The textured, emerald leaves of curly parsley provide interesting texture and rich color for annual gardens and mixed borders. Grow plenty of it to make a big impact and have enough extra for kitchen use.
Description of curly parsley: Parsley has multiple sprigs of curling, divided leaves that grow into a handsome mound of greenery. The foliage reaches about 1 foot and remains fresh and appealing throughout the growing season. If allowed to remain in the garden during winter, parsley will go to seed the following year, sending up a flowering stalk several feet high topped with delicate, umbrella-shaped clusters of flowers.
How to grow curly parsley: Plant parsley seeds or seedlings in well-drained but rich and fertile soil, amended with extra compost and located in full sun or light shade. You can sow seeds directly in the garden when spring temperatures grow mild, but not necessarily frost-free. Wait to plant seedlings out, however, until frosts subside. Space seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart. Keep moist and fertilize with a high nitrogen product. In fall, mulch parsley with straw to keep the foliage green well into winter.
Propagating curly parsley: By seed. Sow directly in the garden or for a head start, indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. To speed parsley seeds' sometimes slow germination, soak seeds in warm water for 8 hours before sowing. Place seeds 1/4 inch deep in a peat-based seed sowing mix as they need darkness to sprout. They will germinate in 14 to 21 days (sometimes longer) at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses for curly parsley: Use clusters or masses of parsley between bedding annuals such as pansies and petunias or to make a transition between low plants such as sweet alyssum and moss verbena and medium-height plants such as nicotiana and American marigolds. Sweeps of parsley are particularly useful for separating conflicting colors. They also make a great edging for a flower or ornamental edible garden and blend beautifully into a mixed annual pot.
Curly parsley related varieties: Italian parsley, P. crsipum var. neapolitanum has flat leaves on taller plants. It is considered less decorative but has a more pungent flavor.
Scientific name for: Petroselenum crispum var. crispum