Growing Parsley in containers can be quite challenging, however only if you don´t know how to do it properly. So in this guide, I will tell you everything, that you need to know in order to grow Parsley successfully in pots! So let´s get to it!
Propagating parsley from seeds requires patience and care since the seeds are known for slow and low germination rates.
The seeds can take 6 weeks or more before germination. In around 3-5 weeks you should expect to see some baby plants.
If you desire the seeds to germinate faster, it’s essential to soak the seeds overnight.
If you want to propagate parsley by seeds you need to sow the seeds directly into the containers at a depth of ¼ to 1/8 since the plant has a delicate tap and doesn’t work well if transplanted, the optimum temperature for germination is between 15-17 C° (60 – 80 F).
Besides seeds, you may also propagate parsley from cuttings.
Cut a stem of 4-5 inches long and remove extra leaves before planting it in a deep container at a depth of one inch.
If you want faster growth, it’s essential to soak the cutting in a rooting media. Make sure the pot has sufficient moisture besides keeping it in a shady location, for a few weeks to allow the development of roots.
Common Varieties Of Parsley
There are a lot of different types of parsley from all over the globe. I will quickly go over some of the most common varieties and I will go over the differences between them.
Curly Leaf Parsley
The curly-leaf parsley has a soft flavor besides being sweet.
It’s mainly used in salads and for garnishing. It’s usually smaller in size than the rest with controlled growth.
Flat Leaf Parsley (Italian parsley)
This is the most common variety of parsley used for cooking. It’s stronger, vibrant, and sweeter than the rest.
It grows taller than the curly leaf variety thus requires a broader container. Additionally, it’s more heat resistant than the other types.
It grows similarly to other parsley varieties. It’s less common than the other two varieties, and it’s mainly grown for its edible, swollen parsnip-flavored roots that are used as vegetables.
Its leaves can be used just like the other parsley varieties.
What Are The Best Containers For Growing Parsley?
It’s essential to appreciate garden containers come in different sizes and shapes. Each container will occupy varying amounts of soil, and this will dictate the number of parsley plants in the pot.
The recommended soil is a gallon of potting soil for each parsley plant.
Most containers in the market range from 8-14 inches in diameter. An 8-inch pot will hold 1 1/2 gallons of potting soil, and this is ideal for one parsley plant.
A 14-inch container will hold around 4 gallons of potting soil thus translating to 4 parsley plants.
Choose your containers depending on your available space and the number of plants you want to grow.
Containers used to grow indoor plants are made of different types of materials. Let’s examine some of these materials.
Plastic containers have earned their name for being lightweight, affordable, and durable.
As you shop for these containers, choose pots that will suit your needs, style, and designs.
These containers come in a verity of colors, sizes, and designs.
These pots are durable and moderately winter-hardy.
They come in a range of colors; thus, they’ll add beauty to your indoor garden.
The glazed ceramic pots are heavy and hard to move from one location to another, especially the large ones. Besides, they are also costly.
Though some wooden containers may not last long, some can withstand the effect of moisture and termites.
Wooden containers add a natural taste to your garden. Once they start aging, you’ll have difficulties moving them around. But be sure they’ll last for several years.
When choosing wooden containers for your indoor plants, consider the type of wood used for the container. Half barrels make excellent pots for indoor plants.
Terracotta clay pots have been in use for years.
This is the traditional choice when panting indoor herbs. If they are larger in size, the post can be costly though they last long.
It’s also prudent to know that exposure to freezing temperatures or dropping to the ground may break the pots.
Clay pots are favorites of most indoor gardeners since they are affordable and attractive.
Concrete pots are the most durable of all the pots used for indoor plants. They are also the heaviest; thus, it may not be easy moving them around. Select a permanent location for these containers, especially if they are large. The large concrete pots are also costly.
As you select the containers, you should consider the durability and the cost. Besides, the size should be right for your plants.
What Is The Right Soil For A Parsley Plant?
Parsley thrives in soils with sufficient amounts of organic matter. When planting your parsley, you may either opt for soil-based or soilless mixes. No matter the type of potting mixture you use, you must ensure it has enough amounts of organic matter.
Check the labels on the packaging to determine if the particular potting mixture has adequate organic matter.
These are some ingredients in the opting mixes that will signify high quantities of organic matter in the mixes, peat moss, ground bark, compost, pasteurized soil, and composted manure.
Pot-grown parsley requires partial or full sun for best flavor and optimal growth.
If your plants get full sun, it means they get direct sunlight for at least six hours each day.
Partial sun, on the other hand, signifies four to six hours of sunshine per day. You need to monitor the best location to place your parsley plants to expose them to adequate sunlight.
If your parsley doesn’t get sufficient sunlight, change the location.
How To Plant Parsley
Just like many herbs, parsley will grow well in pots.
But the containers must be placed in a warm spot, close to a sunny window.
