Parsley is one of the most popular culinary herbs. It is a flavourful ingredient in savoury dishes and also helps to create an attractive presentation for your table. Available in a number of varieties from double-curly leaf to flat leaf, most parsley types need similar conditions to thrive. Growing parsley indoors presents some challenges that don't occur when planting this herb in the garden, but it can still be very successfully grown as an indoor plant if a few important conditions are met.
Soak parsley seeds in hot water for a few hours or overnight before starting them in a soilless medium. Parsley seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate. The seeds have a hard exterior and need a little softening to get them started.
Select seedlings that have vigorous growth and sturdy, glossy leaves.
Plant parsley in rich potting soil that has been amended with water holding elements like perlite or water retaining polymers. Parsley needs rich soil that stays evenly moist. It will not recover from being left to go completely dry.
Select a pot for parsley that is at least 20 cm (8 inches) deep. Parsley has a smooth tap root that goes deep into the soil. The one difference between parsley and some of the herbs you may be used to growing indoors is that parsley needs as deep a pot as you can find.
Mulch parsley with pebbles, marbles or shredded bark. This will help retain moisture.
Water parsley on a regular schedule, being sure to check it often when temperatures rise. Changes in the environment in your home affect the water requirements of your houseplants.
Place parsley in a bright location that receives at least six hours of light each day; eight hours of light is even better. For parsley, a western or southern exposure offers the best light. If the leaves start to bend, moving toward the light source, place the plant closer to the window. Spindly growth is an indication that parsley isn't getting enough light. If you are having problems offering the parsley plant enough light, consider installing a grow light.
Harvest parsley from late spring until early autumn. In spring of the following year, harvest parsley seeds and start new seedlings.
Parsley is biennial. It completes its life cycle every two years. Unlike annual herbs that germinate, grow, set seed and die in a single season, parsley sets seed at the beginning of its second year and stops growing soon after. This makes it appear at first that it’s a perennial, long-lived plant, but it's not. To ensure that you always have some parsley on hand, be sure to start new seedlings every year.
Tips and warnings
- Parsley is biennial. It completes its life cycle every two years. Unlike annual herbs that germinate, grow, set seed and die in a single season, parsley sets seed at the beginning of its second year and stops growing soon after. This makes it appear at first that it’s a perennial, long-lived plant, but it's not. To ensure that you always have some parsley on hand, be sure to start new seedlings every year.
Things you need
- Deep pot
- Potting soil