How To Plant Parsley From Seed [ Full Guide ]

Parsley is a popular herb used for its fresh flavor and nutritional benefits. It’s a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes, making it a desirable addition to any kitchen garden. Growing parsley from seed is a rewarding and relatively simple process that allows you to enjoy a fresh supply of this flavorful herb at your fingertips. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps involved in planting parsley from seed, ensuring that you can cultivate a successful parsley garden in your own backyard.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Parsley From Seed

Planting parsley from seed involves selecting appropriate varieties, preparing the soil, sowing the seeds, providing proper care, and harvesting the herb when it reaches maturity. Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved in planting parsley from seed:

  1. Select the right parsley variety: Choose a variety of parsley that suits your growing conditions and culinary preferences.
  2. Prepare the soil: Ensure the soil is well-drained, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic.
  3. Sow the seeds: Plant the parsley seeds directly in the prepared soil or in containers if you prefer indoor gardening.
  4. Provide proper care: Water the seeds regularly, ensure they receive adequate sunlight, and protect them from pests and diseases.
  5. Harvest the parsley: Once the parsley reaches maturity, you can start harvesting the leaves as needed.

Benefits Of Growing Parsley In Your Garden

Growing parsley in your garden offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Fresh Supply: By growing parsley in your garden, you always have a fresh supply of this flavorful herb at hand.
  2. Nutritional Value: Parsley is rich in vitamins and minerals, and consuming fresh, home-grown parsley ensures maximum nutritional benefits.
  3. Cost-Effective: Growing parsley from seed is a cost-effective way to have a constant supply of this herb, saving you money compared to purchasing it from the store.
  4. Enhanced Flavors: Freshly cut parsley has a more intense flavor compared to store-bought varieties, enhancing the taste of your culinary creations.

Selecting The Right Parsley Varieties For Your Conditions

Before you plant parsley from seed, it’s important to choose the right variety that suits your gardening conditions and culinary needs. There are two main types of parsley: curly leaf parsley and flat-leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley. Here’s a closer look at each variety:

Curly Leaf Parsley

  • Appearance: This variety has tightly curled, bright green leaves, making it an attractive addition to any garden.
  • Flavor: It has a milder flavor compared to flat-leaf parsley, making it a versatile herb for garnishes and flavoring dishes.
  • Growth Characteristics: Curly leaf parsley tends to have a slower growth rate compared to flat-leaf parsley.

Flat-Leaf Parsley (Italian Parsley)

  • Appearance: It features flat, dark green leaves with a more robust flavor compared to curly leaf parsley.
  • Flavor: Flat-leaf parsley has a stronger, slightly peppery flavor, making it ideal for seasoning and enhancing the taste of various dishes.
  • Growth Characteristics: This variety typically grows faster than curly leaf parsley, providing a more abundant supply of leaves.

When selecting the right parsley variety for your garden, consider factors such as climate, available space, and your personal culinary preferences. Both curly leaf and flat-leaf parsley are well-suited for outdoor and indoor cultivation, with the latter being a popular choice for culinary use due to its robust flavor.

Preparation For Planting Parsley Seeds

Soil Preparation

Parsley thrives in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a slightly acidic pH level. Follow these steps to prepare the soil for planting parsley seeds:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Select a spot in your garden or yard that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
  2. Amend the soil: If the soil in your chosen location is compacted or lacks nutrients, amend it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve its texture and fertility.
  3. Check the pH: Test the soil pH using a simple soil testing kit, aiming for a slightly acidic pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. If the pH is too high, consider adding sulfur to lower it.

Sowing Parsley Seeds

Once the soil is prepared, it’s time to sow the parsley seeds. Follow these guidelines to ensure successful sowing and germination of parsley seeds:

  1. Timing: Parsley can be grown from seed in both spring and fall. For spring planting, sow the seeds after the last frost date. For fall planting, sow the seeds approximately 10-12 weeks before the first expected fall frost.
  2. Spacings: Sow the parsley seeds 6 to 8 inches apart in rows that are 12 to 18 inches apart. If you’re planting in containers, select a pot that is at least 8 inches deep to accommodate the long taproot of parsley.

Care And Maintenance

After sowing the parsley seeds, provide the following care to support healthy growth and development:

  1. Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water the parsley plants regularly, especially during dry periods, to promote healthy growth.
  2. Sunlight: Parsley thrives in full sun to partial shade. Ensure that the plants receive adequate sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.
  3. Thinning: Once the parsley seedlings emerge, thin them to maintain the proper spacing between the plants. Remove the weakest seedlings, leaving the healthiest ones with the recommended spacing.
  4. Fertilization: Apply a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions to provide essential nutrients for robust growth.

