Your Complete Guide to Growing Parsley Indoors
Native to Europe, parsley or petroselinium crispum, now grows all over the world, in fact many believe parsley to be the world’s most popular herb.
And why wouldn’t it be when you consider how many dishes, especially Greek and Mediterranean, just wouldn’t be the same without parsley.
Parsley is also a very popular garnish for when that little finishing touch is needed to a complete the perfect meal creation.
Fortunately for indoor gardeners, parsley grows very well in containers.
It’s a biennial herb that grows from a long taproot and can reach 18 inches in height and 12 inches in diameter.
The parsley plant is relatively short lived, which means you’ll have to replaced plants annually, or as required.
So, if parsley is on your list of must have indoor herbs, then just follow these instructions for growing parsley indoors, and you shouldn’t have too many problems.
How To Grow Parsley Indoors
When grown indoors, parsley enjoys plenty of bright light, either directly from the sun or with the help of an indoor grow light.
If you’re just starting out as an indoor herb gardener, you may benefit from indoor herb starter kits that come complete with grow lights.
Parsley is known to be a very hardy plant that can survive quite extreme temperatures.
Outdoors, it can withstand low temperatures of -4 degrees F. ( -20 degrees C).
Indoors, it won’t have to deal with such extreme conditions, however, as with most potted into plants during the hotter months, it’ll need constant moisture.
As with most herbs, parsley’s peak growing period occurs during the warmer months, June – August.
Watering Parsley Indoors
It’s important to watch soil moisture levels during the warmer growing months.
If the top half inch of the soil mix is dry, then your parsley plant will need to be watered.
Be careful though not to over water, as this can lead to root rot, a terminal condition for most plants.
During winter, your parsley plant won’t need as much water, but air conditioners can help to reduce soil moisture, so do test the top half inch of soil, every other week or so.
Parsley enjoys a well- draining, loam- based soil mix that’s kept evenly moist
During the peak growing months, treat your parsley with a feed of balanced liquid fertilizer suitable for vegetables and herbs, every few weeks.
As with basil and mint, try to avoid fertilizers rich in phosphorous (P) or potassium (K).
These fertilizers encourage flower growth which competes with leaf growth, and flowering has finished, cut of course its parsley leaves that you’re really after.
How to Prune Parsley
During flowering season, remove the flower heads to extend the harvest season. Once flowering has finished, cut the plant right back to the base using scissors.
If any shoots start to turn yellow, remove them from your plant and compost.
Growing Parsley in Pots from Seed
Select a good- sized pot that’s at least 10 inches in diameter and has drainage holes at the base.
Sow parsley seeds thinly across the surface of the pot in good quality soil mix.
Cover with ½ inch (1.25 cm) of the soil mix and water in.
Leave in a cool spot to germinate, making sure that it doesn’t dry out.
With parsley seeds, germination can take up to six weeks.
Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out, leaving 1-2 inches between each one.
You can begin to harvest your parsley when the plants are 6 inches in height.
When harvesting parsley, cut the older, outer leaves and stems first, using a pair of scissors.
Types of Parsley
There are over thirty different types of parsley, but only a few are grown indoors.
The two most popular types of parsley chosen by indoor gardeners are the flat leaf parsley and curly parsley.
Flat Leaf Parsley
Flat leaf parsley (P.crispum neapolitanum), also known as Italian parsley, has flat dark-green glossy green leaves resembling cilantro.
Flat leaf parsley can grow up to 24-36 inches tall when planted outdoors and about half this height indoors.
It has a sweeter more prominent flavor than curly parsley and is the type of parsley most preferred by cooks.
Curly parsley (P.crispum), also known as common parsley, has tightly curled fringed leaves arranged in bright green clumps on short sturdy stems.
Curly parsley is mainly used in the kitchen as a garnish.
Parsley Health Benefits
Parsley is high in vitamins, making it a very healthy addition to your diet.
A serving of parsley contains more than twice the amount of iron than spinach (sorry Popeye) and three times the amount of vitamin C than oranges.
Parsley is also one of the best-known sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health as it helps the body absorb calcium and excrete any excess.
Early research is showing some exciting possibilities for a role vitamin K might play in preventing and treating neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s.
Parsley also acts as a diuretic, helping to dissolve and expel gallstones, as well as preventing them from forming.
Parsley root helps to protect your liver and helps moderate blood sugar levels.
If you suffer from allergies like me (Hay fever season is not my favorite), then adding parsley to your diet can really help.
This is because parsley helps to reduce histamine levels which can reduce the symptoms of allergies such as hay fever.
Finally, early research shows that parsley contains cancer fighting compounds such as flavonol myricetin and apigenin.
Apigenin is thought to reduce the size of tumors in an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Although much more research needs to be done to create drugs for human consumption, early results give cause for hope.
Parsley Benefits for Beauty
Parsley has benefits for your skin as it’s high in antioxidants and minerals.
The high levels of vitamin C found in parsley, promotes the production of collagen, which helps to keep your skin looking young.
Expensive anti-ageing creams use vitamins as a core ingredient due to its effectiveness.
Parsley however, it a more natural and less expensive source of this anti-aging compound.
The high levels of vitamin K in parsley improves the elasticity of your skin and reduces redness.
Due to all the high levels of vitamins and minerals, parsley has great health benefits for your eyes.
Thanks to high levels of beta-carotene and carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, parsley provides protection against eye diseases and age related degeneration.
Trouble Shooting- Common indoor Parsley Care Issues
Mint is quite a hardy plant and generally quite hard to kill. When grown indoors, mint is not likely to be affected too badly by pest or disease.
Here are some of the most common mint growing issues;
Problem: leaves turning yellow or pink and growth is stunted
Cause: Aphids or carrot fly
Solution: Remove aphids by hand or use a homemade garlic spray to get rid of them
Problem: leaves turning yellow & drooping
Cause: Aphids or carrot fly
Solution: Shower the plant to remove the insects or use insecticidal soap
Problem: looking dry and colorless
Cause: Not enough water
Solution: Keep up your watering, especially in summer
Problem: Stunted growth, lacking color
Cause: Lack of bright light
Solution: Move your plant to a sunnier spot or use a small grow light.
Tabbouleh is the national dish of Lebanon in North Africa. It is a delicious salad with a unique combination of flavors made from bulgar (cracked) wheat and featuring fresh parsley.
Serve with grilled barbecued or roasted vegetables or meat. This recipe takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to make and serves 4 people.
3oz / 75 g bulgur (cracked) wheat
2 oz / 50g fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped)
2 oz / 50g fresh mint leaves (chopped)
3 fl oz / 85 ml extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions (spring onions) (chopped)
2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and pepper
- Put the wheat into a bowl and cover with lemon juice, leaving to stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally
- Add the herbs and scallions, mixing well
- Pour in the olive oil, season to taste and stir well
- Transfer to a serving dish, put the diced tomatoes on top and enjoy!
How to Grow Herbs Indoors – The Series
Mint: how-to grow-mint-indoors
Rosemary: how-to grow-rosemary-indoors