How to Grow Parsley: A Comprehensive Guide

Enhance Your Garden with Expert Parsley Growing Tips & Companion Planting Insights

Parsley, a versatile and flavorful herb, is a popular addition to a variety of dishes, from garnishes to main ingredients. Its lush green leaves not only brighten up your garden but also pack a punch of vitamins and minerals. In this article, we’ll explore the most effective techniques for growing parsley and delve into 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.

Why Grow Parsley?

Parsley is a hardy, biennial herb used extensively in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and European cuisines. Renowned for its vibrant green leaves and subtle, peppery flavor, parsley is a must-have in any herb garden. Its rich nutrient content, including vitamins A, C, and K, and its antioxidant properties make parsley a healthy addition to your meals.

Parsley Varieties

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:

  • Curly Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Known for its bright green, tightly curled leaves, this variety is often used as a garnish or in salads.
  • Flat Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum): Also called Italian parsley, it has flat, dark green leaves and a more robust flavor than curly parsley, making it ideal for cooking.

How to Grow Parsley: The Basics

Soil Preparation

Parsley thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. Amend your soil with compost or aged manure to enhance its organic matter content. Parsley prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH range, between 6.0 and 7.0. Test your soil and make adjustments as necessary.

Planting Parsley Seeds

Parsley seeds can be sown directly in the garden, or you can start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours to improve germination rates. Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep, spacing them 8-10 inches apart in rows 1-1.5 feet apart. Germination may take 2-4 weeks.

Sunlight and Temperature

Parsley requires full sun to partial shade, making it adaptable to various garden conditions. It can tolerate temperatures down to 10°F but prefers temperatures between 60-75°F. In regions with hot summers, provide afternoon shade to prevent heat stress.

Watering and Fertilizing

Keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overwatering, as this may cause root rot. A layer of mulch can help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Fertilize your parsley every 4-6 weeks with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Companion Planting for Parsley

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


  • Tomatoes: Parsley may improve the flavor of tomatoes while attracting beneficial insects that prey on tomato pests.
  • Asparagus: Parsley can help repel asparagus beetles and may enhance the flavor 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 flavor 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.

Harvesting and Storing Parsley


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.

Dealing with Common Parsley Pests and Diseases


  • Aphids: Small insects that feed on plant sap, causing leaves to yellow and curl. Control them with insecticidal soap or by introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings.
  • Spider Mites: Tiny pests that feed on plant sap, leading to yellowing leaves and stunted growth. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control spider mites.


  • Damping-off: A fungal disease causing seedlings to wilt and die. Prevent by using well-draining soil and avoiding overwatering.
  • Leaf Spot: A fungal disease that results in brown or black spots on leaves. Remove infected leaves and use a fungicide if necessary.


Growing parsley and practicing companion planting techniques can result in a healthy, productive garden. By following the tips in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying fresh, homegrown parsley in your favorite dishes. Experiment with different companion plants to find the perfect combination for your garden’s unique needs. Happy gardening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *