source for different types of butterflies, so grow parsley in your garden since it will feed you and your fluttering friends!

Parsley is pretty on a plate, lovely in the garden, tastes amazing, and freshens breath. It’s a hard-working herb that’s easy to grow in a home garden. Parsley grows equally well in a container or an in-ground garden and makes a great companion plant in a flower bed.

Parsley is a biennial, which means that in its second year, it will flower. While flowering does not bode well for the flavor of your parsley, it will provide you with parsley seeds which you can save and replant.

The Benefits of Growing Parsley

If you’re wondering why you should include parsley in your home garden or herb garden, here are some pretty healthful reasons:

  • Parsley is rich in vitamins C and A
  • It has high levels of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium
  • Parsley is a great source of folate
  • It comes in a large number of varieties from curly to flat leaf to Italian; there’s something for everyone!

Plant and grow this attractive herb plant with these growing tips.

When To Plant Parsley

Parsley seeds and plants can be planted outdoors as soon as the soil is thawed and workable in the spring. You can also begin seeds indoors in a container in late winter.

Seeds will take longer to reach maturity than plants, so get the seeds in the ground (or started indoors) sooner than seedlings. Before moving your seedlings to the garden in the spring, be sure to harden them off to protect them from transplant shock.

Where To Plant Parsley

Plant parsley in a sunny location with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Work 2-inches of compost into soil before planting seeds or plants. (Want to start composting? Check out my guide on how to begin composting!)

Parsley will reach a mature size of 12-inches tall and 8-inches wide. It’s wise to plant it where you want to leave it. Parsley develops a large tap root, and moving a full sized plant can be difficult.

This favorite kitchen herb can be planted as part of an herb garden, in a container as a houseplant, or as an ideal border or edging plant in a flower garden. Its lush green leaves are also popular amongst butterflies, so consider it if you have a butterfly garden.

How To Care For Parsley

If growing indoors or in containers, feed every two weeks with water-soluble plant food. Parsley is an annual herb that is hungry and thirsty throughout its long growing season, so a water-soluble plant food helps keep the plants hydrated and fed in one easy step. I like to use Fox Farm fertilizers for these types of plants.

In late summer cut the plants back to 2-inches tall to encourage new growth of leaves in the fall. In moderate climates, parsley is fine to be left alone all winter. Ours has been snowed on and still survived, but check your local zone and guidelines to see if you may need to cover yours.

Harvesting Parsley

Harvest parsley by cutting the leafy stems from the base of the plant. This harvest method will make the plant grow back bushier and produce more leaves. Who doesn’t want more of those?

If you cut more parsley that you need for a recipe, simply place the cut stems in a glass with several inches of water. Cover the parsley with a plastic bag and place in the fridge. Your parsley should stay good for several weeks this way.

Saving parsley seeds to plant the following season is a great way to save money and to use everything your plant has to offer. Check out my full tutorial on How to Save Parsley Seed.

Common Varieties Of Parsley

  • Flat-leaf parsley (Italian parsley) is the best-known variety. The leaves are flat, deep green, and resemble cilantro. This variety has a strong fragrance and flavor.
  • Curled parsley has attractive curly bright green leaves, The flavor is a little stronger and somewhat different than the Flat leaf variety. Ideal for recipe use and for adding greenery to the flower garden.
  • Wega Triple Curled parsley is a very attractive curly variety that has lots of branching and an upright and uniform growth habit. The dark green frilly leaves are mild in flavor and ideal for container growing.

What about the parsley root?

Remember that tap root I mentioned earlier? Parsley root is a surprise delicacy that few people know about. Under the attractive frilly parsley leaves is growing an edible root that tastes like a cross between carrot and celery. The root is white and looks much like a parsnip. 

Often called Hamburg parsley (a specific variety of parsley), rooted parsley, or turnip-rooted parsley, the root of a parsley plant can be eaten raw or cooked. Peel before eating and add this flavorful part of the plant to soups or stews.

I’d love to know your favorite variety of parsley for growing! Comment below and let us know! Happy Gardening!

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