If you’re planting the parsley indoors, you can plant it close to tomatoes which are excellent companions for this plant.
When to plant parsley
Although it’s easy to propagate parsley from seeds, it’s important to note the germination process can take longer than other herbs.
The ideal time to sow your seeds is in 3-4 weeks before the last frost.
You’ll achieve speedier germination if you soak the seeds overnight before planting.
Steps of how to plant parsley
- Before planting the seeds, soak the seeds for at least 12-24 hours to speed up the germination process.
- Use quality seed starting medium to raise the seeds seedling trays indoors.
- Plant one or two seeds per each cell (note you’ll need to thin the seedlings after germination if you plant the many seeds in a single cell).
- The parsley seeds need to be planted at a depth of ¼ inch deep. The easiest way to plant the parsley seeds is placing them on top of the soils or growing medium then pressing them gently to the appropriate depth.
- Ensure your seeds are properly covered with soil.
- Water the seeds gently using a hose spray or watering the seed trays lighter to prevent disturbing the seeds.
- If possible cover the seed trays with a plastic lid to maintain warmth and the right moisture.
- When the seeds start germinating, remove the plastic cover. Note the parsley seeds will start sprouting in 3-4 weeks.
- After the seedlings attain a height of 5-7 centimeters, fill your post with high-quality potting medium and transplant your parsley seedlings.
- Water the plants regularly and also make sure you fertilize the plants appropriately.
- Your harvesting should start when the leaves are dark green in 2-3 months after planting. You can extend the harvesting season by removing flower stalks in the plants. Preferred pH range.
Parsley will thrive in a pH ranging from 5.6-7.5; the best range is 6.0-7.0.
How To Care For Your Parsley Plants
It’s crucial to note parsley seedlings do not grow as fast as other herbs; thus, you must supply the right conditions for them to grow faster.
If your parsley seedlings aren’t getting adequate light, they will grow rapidly trying to reach for the light.
If you want to have healthy and robust parsley seedlings, consider including a grow light.
You should maintain the grow light at a distance of 1-2 inches above the seedlings. Additionally, the light should be on for 14-16 hours each day.
You may decide to purchase a seedling grow light system or improvise a cheaper version of the same using plant grow light bulbs and fluorescent light fixtures.
No matter the type of lighting system you use, ensure it’s fixed to an outlet timer to make sure the plants receive adequate light.
Pruning and deadheading
You should remove all flower stalks that appear on your parsley plants to promote foliage growth. Besides, make sure you remove faded and dead leaves from the plant regularly to ensure your parsley is in shape.
Parsley Growing Tips
A surprising fact about growing parsley is that it’s a low maintenance plant.
Most people experience problems growing parsley because of the overwater the plants.
Though you parsley plants require sufficient water, if you over-water the plants, you risk losing them.
Therefore you need to check the soil in the container before watering the plant to ensure the plant requires additional water.
Pest And Diseases Affecting Parsley
Rot and leaf spot are the common diseases that affect parsley. If you want to save your parsley plants from crown rot and root rot if you avoid waterlogging the plants.
Aphids, mites, parsley worm, and cutworm are the most common pest attacking parsley; therefore watch out on these pests.
Whiteflies are also a significant pest attacking parsley; to eliminate these pests spray the undersides of the parsley leaves with insecticidal soap.
Watch out for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. When you grow parsley you must be keen to watch out for the black swallowtails butterfly larvae; these pests have a great affinity for the plants.
The caterpillars also love feasting on carrots and dill, but you don’t have to worry when you see these black swallowtail butterflies eating your parsley, they will only do a little harm to your plants, they won’t destroy the plant.
How To Fertilize Parsley Plants
Since plants in containers can only get a limited amount of nutrients due to the size of the container, over time, the plants will use up all the nutrients in the pot thus need for fertilizing.
Throughout the growing season, you’ll need to fertilize your parsley plants. You can use organic herb fertilizer around the plants once or twice each month.
During summer, you can use organic liquid fertilizer to enhance growth. Make sure the organic fertilizers you use are of high quality.
If you can convert organic compost into liquid fertilizers, they work best for these plants. You may purchase or make compost tea bags. Fish emulsion and liquid kelp are also other fantastic organic fertilizers you can use for your parsley plants.
For healthy parsley plants, you should fertilize your plants biweekly.
Use a water-soluble fertilizer, for example, 24-8-16 intended for herbs and vegetables.
Prepare the fertilizer by dissolving one tablespoon of the fertilizer in a gallon of water. Use this mixture to water your parsley plants instead of the ordinary water you use for the plants.
Parsley plants grow to a height of around 12 inches (30cm). So you don´t need to be cautious about the potential hight. It is very manageable and will never outgrow its pot.
How Often Do I Have To Water Parsley?
Parsley grows optimally under adequate moisture, thus you should never allow your plants to dry out completely. If the containers are exposed to winds and sunlight, it’ll dry out faster. You must also know that container gardens loose water faster than herbs grown in the garden.
