This mild-mannered, mild-flavored herb serves as a crisp garnish, a flavor accent, and it’s nutritious too. As a biennial plant, parsley is a bit more complicated to harvest than most perennials.
type of perennial: herb
Flat-leaf, curly-leaf, and root parsley, which looks like a white carrot and can be used to flavor soups and stews.
WHERE PARSLEY THRIVES
Parsley grows best in mild climates with some moisture in the ground, but can be grown nearly anywhere. If you keep it through the winter it can produce a crop in early spring. When grown in very cold regions, where temperatures drop below 5 degrees, mulch it well before the soil cools in the fall.
Optimal shade & sun
Parsley can thrive in partial or full sun.
Adaptability to Climate Extremes
Resilient in hot, dry weather, and can handle most cold winter weather, too.
Parsley is moderately drought resistant.
PREP YOUR SOIL
Optimal type of soil
Parsley grows well in a loamy, moist soil. It also likes soil that’s well-drained. Compost your parsley early in the growing season for the best results.
For best results, plant your parsley indoors, about ¼ inch deep, and transplant it after the first frost. Don't fret if your seeds take long to germinate. Parsley is known for having a slow start as seeds can take up to three weeks to sprout. Soaking parsley seeds overnight will help the process. If you start with parsley seedlings outside, plant them 6 to 9 inches apart. Some thinning may be required as they grow.
Best time of year to plant
If using seed, plant your parsley 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost.
Pair your parsley with chives, corn, tomatoes, carrots, or asparagus. Parsley also aids the growth of roses by repelling rose beetles.
Parsley should be ready to harvest within 3 months. Remove flower stalks during the first year of growth to keep leaf flavor strong and prevent the plant from going to seed too early.
Water regularly to maintain the moistness of the soil.
Add a layer of mulch to your parsley yearly to help prevent weeds from settling in. In regions where winters experience temperatures below 0 degrees, mulch parsley in the fall to help it overwinter.
Fertilizing is not necessary for parsley growth.
Adding mulch annually can help control weeds.
Parsley caterpillar can invade parsley. Pick them off with your hands if they start showing up.
No notable disease risks.
Particular growing challenges
See harvest to read more about biennial plant behavior.
Parsley is a biennial, which means it goes to seed and focuses on producing new seeds every other year. It also means the herb loses some growth and flavor in the off year. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it, though. In the first year, only pick leaves on the outside of the plant; the inner stalks will allow the plant to keep growing. In the second year you can still harvest a less-intensely flavored parsley. Parsley can also get bitter after it goes to seed the first time.
Store in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Hang parsley bunches upside down to dry.
Tahini Parsley Spread from Saveur