Growing Parsley From Seed

How to Grow Parsley from Seed: Tips and Tricks for First-Time Gardeners

Before I get into growing parsley from seed, I'll just give you a quick overview of why people like to grow this herb in the first place.

Why do people grow Parsley? What are some of the main uses?

As it is a versatile herb, Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has many uses:

Culinary: Parsley is often used as a garnish, and is often used as a flavorful ingredient in dishes. It has a bright fresh flavor. This complements many different types of food.

Parsley can be added to salads, soups, stews, sauces, marinades, and more.

It is a staple ingredient in many countries and regions. These include Italy, where it is used in Pasta sauces; Morocco in the stew Tagines; in chimichurri sauce in Argentina; in bouquet garni in France, and in tabbouleh in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries (plus umpteen other dishes and countries!).

Parsley plant
Parsley by Forest and Kim Starr, CC.

Health: Parsley has been used for centuries as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Breath freshener: As Parsley is high in chlorophyll content, it makes for a natural breath freshener.

Decorative: Parsley has attractive bright green leaves with a delicate texture. It is often used to add color and texture to a dish.

Beverages: Parsley tea is quite a popular herbal tea. Simply steep fresh or dried parsley leaves in hot water.

Basic Growing Parsley From Seed Guide

If you are new to gardening and want to know the basics of how to grow parsley, then here are some tips to get you started:

Parsley seeds
Parsley seeds by Ryusuke Seto, CC.

Starting Parsley from seeds: Parsley seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate.

It is best to start them indoors six to eight weeks before the last expected frost date in your area (Growing Zones).

Once the seedlings have emerged and developed a few true leaves, they can be transplanted outdoors to their final location.

Flat-leaf parsley seedlings
Flat-leaf parsley seedlings (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) by SBT4NOW, CC.

Location: Parsley prefers a partially shaded location. Ideally it should receive at least 4-5 hours of sunlight per day. The location should have a well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Water requirements: Parsley prefers a moist soil, so make sure to water it regularly to keep the soil consistently moist. Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot.

Heat: As it is cold weather biennial plant, Parsley Bolting may occur early if the plant is subjected to too much stress, such as high heat or being moved to a new location once it has become established.

How to Fertilize: Parsley can benefit from regular fertilization, especially in poorer soils. Use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer every four to six weeks, during the growing season. Ideally add organic matter to poorer soils prior to transplanting parsley outdoors.

Harvesting regularly: Parsley can be harvested as soon as it has developed several sets of true leaves.

It is best to harvest starting from the outer leaves. This will allow the inner leaves to continue growing.

Regular harvesting will help to promote a bushier growth, and hence make it a more abundant crop.

Pest problems: Parsley is susceptible to pests such as aphids and spider mites. Keep an eye out for any signs of infestation, and treat leaves with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

It is also worth considering to grow parsley companion plants that can help to keep pests away, these include chives, basil, and roses.

By following these basic tips, you can grow healthy parsley plants from seed and enjoy fresh, flavorful herbs all season long.

References and Further Reading

RHS – "Parsley" –

The Mom 100 – How to Use Parsley in Your Cooking –

The Old Farmer's Almanac – Parsley: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Parsley Plants:

Sustainable Gardening Australia – "Growing Parsley"

I hope you have enjoyed this article on growing Parsley From seed and the bit of background information on this herb, you may enjoy some of my other growing guides, such as How to grow Cilantro, Thyme plants, and Basil plants.

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