Intro: Italian parsley is and easy-to-grow herb that will do well in small plant containers. It can even be grown in very small containers in a kitchen windowsill herb garden. Although there are many varieties of parsley, Italian parsley is grown for use as a culinary herb. Curly-leaved parsley is often used as a garnish. Parsley is easy to grow, easy to harvest, and it tastes great!
Scientific Name: Petroselinum crispum
Plant Type: Biennial herb
Light: Partial shade to full sun
Zone: Hardy from Zones 5 to 9
Temperature: Parsley does best between 40 and 80 degrees.
Fertilizer: Parsley does best with compost mixed in with its potting soil. If you don’t have compost, fertilize monthly.
Pests and Diseases: Green peach aphid, leafhoppers, beetles and especially carrot weevils are insect pests that may attack your parsley plant. Leaf spot and blights can also affect parsley plants, but parsley is generally very hardy and not susceptible to disease.
Propagation: Grow your parsley plants from seed. To collect seeds, you will need to grow the parsley plant for two years to allow it to mature. The container plant will grow tall and produce flower bunches with many small flowers. Cut off the parsley's flower heads after they have produced tiny and hard brown seeds. Hang them upside-down to dry. Once they are dry, put the flower heads in a paper bag and shake them around. This allows the parsley seeds to break free of the flowers. If they don’t break free, it means that they are not ripe yet. Save the parsley seeds in a cool, dry place for the next gardening season. To germinate the seeds, soak them in warm water overnight before planting. Plant in spring once the air has warmed (or start seeds indoors).
Misc. Info: To harvest parsley leaves for cooking, find a stalk with young leaves that haven’t become course (as the plant ages, its leaves lose flavor). Cut the parsley stalk about a half an inch above ground level. The leaves will begin to grow back in a few weeks. If you want to grow parsley just for the leaves and not for seeds, grow a new plant every season. Parsley leaves are not as tasty in the second season when the container plant is mature – parsley uses its second season to flower and produce seeds, not tasty leaves!
Parsley seeds are toxic, but its leaves have many health benefits.