When to Plant Parsley?
Parsley is a biennial herb, meaning that it takes two years for the plant to complete its life cycle. In its first year, parsley will grow leaves and in its second year, it will produce seeds.
If you want to grow parsley directly in your garden, sow the seeds 3–4 weeks before the last spring frost. Indoors, they can be started 6–8 weeks before that date. Soil temperatures above 50ºF – ideally, 70ºF – are necessary for germination.
How Long Does It Take for Parsley to Grow?
Parsley will germinate in 14–28 days. The plants will be ready to harvest 60–70 days after germination, or 70–90 days after planting. In the second year, parsley will bolt – that is, it will produce a flower stalk and go to seed. You can then allow it to self-seed or harvest the seeds to replant another crop.
How to Grow Parsley Indoors From Seed
So, how to grow parsley from seed? To grow parsley indoors, start by soaking the seeds for 1-2 hours before sowing. This will improve the germination rate, which tends to be low.
Then, plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep in individual pots filled with moistened potting mix. Place the pots in a warm spot – on top of the fridge is often a good spot – and keep the soil moist. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, thin them out so that only the strongest one remains in each pot.
You can use a grow light to supplement the parsley plants’ light needs if necessary. They should be placed about 12 inches below the light source and given 14 hours of light per day. Once they’ve grown to about 6 inches tall, you can transplant the parsley plants to your garden or larger pots.
How to Grow Parsley From Seed in a Garden
If you prefer to plant the seeds directly outdoors – which is a good thing to do because parsley is difficult to transplant without damaging the taproot – wait until 3-4 weeks before the last frost. Then, sow the seeds in rows, 6–8 inches apart. Larger plants should be 8–10 inches apart.
As with indoor plants, keep the soil moist and thin out the seedlings when they’re big enough to handle. You can sow radishes in between parsley rows to mark the space and help prevent weeds from taking over.
How to Grow Parsley From Cuttings
Now, how to grow parsley from cuttings? This herb is easy to propagate. To do this, take a 3-inch cutting from a healthy parsley plant. Cut just below a node – that is, the point where a leaf meets the stem. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone if you have it.
Then, place the cutting in a vase or jar filled with warm water. Change the water every few days to prevent it from getting stagnant. Roots should form within two weeks. Once the roots are about an inch long, you can plant the cutting in a pot or your garden.
Harvesting Parsley – When and How
Parsley can be harvested as soon as the leaves are big enough to use. You can cut the entire plant down to about an inch above the soil, and it will regrow. Or, you can harvest individual leaves as needed. If you want to dry parsley, cut the stems before the plant flowers and hang them upside down in a dark, dry place.
Protecting Parsley From Pests
How to grow parsley without worrying about pests? Aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites are common pests of parsley. These tiny insects can cause serious damage to the plants if left unchecked.
The best way to prevent pests is to start with healthy plants. Inspect plants carefully before bringing them home, and quarantine any that show signs of pests. You can also take steps to encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which will help keep pests in check.
Now you know how to grow parsley successfully! Just remember to keep an eye out for pests, and you’ll be able to enjoy this flavorful herb in your garden for years to come.