Parsley: sowing, cultivation, maintenance, harvest

Parsley is a biennial aromatic plant, essential in the kitchen. Growing it in the garden or in a pot is therefore the best solution to always have it on hand because it is used in many culinary preparations. Its cultivation does not pose any particular difficulty. Let’s see how to sow parsley in the best conditions and take care of it to harvest this aromatic throughout the year.

Sow parsley

It is in February that we can begin to sow parsley in place in the southernmost regions. In other geographical areas, it is better to wait until March is well advanced, knowing that parsley can be sown until mid-September. No rush therefore because some severe frosts can sometimes make the gardens shiver until mid-May. In this case, the use of a tunnel or a chassis can prove to be of great help if one is in a hurry.

Parsley likes loose floors, perfectly decompressed, rich in nutrients (fertile), deep and well drained. He appreciates the sunny situations in the morning and semi-shaded the afternoon. Leaving it in full sun in the summer during the hottest hours may cause a burn on its leaves.

Seedlings in pots

It is advisable to soak the seeds in a glass of slightly warm water for 12 to 24 hours to facilitate germination, then proceed as follows:

  • Place potting soil in cells, small cups or in a box,
  • Sow about three seeds per bucket or by spacing them 2 cm in the box,
  • Cover the seedlings with a thin layer of potting soil,
  • Tamp lightly by hand,
  • Water as a spray so as not to risk dislodging the seeds.

Place the seedlings in a bright and warm place but without direct sunlight and keep the soil always moist to allow the emergence of the seedlings, which can take 15 to 20 days indoors and between 1 and 2 months in the garden.


Young plants resulting from seedlings are to be transplanted as soon as they have formed 4 sheets, either in the ground, making sure to separate them by 25 cm in all directions, or in a pot.

Sow in the ground

It is quite possible to sow parsley directly in place. In this case, the method is as follows:

  • Dig a furrow with the lack of a rake for example, and if you want to cultivate on several furrows, make sure to space them from each other by 25 to 30 cm,
  • Sow a seed every 6 cm,
  • Cover the seedlings with a thickness of 1 cm of potting soil,
  • Tamp lightly with the back of the rake,
  • Sprinkle in fine rain.

The soil must always be moist, otherwise the seeds will not germinate. Finally, thethinning occurs when the seedlings have 4 leaves. To thin out the rows of parsley, only keep the most vigorous plants, at the rate of one every 18 to 20 cm.

What about parsley bought in a jar?

Sowing parsley requires a little patience before you can harvest it. That is why many people prefer to buy it in a jar. But it is essential not to wait to replant it in a slightly larger pot. If you have a garden, it can of course be replanted in the ground.

Parsley grown in pots indoors can be released in fine weather and enjoy the outdoors until the first frost of autumn, after which he must return home.

Maintain the parsley

Parsley should produce all year round as long as it is well rooted. He has not no big demands, but you must however take care to provide it with the following few treatments.


The earth must always keep a sufficient humidity. In summer, parsley can suffer from drought but also very hot weather. It is therefore essential to water regularly in order to avoid its yellowing or even an early rise in seeds.


You can save water by taking the precaution of laying a mulch at the foot of the parsley because this limits the evaporation process. It is also an excellent solution for retarding the growth of weeds. This way the gardener spends less time weeding.


To promote the development of the leaves, we can make, every 4 to 6 weeks, a contribution ofliquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen to be diluted in a watering can, respecting the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.

Parasites and diseases

In the vast majority of cases, parsley is an aromatic plant that shows a good resistance to pests and diseases. You should still beware of snails and slugs which delight in very young plants in the germination phase because they are tender. The gastropods appear especially after a good rain. It is then sufficient to dislodge them manually.

As for the two diseases that can possibly be detected in parsley, they arepowdery mildew and some rust which respectively cause white or red spots on the foliage. It is absolutely essential to remove affected leaves at the first signs.

Protect your parsley in winter

In areas with harsh winters, it is preferable that parsley is grown in pots as this allows protect him easily from the cold. For example, it can be placed under an awning or even better installed in the kitchen, near the window provided it is not exposed to direct sunlight. On parsley grown in the ground, we put a mulch if it has not already been done, or even a wintering veil but it is less practical to harvest it.

Some gardeners use a tight and others simply cover it with a Bell makeshift so that the icy wind and heavy frost do not damage it. Regardless of the solution chosen, it will be necessary to water it from time to time during the off-season, but only when it is not freezing. If it lacks water, parsley may not survive.

Harvest the parsley

We can start harvesting the parsley three months after sowing. Then the harvest takes place throughout the year. The ideal is to pick it as and when needed in order to eat it fresh. As soon as it is dry, it hardly has any flavor. It is not torn off with large handles so as not to damage the foot, but we use scissors to cut the stems cleanly, preferably choosing the oldest. If you want to keep parsley, it is better to chop it as soon as it is harvested and then freeze it in small ice cube trays so that only the necessary quantity is taken when the time comes.

Finally, it should be noted that the life cycle parsley is two years. This biennial plant produces flowers in its second year and then seeds which can be taken for sowing, which will replace old plants.

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