Garden Action

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How to Grow Parsley

Possibly the most popular herb grown in cooler areas, but also one of the most 'failed' herbs. There are two reasons for this - firstly parsley is not so quick or easy to germinate as many other herbs. Secondly, it does require a reasonably rich soil to perform well.

Once growing well in a good soil, it is however a low maintenance plant. It's leaves are attractive, it can be used both as an attractive garnish and a flavouring for many foods - there are not many people who turn their noses up at a fresh sprig or two of parsley topping a boiled cod steak!

Parsley especially amongst herbs, can be appreciated at it's most flavoursome when picked fresh from your garden.


The only equipment you need is a large plastic pot. Cut out the base of the pot to leave it as shown in the picture on the right. The size of the pot is not crucial but it must be big enough to allow the tomato plant to be contained with it.


Parsley Folklore
Click here

Latin Name
Petroselinum crispum

Biennial edible herb

Site and Soil
Soil with organic matter, sun or partial shade

Plant to Harvest Time
Three months

Where To Grow Parsley
Parsley needs a rich well dug soil which does not dry out too often. It prefers full sun, but if the soil is good, it will do very well in partial shade.

Propagating Parsley
parsley pictureThe two common varieties are curled-leaf and flat-leaf, although a wide range is available from specialist seed companies. All varieties are treated the same.

Parsley is often very slow to germinate because it needs high temperatures. For this reason GardenAction always recommends that the seed is sown in pots and kept indoors in a warm room until the seedlings have sprouted.

In March , sow four or five seeds to the pot, and if you are lucky for most of them to germinate, thin out to one seedling per pot. Prepare the soil outside by digging it well, and incorporating as much organic matter as possible. Add bonemeal to the top layer of soil.  The seedlings can be planted outside when they are about 8cm (3in) high. 

Care of Parsley
A once monthly dose of general fertiliser will keep the plants healthy. Curly Leaf Parsley 'Verta Rz' click to enlarge. Copyright GardenAction LtdParsley sown in March can normally be harvested from July to July the following year. Because it is a biennial, it will then begin to produce seed which ends the plants use as a herb. Sowing later than March is fine, the plants will mature later, and this will extend the harvesting time.

Parsley does not usually suffer from pests and disease. Occasionally, carrot or greenfly attack them - spray with derris (available at almost all garden centres) as a preventative measure in June and August

Container Growing Parsley
Parsley is an excellent plant for growing in all sorts of containers - some very attractive pots are made especially for growing parsley. No special care is required - just keep them in a sunny spot, feed regularly with a liquid plant food, and ensure the pot compost is kept moist.