How to Grow Parsley: A Comprehensive Guide

Cultivating Parsley: A Flavorful Garden Staple

Parsley, a versatile and flavorful herb, is a popular addition to a variety of dishes, from garnishes to main ingredients. Its lush green leaves brighten your garden and pack a punch of vitamins and minerals. As someone who always grows parsley, I can attest to the joy and satisfaction it brings to both the garden and the kitchen.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to grow parsley effectively and explore the world of companion planting to optimize your garden’s health and yield. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to grow your own parsley and cultivate a flourishing garden.

Parsley Varieties

Curled Leaf Parsley

Before delving into the best practices for growing parsley, it’s essential to understand the different varieties available. The two primary types of parsley are:

  1. Moss Curled Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. crispum) Also known as Curled Leaf Parsley, this variety has bright green, tightly curled leaves. It’s commonly used as a garnish and in salads or soups.
  2. Italian Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum) Called Flat Leaf Parsley or Flat Parsley, it has broad, flat, dark green leaves with a robust flavour. Popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.
  3. Giant of Italy Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum ‘Gigante d’Italia’) A cultivar of Italian Parsley with large, dark green leaves, known for its
    Flat Leaf Parsley

    impressive size and vigorous growth.

  4. Hamburg Rooted Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum) This variety is grown for its large, edible roots, which have a nutty, earthy flavour. It is commonly used in soups and stews.

How to Grow Parsley from Seed

Learning how to grow parsley can be a rewarding experience, as this versatile and flavorful herb brings life to various dishes and adds a touch of greenery to your garden. Follow these simple steps to cultivate a thriving parsley patch that will provide fresh, aromatic leaves for your culinary creations:

  1. Choose the right variety: Decide whether you want to grow Moss Curled, Italian, Giant of Italy, or Hamburg Rooted Parsley based on your culinary preferences and garden space.
  2. Select a location: Pick a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. However, parsley can tolerate partial shade once established.
  3. Prepare the soil: Ensure well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Add organic matter or compost to improve soil fertility.
  4. Sow the seeds: Plant parsley seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart, directly in the garden or in containers. To speed up germination, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting.
  5. Water regularly: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the germination and early growth stages. Avoid overwatering, as it can cause root rot.
  6. Thin the seedlings: When seedlings are 2-3 inches tall, thin them to a spacing of 6-8 inches apart. This will allow for proper growth and airflow between plants.
  7. Fertilize: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to provide essential nutrients.
  8. Mulch: Add a layer of organic mulch around the plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  9. Pest and disease control: Inspect plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Employ organic or chemical controls as needed.
  10. Harvest: Begin harvesting parsley leaves when the plant has at least three leaf segments. Cut the outer leaves first, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing.

Parsley Plant Care

Proper parsley plant care is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive herb garden. Here are some tips to ensure your parsley plants receive the attention they need:

  1. Watering: Parsley requires consistent moisture but is sensitive to overwatering. Water the plants deeply and regularly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  2. Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to promote healthy growth and prevent nutrient deficiencies.
  3. Weeding: Remove weeds around the parsley plants regularly to minimize competition for nutrients and prevent the spread of diseases.
  4. Mulching: Add a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or bark chips, around the plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  5. Pruning: Regularly harvest parsley leaves to encourage new growth. Remove any yellow or diseased leaves promptly to prevent the spread of infections.
  6. Pest and disease control: Inspect your parsley plants for signs of pests or diseases, such as aphids or leaf spots. Employ organic or chemical controls as needed.
  7. Winter care: In colder climates, protect your parsley plants during the winter months by applying a layer of mulch or using a cold frame. Alternatively, you can grow parsley in containers and bring them indoors.


Harvesting & Storing Parsley

Once you’ve mastered how to grow parsley, it’s time to learn about harvesting and storing your fresh herb:


Parsley leaves can be harvested once the plant has at least three segments on its leaves. To harvest, cut the outer leaves at the base of the stem, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing. Regular harvesting encourages bushier growth and higher yields.


