Parsley (Petroselinum)

A biennial herb (Petroselinum) grown as an annual. Its many horticultural varieties are grouped as curled leaved (var. crispum), fernleaved (var. filicinum) and Hamburg or “rooted” (var. radicosum). Though the leaves of all are used for flavoring meat dishes, soups, salads, etc., the curled varieties are most popular in America for this purpose and for garnishing, though the fern-leaved are just as attractive. Hamburg Parlsey is generally cooked like parsnips.

The leaves may be cut all season for use as needed. In the fall they may be dried and stored in tight jars, or roots may be transplanted into pots or hydroponic planters to be grown on indoors. The following spring remove the flower stems as fast as they appear so as to keep the plants producing leaves until those grown from a newly sown crop are ready.

Growing the Herb Parsley

As parsley seed germinates slowly (sometimes taking several weeks), it should be soaked in warm water overnight before planting. Sow outdoors in early spring in rows 10 to 12 inches apart, and cover 1/2 inch deep. Later thin the plants to stand about 6 inches apart.

Parsley grows well in a deep pot, which helps accommodate the long taproot. Parsley grown indoors requires at least five hours of sunlight per day or high output plant growing lights.

Parsley grows well in loamy garden soil rich in nitrogen, and does well in full sun or part shade. Parsley can overwinter if lightly mulched during extremely cold weather.

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, in containers, and hydroponic cultures.

Plant Height

Parsley usually grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm).

Plant Spacing

Parsley plants should be spaced between 9 and 12 inches (22-30 cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Parsley will grow in a pH range between 5.6 (acidic) and 7.5 (neutral) with a preferred range between 6.0 and 7.0.


Sow indoors in sunny location or under plant grow lights six weeks before last frost. Transplant to garden after all danger of frost has passed.

Seed Germination Period

Parsley seeds will germinate in approximately 21 to 28 days. Patience and consistent moisture levels are key.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are between approximately 650 and 1,000 parsley seeds per gram, depending on variety.

Soil Requirements

Parsley tolerates most soils, but rich, well-drained, moist, with a pH between 6 and 7 is best.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, coco peat, rockwool, or Oasis cubes.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Sow in plugs or direct in pots, 4 to 5 seeds per plug or 12 seeds per pot. Seeds to finished plugs, eight weeks. Plugs to saleable plants, six weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Parsley grown outdoors prefers full sun and can tolerate some shade.

Parsley will grow indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps, and exceptionally well under high output T5 fluorescent lights, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights. Keep standard fluorescent lamps between 2 and 4 inches from the tops of the plants, high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate shorter, sturdier, and more natural plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Perennial. Zones 5a to 9b.

Water Requirements

Average water needs. Water on a regular schedule, but do not overwater. Allow soil to go dry between waterings, then soak thoroughly.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Parsley can be susceptible to whitefly, spider mites, and aphids, but has minimal disease issues.

Companion Planting

Parsley is beneficial to asparagus, corn, maize, and tomatoes when planted nearby. It attracts Swallowtail Butterflies, wasps, and flies and sacrificially attracts insects that attack tomatoes. Do not plant near Alliums or lettuce.

Special Notes

Grown for it’s aromatic foliage. Suitable for containers.

Buy Parsley Seeds by Heirloom Italian Dark Green Flat Parsley Seeds
Prized by gourmets as the most flavorful of all parsleys. Will tolerate partial shade.

Organic Heirloom Italian Dark Green Flat Parsley Seeds
Organic version of above.

Organic Heirloom Moss Curled Parsley Seeds
For a fresh palate, fresh breath & good nutrition, enjoy eating this decorative, hardy herb!