To ensure your parsley plants have sufficient water, pour water on the container until you observe water seeping through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
You should water the pot one more time when you realize the top 2 inches of the potting soil has dried out.
You may need to water your plants daily or twice each day deepening on several factors such as wind, the sun, and exposure to heat.
Growing Parsley The Entire Year
The only way to enjoy parsley year-round is by growing the plants indoors.
With this option, you’re able to have parsley even during winter.
Parsley plants grown indoors will thrive even during winter; thus you can get fresh parsley leaves provided your plants are exposed to sunlight daily, or you’re using grow lights.
Tropics and subtropics
If you reside in hotter areas (USDA Zones 10and 11), you can still enjoy your parsley by growing the plants in the shade where they can receive 3-5 hours of sun each day and sufficient amounts of water.
Parsley Growing Tips
- As your parsley plant gets into the second year, it starts to produce flower stalks indoor to produce seeds. This is a sign you need to prepare new plants in your containers. Once you see flower stalks in your parsley you will know, that they won’t last long; but you can prolong harvesting your parsley by plucking out the flower stalks.
- Alternatively, you can move the aging parsley outdoors to act as a trap plant for insects. Parsley flowers are excellent sources of nectar, and they are beneficial to many insects.
- If you want to grow healthy, parsley plants consider using self-watering containers. These containers will ensure your plants get constant levels of moisture; thus dry cycles that weaken the plants are eliminated.
You can comfortably grow parsley alongside other herbs in one container; only make sure the pot has adequate capacity to accommodate several plants.
Herbs that you can grow with parsley include basil, thyme, chives mint, and oregano.
When you grow your parsley with other herbs, it’s essential to have these plants on the edges of the pot.
Alternatively, use a hanging basket to ensure these plants can drop over the edges.
How Do I Harvest Parsley?
You can harvest parsley all year round if you grow the plants indoors.
You should begin harvesting your parsley once it develops a few true leaves. But it’s wise to wait until your plants have around ten true leaves to start harvesting.
In two to three months after panting your parsley, you can start harvesting.
You should wait for the stem to attain three sections before you begin harvesting you’re the leaves.
The base and the stem of the plants are also edible and tasty; thus at times, you can harvest the entire stem.
AS you practice this method of harvesting harvest the outer potion and allow the inner ones to grow
When harvesting parsley, you should not cut the entire plant, pinch or cut the mature leaves and let the rest mature.
This ensures you can continually harvest your plants. Additionally, it’s essential to note that the more you harvest the leaves; you’ll be promoting new growth in the plant.
If you have an excess harvest of parsley, you can preserve the leaves by drying or freezing. Thus if you have an oversupply of parsley I summer, let not your freezer remain empty.
Harvesting And Storage Tips
- You can keep your parsley fresh by putting your leaf stalks in water and store them in the refrigerator.
- You may also dry your parsley after drying. Cut the plants at the base ad dry it by hanging in the shade in a well-ventilated warm area. Once the plants are dry crush them and store them in air-tight containers.
- The only way to enjoy fresh parsley during winter is by planting the parsley in a pot and letting them grow in a sunny window.
- After harvesting your parsley for the first time, pick new growths frequently to prevent the leaves from becoming rough.
- Parsley is best to enjoy if fresh; if you want to keep parsley fresh you can store it I your refrigerator or soak parsley stems in a glass of water, making sure the leaves remain dry.
- If you can use parsley while fresh, the alternative is to fresh the plants. Wash your stems with clean water and allow them to dry. Put your parsley chops or whole in air-tight freezer bags and store them in your freezer.
- Although drying parsley eliminates most of its flavor, if it’s the only option you have to preserve this plant dry then naturally and store the contents in air-tight containers. A faster way of drying is to microwave them. Place your parsley in between sheet paper towel and microwave for approximately two minutes. After this session, you’ll get the plant in powder form ready for storage.
Drying Parsley In The Oven
If you can’t dry your parsley naturally or in a microwave, you may also dry them in your oven.
Wash the stems in cold water and remove any discolored leaves and the stiff parts of the stems.
Cut your parsley leaves to ¼ inch pieces and blanch them by submerging them in boiling water for ½ minute.
Dry the leaves using towels or a salad spinner.
Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature around 170-200 °F and lay a parchment paper on the baking sheet and spread your parsley leaves evenly without crowding.
Leave the parsley in the oven for 2-4 hours and often check to prevent burning. You parsley is ready if it crumbles easily when touched.
Crush the leaves and store in air-tight containers.in a cool, dark place. Use the parsley in 6 months after drying.
Growing parsley indoors in pots is quite easy. And it will yield great results. So don´t be intimidated and start growing your very own parsley plants at home now!
You will always have fresh parsley at hand and you will be surprised how much better your very own homegrown parley tastes compared to what you would normally get at the supermarket!