Protection From Pests And Diseases

Parsley plants are generally resistant to most pests and diseases. However, common pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and spider mites can occasionally pose a threat. To protect your parsley from these potential threats, consider the following preventive measures:

  1. Natural Predators: Encourage the presence of beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, by planting companion plants that attract these natural predators.
  2. Organic Pest Control: Utilize organic pest control methods, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, to deter and eliminate common pests without resorting to harsh chemical pesticides.
  3. Good Hygiene: Regularly inspect your parsley plants for signs of pests or diseases, and promptly remove any affected foliage to prevent the spread of infestations.

Planting parsley from seed is a gratifying experience that rewards you with a bountiful supply of fresh, flavorful herbs. By selecting the right parsley variety, preparing the soil, sowing the seeds, and providing proper care, you can successfully grow parsley in your garden or in containers. Whether you opt for curly leaf parsley or robust flat-leaf parsley, the process of planting from seed allows you to enjoy the benefits of home-grown parsley in your culinary creations. With the information provided in this guide, you are well-equipped to embark on a successful parsley-growing journey and savor the delights of fresh, home-grown herbs in your dishes.

Best Time To Plant Parsley Seeds

Parsley is a versatile and popular herb used in a variety of culinary dishes. It adds a delicious flavor and vibrant green color to salads, soups, and many other recipes. Growing parsley from seed is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy a fresh supply of this aromatic herb throughout the entire season.

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Parsley is a cool-season herb that prefers mild temperatures to thrive. It is best to sow parsley seeds in early spring or late summer/early fall, depending on your location. If you live in a region with a mild winter, you can even sow parsley seeds in late winter.

The reason behind this timing is that parsley prefers temperatures between 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 20°C) for optimal germination and growth. Sowing parsley seeds in hot summer temperatures can result in poor germination rates or even failure to germinate altogether.

Soil Preparation For Parsley Planting

Parsley grows best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting parsley seeds, it’s important to prepare the soil properly to provide a favorable growing environment for the herb.

  1. Choose a location: Select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Parsley can also tolerate partial shade, but full sun is preferable for maximum growth and flavor.

  2. Soil pH: Parsley thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. You can test the pH of your soil using a soil testing kit available at garden centers or by sending a sample to a local agricultural extension office. If the soil pH is too alkaline, you can amend it by adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss.

  3. Soil preparation: Start by removing any weeds or debris from the planting area. Dig the soil using a garden fork or tiller to a depth of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm). Break up any clumps and remove stones or large debris. This will improve the soil structure and help with drainage.

  4. Organic matter: Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold, into the soil. This will improve its fertility, water-holding capacity, and overall texture. Spread a 2-3 inch (5-8 cm) layer of organic matter over the planting area and mix it into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil.

Sowing Parsley Seeds

Now that your soil is prepared, it’s time to sow the parsley seeds. Follow these steps to ensure successful germination and healthy seedling growth:

  1. Seed selection: Start by choosing high-quality parsley seeds from a reputable seed supplier. Look for fresh seeds, as parsley seeds have a limited shelf life and their viability decreases over time. Consider selecting a variety that suits your needs, such as curly leaf parsley or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.

  2. Seed soaking (optional): Some gardeners prefer to soak parsley seeds overnight before sowing to enhance germination rates. This step is optional but can help speed up the germination process. Place the seeds in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for 12-24 hours.

  3. Seed spacing: Parsley seeds are tiny, so it’s important to distribute them evenly and avoid overcrowding. Create furrows or shallow trenches in the prepared soil, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) deep. Space the furrows 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) apart to allow adequate airflow and room for the plants to grow.

  4. Sowing the seeds: Sprinkle the parsley seeds along the furrows, aiming for a consistent spacing of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between each seed. Gently cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or vermiculite. Avoid burying the seeds too deeply, as parsley seeds require exposure to light to germinate.

  5. Watering: After sowing the parsley seeds, gently water the area using a fine mist or a gentle spray nozzle. Be careful not to wash away the seeds. Moistening the soil will provide the necessary moisture for germination without causing any disturbance to the seeds.

  6. Mulching (optional): Applying a thin layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, over the seeded area can help retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. However, keep the mulch layer light to prevent it from smothering the delicate parsley seedlings.

  7. Germination and thinning: Parsley seeds usually take 2-3 weeks to germinate, although it can sometimes take longer. Once the seedlings emerge, thin them out to maintain a spacing of 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) between plants. This step ensures that the remaining seedlings have enough space and resources to develop into healthy plants.

Proper Watering And Fertilization For Parsley Seedlings

As the parsley seedlings continue to grow, they require appropriate water and nutrients to develop strong roots and lush foliage. Here are some guidelines for watering and fertilizing parsley seedlings:

  1. Watering: Parsley plants prefer consistently moist soil but can be sensitive to overwatering. Water the seedlings regularly, especially during dry periods or when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid waterlogging the soil, as it can lead to root rot and other issues. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, but not saturated.

