Herbs like parsley make a great addition to any home garden. They’re easy to grow and add a boost of flavor to all kinds of dishes.
In this article, I’ll go over all the ins and outs of growing parsley, including how to plant parsley from seed, how to transplant seedlings, how to harvest parsley, and more.
If you’re ready to learn how to plant parsley, keep reading to learn about the different ways you can get started growing this herb to use in your kitchen.
How to Plant Parsley
Parsley is a lovely dark green plant with feathery leaves and a fresh, clean flavor. It can be incorporated into many recipes and makes the perfect garnish for virtually any dish. You can use parsley in dishes like pasta, soup, sandwiches, and even dessert.
Though it takes some time and effort to get started, growing parsley is simple and doesn’t require any special skills. Once established, the plants are easy to care for and continue producing all season long!
One of the great things about growing parsley is that it can be grown in many different places.
Parsley does well indoors and outdoors. You can plant it in medium-sized pots, large containers, raised garden beds, or in the ground.
For best results, use rich, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Adding compost when planting is a good way to increase organic matter in the soil.
Parsley grows best in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If you’re not sure what pH your soil has, you can test it with an at-home soil test kit.
If you’re using containers, fill them with a good-quality potting mix.
Parsley plants love sunshine so make sure your plant gets at least 6-8 hours of full sunlight a day. This could be outdoors or in a sunny window if you’re growing parsley indoors.
If you live in a very warm location and you want to grow parsley during the summer, partial shade can be beneficial to help keep the plants from getting overheated.
Like many people I know, parsley likes moderate temperatures best. It doesn’t do well in extreme heat or extreme cold.
That being said, parsley is cold hardy, so it can handle a bit of frost and the occasional dip in temperatures. As long as temperatures stay above 20 degrees your parsley can survive outside during the winter.
High heat can cause parsley to wilt and die. If you’re growing parsley in very hot weather, keep it watered and give it some shade if you can.
Parsley may not survive consistent temperatures over 90 degrees, even with special care.
Once established, parsley plants don’t need a lot of watering. Regular rain is often enough to keep the plants healthy. If you’re not getting regular rain, water parsley once or twice a week. In very hot conditions, water more often to keep the plants from drying out.
Water parsley deeply with a watering can or hose, then let the soil start to dry out before watering again. Don’t let the soil get fully dry, especially in hot weather.
Parsley planted in rich soil usually doesn’t need much fertilizer.
If your parsley looks yellow or isn’t growing very vigorously, fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer about once a month.
How to Grow Parsley from Seed
Parsley seeds take a long time to sprout but the payoff is well worth it! Seeds are inexpensive, readily available, and you can grow many plants from one small packet. We highly recommend the Italian parsley seeds sold by one of our favorite online retailers, Hoss Tools.
Starting Parsley Seeds indoors
When starting parsley seeds indoors you’ll need some supplies. If you don’t already have some basic seed-starting equipment, here’s a list to get you started.
If you plan to start more seeds and grow other crops, having some high-quality equipment is well worth the investment.
You can use the same products over and over again year after year to save money and even grow food indoors year-round.
If you’re only growing a few parsley seeds you don’t necessarily need all the equipment.
At the minimum, you’ll need seed trays or a container to start the seeds in, a seed starting mix, and a warm, sunny place to put the seedlings. If you don’t have a warm sunny place, you may also need a heat mat and a grow light.
Choose a Place to Work
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, the first step to starting parsley from seed is to choose a location. Set up your supplies in a place that will be convenient but out of the way.
Starting Parsley Seeds
Fill seed trays with seed starting mix and plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep. You can poke small holes in the soil to drop seeds into, or just sprinkle them over the top and add more soil to cover them.
Water thoroughly with a spray bottle to avoid moving the seeds. Parsley seeds are tiny and can be easily displaced.
Keep the soil moist and warm while seeds are germinating. If your house is on the cooler side, a heat mat is handy for keeping the seeds warm. You can also use a humidity dome to retain moisture and help maintain a warm temperature for the seeds.
Parsley seeds may take as long as 2-4 weeks to germinate. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see anything happening right away! Just keep that soil moist and warm and soon, they’ll start to grow.
Your little plants will be ready to move to their permanent location in about 5-6 weeks.
Direct Sowing Parsley
If you’re wondering how to plant parsley outdoors, the process is similar to starting parsley from seeds indoors.
As long as the weather is not too hot or too cold, you can direct sow parsley seeds right into a garden bed or patio container.
Parsley can be planted outdoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring, or in late summer to early fall. In warm climates, Parsley sown in fall will grow all through the winter and into the next spring.
Here’s how to plant parsley seeds outside:
Once you’ve chosen a suitable location, prepare in-ground soil by amending it with compost. If you’re using a container, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with potting mix.
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil or potting mix and gently cover them 1/4 inch deep. Water thoroughly and keep the soil moist while you wait for the seeds to sprout.
How to Plant Parsley Seedlings
If you want to start enjoying parsley right away, you can purchase seedlings from a garden center or nursery. Seedlings are more expensive than starting parsley from seed, but it’s a lot quicker since many plants will be ready to start harvesting right away.
Whether you started from seed or seedlings, at some point, those little plants will need to be planted in larger containers or in the ground.
To transplant parsley seedlings, first choose and prepare a suitable location using the information above. If you grew parsley from seed, make sure to harden off the plants before transplanting outside.
Dig a hole in the ground or container that’s twice as big as the previous container the parsley was growing in. Gently move the seedlings into the hole and fill it in with dirt. Water thoroughly.
Depending on the specific variety you’re growing, seedlings should be placed 6-10 inches apart. Check the back of your seed packet or instructions on the seedling pot to see how far apart to place your variety.
Like with other herbs, harvesting parsley actually encourages it to grow even more. To harvest parsley, snip off a stem or a bunch of stems near the base of the plant.
Parsley tastes best fresh so try to harvest only what you’ll use in the next day or two.
If you do end up harvesting more than you’ll use right away, you can preserve parsley by freezing or drying it.
How to Use Parsley
Beyond its common use as a garnish, parsley can be incorporated into many different dishes.
- Add it to a soup, stew, or sauce
- Use it in a salad
- Chew on a sprig to freshen your breath
- Sprinkle some on top of roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes
- Eat it with steak
- Add it to homemade stock or broth
- Use it in a sandwich
For more ideas, Insanely Good offers 30 parsely recipes that showcase the herb in varying degrees.
Parsley is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and iron. Adding parsley to your meals can boost your daily intake of these important vitamins and minerals.
Knowing How to Plant Parsley is Easy!
Now that you’ve learned how to plant parsley, you’re ready to get started!
For more growing guides, check out our Seed Starting page on the website. There you’ll find information on how to grow many different vegetables, herbs, and flowers plus get tips and tricks, product recommendations, and more.
Inspired to start your own herb garden? Then learn more about planting and growing specific herbs with our guides and info posts!