Learning Download: How to Grow Parsley

From Seed to Harvest: A beginner’s guide to growing parsley

Parsley is a very common herb grown in the garden. It has a fern-like appearance, and it is typically used as a garnish to beautify meals and has a slightly bitter taste, parsley works well when planted along a border, and it contains vitamins like calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Parsley is in the same family as dill. Flat-leafed parsley is best used for cooking since it has a stronger flavor and curly-leaf parsley makes a prettier garnish.

To plant:

Like most herbs, parsley can be grown indoors, in a container or in the garden. Parsley seeds can be sown directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, but they also can be started indoors six weeks before moving out to the garden since parsley has a slow germination rate of three weeks or longer. Parsley seeds are small, so to plant just sprinkle them over the soil and do not cover with more soil. Once you place the seeds, mist them with water. To encourage parsley to have a better germination, soak the seeds in water overnight. When planting in the garden, plant the seeds 6 to 8 inches apart. Plant parsley near asparagus, tomatoes and corn. 

To grow:

Parsley is a hardy herb and it will grow in poor soils, although it does best if planted in rich, organic soil. Parsley grows best in full sun or partial shade, and it requires little maintenance once it is established. 

Parsley is mostly disease resistant, though it can be a victim to aphids. It will require watering and weeding, but mulching can allow the soil to retain moisture and prevent weeds. 


To harvest:

Once parsley leaves begin to curl or when the leaves have three separate segments, they are ready to harvest. Parsley can be harvested all year long, especially if grown inside. Pick parsley leaves early in the morning as that is when the herb’s scent is the strongest. To harvest parsley, cut the leaves from the outer part of the plant first. To store fresh parsley, snip entire stems and keep the stems immersed in water in the refrigerator.

What parsley craves:

Prior to planting the parsley, amend the soil with organic matter like manure or compost. Depending on whether you are growing parsley in the ground or in a pot dictates how to fertilize it.

If growing parsley in the ground, parsley does best with a single application of fertilizer halfway through the growing season with a 5-10-5 fertilizer. Growing parsley in pots calls for more fertilizer, so apply fertilizer every six weeks for pots indoors and every four weeks if grown in pots outdoor.

Where to buy parsley seeds:

You can find many different varieties of parsley seeds at Urban Farmer