  2. Fertilization: Parsley is a relatively low-maintenance herb that doesn’t require heavy feeding. However, it benefits from occasional fertilization to promote healthy growth. Start by incorporating a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil during planting. After the seedlings have established, you can apply a diluted liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  3. Mulching (optional): Once the parsley seedlings are well-established, applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Mulch also gradually decomposes, adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

  4. Pest and disease management: Keep an eye out for common parsley pests, such as aphids, caterpillars, or leaf miners. If you notice any signs of pest damage, you can use organic pest control methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap. Parsley is generally resistant to diseases, but if you observe any signs of fungal infections, promptly remove infected plants to prevent spreading.

Planting parsley from seed is a rewarding and straightforward process. By choosing the appropriate time to sow, preparing the soil thoroughly, and providing adequate care to the seedlings, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this versatile herb throughout the growing season. Remember to select high-quality seeds, provide sufficient sunlight, water, and nutrients, and watch for pests and diseases. With a little attention and care, you’ll soon be enjoying the fresh and aromatic taste of homegrown parsley in your favorite recipes.

Maintaining Parsley Plants During Growth

Parsley is a versatile herb that adds flavor and visual appeal to a wide variety of dishes. It is easy to grow from seed, making it a popular choice for home gardeners. Planting parsley from seed allows you to have a constant supply of fresh herbs throughout the growing season.

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Parsley is a cool-season herb that thrives in well-draining soil and prefers partial shade. It can be grown in containers or directly in the ground. By following a few simple steps, you can successfully grow parsley from seed and enjoy its fresh taste in your culinary creations.

Selecting The Right Location

Parsley plants prefer partial shade, especially in warmer climates. Choose a location that receives 4-6 hours of sunlight per day, preferably in the morning or late afternoon. If you live in a hot climate, consider planting your parsley in a spot where it will receive some shade during the hottest part of the day.

Preparing The Soil

Parsley thrives in well-draining soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds and debris. Loosen the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches and add organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve drainage and add nutrients.

Planting Parsley Seeds

Parsley seeds can take a few weeks to germinate, so it is best to start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Fill a seed tray or small pots with a seed-starting mix and lightly press the seeds into the soil, barely covering them with a thin layer of soil.

Water the seeds lightly and keep the soil consistently moist until they germinate. Once the seedlings have developed their first true leaves, they can be transplanted into the garden or larger containers.

Transplanting Parsley Seedlings

If you are transplanting parsley seedlings to the garden, space them 6-8 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. Gently remove the seedlings from their containers, taking care to avoid disturbing the roots. Dig a hole in the garden that is slightly larger than the root ball and place the seedling in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil and gently pat it down.

Watering Parsley Plants

Proper watering is essential for the health and growth of parsley plants. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, providing enough water to thoroughly saturate the soil. Avoid overwatering, as parsley does not tolerate soggy soil. Mulching around the plants with straw or wood chips can help retain moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth.

Fertilizing Parsley Plants

Parsley does not require heavy fertilization but benefits from a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers, as they can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of flavor. Instead, choose a fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 blend.

Pruning Parsley Plants

Regular pruning of parsley plants helps promote bushier growth and prevents them from becoming leggy. When the plants are 6-8 inches tall, snip off the outer stems, leaving the inner ones to continue growing. Be sure to leave at least two sets of leaves on each stem to ensure the plant can continue photosynthesizing and producing energy.

Harvesting Parsley Plants And Storage

Harvesting Parsley Leaves

Parsley leaves can be harvested once the plants have reached 8-10 inches in height. To harvest, use a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the outermost stems just above ground level. Avoid cutting into the crown of the plant as this can damage the growth point and inhibit regrowth.

Harvesting the outer stems encourages new growth from the center of the plant, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh leaves throughout the growing season. Regular harvest also prevents the plants from flowering and going to seed, which can cause a decline in flavor and texture.

Storing Fresh Parsley

To keep freshly harvested parsley leaves fresh for longer, place them in a container of water as soon as possible after harvesting. Place the container in the refrigerator, and change the water every few days to maintain freshness. This method can keep parsley leaves fresh for up to two weeks.

Alternatively, you can preserve parsley for later use by drying or freezing. To dry parsley, tie small bundles of stems together and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in an airtight container away from light and moisture.

For freezing, wash the parsley leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a clean towel. Chop the leaves finely and place them in ice cube trays, filling each compartment about halfway. Pour water or olive oil over the chopped leaves and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the parsley cubes to a freezer bag or container for long-term storage.