To store fresh parsley, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel, place them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Alternatively, place the stems in a glass of water, cover the leaves with a plastic bag, and refrigerate, changing the water every few days.

For long-term storage, you can dry or freeze parsley. To dry, hang small bunches of parsley upside down in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area. Once dried, store in an airtight container away from sunlight. To freeze, chop the leaves and place them in an ice cube tray with water or oil. Transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe container for later use.

growing basil

Parsley Companion Plants

Companion planting involves the strategic placement of different plant species to provide mutual benefits, such as improved soil fertility, pest control, and enhanced flavour. Here are some great companions for parsley:


  • Tomatoes: Parsley may improve the flavour of tomatoes while attracting beneficial insects that prey on tomato pests.
  • Asparagus: Parsley can help repel asparagus beetles and may enhance the flavour of asparagus.
  • Onions: Onions and parsley share similar growing conditions, and their strong scents can help deter pests from each other.


  • Basil: Basil and parsley share similar growing conditions and can be harvested together for diverse culinary uses. Basil may also help repel pests attracted to parsley.
  • Chives: Chives and parsley enjoy the same growing conditions and can be planted together for a harmonious herb garden. Chives may also deter aphids, a common pest for parsley.
  • Mint: Mint can help repel pests that are attracted to parsley, such as aphids and spider mites. However, mint can be invasive, so it’s best to plant it in a container to prevent it from taking over your garden.


  • Marigolds: Marigolds can help repel nematodes, aphids, and other pests, providing protection for your parsley plants.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums can attract aphids away from parsley, serving as a sacrificial plant. They also help repel whiteflies and other pests.
  • Borage: Borage attracts beneficial insects, such as bees and ladybugs, that help with pollination and pest control. It may also improve the overall health and flavour of parsley.

Avoiding Problematic Companions

While companion planting offers many benefits, certain plants may negatively impact your parsley. Be cautious when planting parsley near these plants:

  • Lettuce: Lettuce and parsley have similar growing requirements, but they may compete for nutrients, water, and space, which can hinder growth.
  • Garlic: Garlic can inhibit the growth of parsley due to its strong scent and allelopathic properties.

Common Questions Answered

How much sun does parsley need?

Parsley thrives in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. However, it can tolerate partial shade, especially in hotter climates, where some afternoon shade can protect the plant from scorching heat.

How to grow parsley from cuttings?

To grow parsley from cuttings, follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy parsley plant with strong, vigorous growth.
  2. Cut a 4-6 inch stem from the parent plant, just below a leaf node, using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.
  3. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only the top leaves.
  4. Place the cutting in a glass of water, ensuring the bottom part is submerged, but the leaves remain above the waterline.
  5. Place the glass in a warm, bright location, out of direct sunlight.
  6. Change the water every 2-3 days to keep it fresh and prevent bacterial growth.
  7. After 2-4 weeks, the cutting should develop roots.
  8. Once the roots are well-established, transplant the cutting into a pot with well-draining soil or directly into your garden.

How long does parsley take to grow?

Parsley seeds typically take 14-30 days to germinate. Once germinated, parsley plants need approximately 70-90 days to reach maturity and become ready for harvesting. However, you can start harvesting parsley leaves once the plant has at least three leaf segments, which can happen as early as 40-60 days after germination.

How tall does parsley grow?

Parsley plants can vary in size depending on the variety. Moss Curled Parsley usually grows to a height of 10-14 inches, while Italian Parsley and Giant of Italy Parsley can reach heights of 12-18 inches. Hamburg Rooted Parsley, grown for its edible roots, can grow up to 12 inches tall. Proper care, including adequate spacing, watering, and fertilizing, can help your parsley plants reach their full potential.


Learning how to grow parsley can be a gratifying endeavour for any gardening enthusiast or home cook. By choosing the right variety, providing the proper care, and regularly harvesting this versatile herb, you can enjoy a bountiful supply of fresh, aromatic parsley to enhance your favourite dishes. With the knowledge you’ve gained in this article, you are now well-equipped to cultivate a thriving parsley patch and elevate your culinary creations with the unique flavours this herb has to offer.

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