How to Grow Parsley
and Tips for Harvesting Parsley

Learning how to grow parsley is relatively simple. Germinating parsley seeds is the trickiest part to growing parsley and there are actually three types of parsley you can use in cooking.

Harvesting parsley year round is possible in some climates as parsley is considered a biennial.

There are two types of parsley mainly used for their leaves and one that is mainly used for its root.

Parsley seeds can be very difficult to germinate and will probably be the hardest part of growing parsley. Learn how to grow parsley to speed up the germination process.

How to Grow Parsley


Parsley can tolerate cool and damp weather conditions, so you can sow fairly early in the spring. However, do not plant seeds in cold soil.

Parsley is usually grown from seed and germination tends to be on the slow side. Seeds can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to start sprouting.

Although, over 90% of all seeds will germinate well within a week if the soil temperature is literally between 85 to 90 degrees F.

You can also soak parsley seeds overnight in lukewarm water to help jump start the germination process before planting your seeds.

Established parsley doesn't like to have it roots disturbed, so plant seeds where it is to grow. However, you can start seeds indoors and transplant the seedlings successfully if you transplant carefully.

Basics for How to Grow Parsley:

  • Soak your seeds the night before in lukewarm water.
  • Prepare a garden bed or deep pot with nutrient rich soil. Parsley can tolerate less than perfect soil conditions, but needs good drainage.
  • Moisten soil before placing seeds on the soil.
  • You can space your seeds about 6 inches apart or spread seeds out generously and then later thin seedlings out.
  • Add about 1/4 inch of topsoil to cover the seeds. Spray with a misting bottle to moisten the topsoil.
  • Water enough to keep seeds moist and give them at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily.

Keep parsley well watered at all stages of its growth. A light mulch will help to hold moisture in the soil.

Parsley does really well in full sun, but partial sunlight in really warm places can work as well for growing parsley.

Growing parsley is fairly easy and trouble free. Parsley will grow well into the fall months and even year round in some climates.

Harvesting Parsley Tip 1


You can begin harvesting parsley when it is about 6 inches tall, but try to remove no more than 1/3 of the leaves at first.

Just snip stems off close to the ground and start with the outside leaves as this encourages new growth.

You can even cut all the parsley stems off at one time when the plant is big enough. In just about 3 weeks you will probably see new leaves growing again, so don't be afraid to harvest what you need.

Parsley is best used fresh and you can also freeze parsley successfully. Some people even like to dry or dehydrate this herb for future use.

Parsley holds its shape well under refrigeration when wrapped in a damp towel. You can even put parsley in a glass jar filled with some water and leave it on your counter until needed.

Harvesting Parsley Tip 2

Types of Parsley

There are very few dishes that do not benefit from the addition of this herb. Parsley also combines very well with other herbs.

Parsley is often part of the bouquet garni which is a bundle of fresh herbs used to enhance stocks, soups, and sauces.

The two main types of parsley used in culinary dishes are curly leaf and Italian or flat leaf.

The other type of parsley is considered more of a root vegetable. The Hamburg or parsley root produces a much thicker type of root than the first two types of parsley and has flat leaves that can also be consumed.

Italian or Flat Leaf Parsley - is preferred by some as it may be the easiest to cultivate. It has a stronger flavor than curly leaf, although this is a topic of controversy.

Curly Leaf Parsley - is preferred some because of its more decorative appearance and is typically used for garnishing food.

The curly leaf may not be as flavorful, but some people prefer to use this type of parsley.

Hamburg or Parsley Root - it looks similar in appearance to parsnip, but tastes quite better. It has a combination of various flavors and looks like a beige white carrot.

Its root takes about 4 to 5 months from seed to harvest and can even be left over winter in the ground until early spring. Root parsley is a common ingredient in European soups & stews.

Harvesting Parsley Seeds

Unlike annual herbs that complete its life cycle in a single season, parsley is a true biennial. That is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its life cycle.

Parsley will bolt to flower and begin to seed at the beginning of its second year and sometimes in excessive heat.

Parsley that has wintered over in your garden can begin to grow with the first rays of sun in the spring and soon after you will be able to harvest parsley seeds.

If your going to harvest parsley seeds, wait until the majority of the seeds in the flower heads turn brown. You may also want to select seeds from plants that had vigorous growth and healthy leaves.

Gently cut the stem of the plant and turn upside down into a brown paper bag. Then shake the bag to dislodge the ripened seeds.

Make sure your seeds are completely dry before storing them in a container for further plantings.

You can also dedicate a piece of land when growing parsley and then let it re-seed itself every year. This may be how to grow parsley with the least amount of work on your part.

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