Using Parsley Flowers

Parsley flowers are not commonly used in culinary applications but can be a beautiful addition to floral arrangements or garnishes. If you choose to let your parsley plants flower, keep in mind that it may signal the end of the plant’s life cycle as the energy is redirected towards seed production.

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Common Pests And Diseases Of Parsley Plants

Parsley plants are generally resistant to most pests and diseases. However, there are a few common issues that you might encounter when growing parsley.


Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can gather on the undersides of parsley leaves. They can be identified by their green, black, or yellow color and cluster together in large numbers. Aphids can cause stunted growth and yellowing of leaves.

To control aphids, you can spray the affected plants with a strong stream of water to dislodge them. Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the infestation. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for safe and effective use.


Caterpillars, such as the parsley worm or swallowtail caterpillar, can feed on parsley leaves, causing damage to the foliage. These caterpillars are typically green with black and yellow markings.

Handpicking the caterpillars off the plants is an effective way to control them. You can also use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a natural bacterial insecticide, for larger infestations.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white powdery coating on the leaves of parsley plants. It thrives in warm, humid conditions and can inhibit photosynthesis, leading to stunted growth.

To prevent powdery mildew, ensure proper air circulation around the plants by spacing them adequately and avoiding overhead watering. If powdery mildew does appear, you can spray the plants with a mixture of milk and water (1:9 ratio) or a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew control.

Root Rot

Root rot is a fungal disease that affects the roots of parsley plants, causing them to turn brown or black and rot. It is typically caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil.

To prevent root rot, ensure that the soil is well-draining and avoid overwatering the plants. If root rot is detected, it is best to remove the affected plants and improve the drainage in the area before replanting.

Troubleshooting Tips For Parsley Planting

Slow Or Low Germination

If your parsley seeds are slow to germinate or have low germination rates, there could be several factors at play. Firstly, parsley seeds have a natural dormancy period that can be broken by "stratifying" them, which involves chilling the seeds in the refrigerator for a few weeks before planting.

Another factor could be the temperature of the environment. Parsley seeds prefer cool temperatures for germination, around 60-70°F (15-21°C). If the soil temperature is higher than this range, the seeds may not germinate as readily. Consider using a seedling heat mat to maintain the ideal temperature for germination.

Lastly, make sure the seeds are planted at the correct depth. Parsley seeds are very small, so they should be planted shallowly, about 1/4 inch deep. If the seeds are buried too deeply, they may struggle to emerge.

Leggy Growth

If your parsley plants are growing tall and leggy with sparse foliage, it is likely due to insufficient light. Parsley plants require adequate sunlight to grow compact and bushy. If they do not receive enough light, they will stretch towards the nearest light source, resulting in elongated stems.

To prevent leggy growth, ensure that your parsley plants are receiving at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you are growing them indoors, place them near a south-facing window or use supplemental grow lights.

Bitter-tasting Leaves

Bitter-tasting parsley leaves can be caused by various factors, including stress, nutrient deficiencies, or exposure to extreme temperatures. Parsley plants that are stressed, either from lack of water or excessive heat, may produce bitter-tasting leaves as a defense mechanism.

To prevent bitter-tasting leaves, ensure that your parsley plants are well-watered and kept in a cool environment. Additionally, regularly fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer to ensure they have sufficient nutrients.


Growing parsley from seed is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy a constant supply of fresh herbs. By selecting the right location, preparing the soil, and providing proper care throughout the growing season, you can cultivate healthy parsley plants.

Regular pruning and harvesting practices will ensure continued growth and production. Storing fresh parsley properly will help prolong its shelf life. In case of common pests and diseases, there are various organic methods available to control them.

With a little patience and care, you can successfully grow parsley from seed and savor its fresh, aromatic flavor in a variety of culinary dishes. Happy planting!


How Long Does It Take For Parsley Seeds To Germinate?

Parsley seeds typically take 2-3 weeks to germinate, depending on the conditions and the freshness of the seeds.

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Parsley Seeds?

Parsley can be planted from late winter to late summer, with the ideal temperature range for germination being between 60-75°F.

Can Parsley Seeds Be Planted Directly In The Ground?

Yes, parsley seeds can be planted directly in the ground, but it is recommended to start them indoors in pots and then transplant them outside once they have established.

How Should I Prepare The Soil Before Planting Parsley Seeds?

Parsley grows best in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level of 6.0-7.0. Mix in compost or well-rotted manure before planting to improve the soil’s overall quality.

How Often Should Parsley Seeds Be Watered After Planting?

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Water parsley seeds regularly, about 1-2 inches per week, to help with germination and growth. Once the plants are established, they can be watered less frequently but deeply to encourage deep root growth.