Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Grow Parsley

Parsley -- chock full of vitamins A and C -- will add color to your window sill and flavor to your favorite homemade dishes. A member of the carrot family, parsley is an easy plant to grow [source: Frogge] that works well in sauces, salads and stews [source: MacKenzie]. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to grow parsley.

  • Planting Parsley requires a lot of direct sunlight and water. If you're growing the plant indoors, plant the seeds at the end of winter, approximately six to eight weeks before the last frost. If you're planting them outside, plant the seeds after the spring frost has ended. Parsley grows best in well drained, organically rich soil with a pH between of 6.0 and 7.0. Be aware that parsley is known for its long germination process. It may take two to five weeks to see the grass-like sprouts emerge from the soil. Water the plants thoroughly at least once a week to ensure that the roots remain moist [source: MacKenzie].
  • Harvesting To ensure that the plant continues to grow, cut the stalks near the soil from the outer edges of the plant. Cutting off just the tops will prevent productive growth [source: MacKenzie]. Snip off the leaves before the plant has begun to flower to obtain the most flavorful foliage [source: Frogge]. While fresh leaves have the most flavor, you can dry or freeze the leaves for use during the winter months. Parsley leaves can be dried by hanging them upside down by their stalks or by placing them in the oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) for a few minutes [source: MacKenzie].

There are several varieties of parsley, including curly parsley, Italian flat-leaf, Hamburg and Japanese parsley. The different varieties differ in appearance, growth and flavor. The Italian flat-leaf parsley has long, serrated leaves that have a sweeter flavor, making it popular for both growing and cooking. In contrast to that, Japanese parsley has a bitter taste. Curley parsley is often planted as a border, and the root of Hamburg parsley is commonly added to soups [source: MacKenzie].