Perk up your garden and your mealtimes by adding parsley to your growing roster. The only maintenance this fuss-free herb requires is planting and harvesting. Give plants evenly moist, well-drained soil, and you’ll enjoy fresh green flavors in no time. Curly leaf parsley brings a crisp taste to salads, vegetables, and herb butters, and it’s a key ingredient in bouquet garni and fines herbes, an herb blend used in French cuisine. Flat-leaf Italian parsley boasts a stronger flavor that holds up well in cooking, earning this herb a place in soups, stews, and sauces.
In the garden, both parsleys thrive in beds or containers. Curly leaf parsley makes a handsome edging for planting beds, particularly when paired with a contrasting foliage texture, such as upright chives or fat-leaf basil. Black swallowtail butterflies lay eggs on curly parsley. Look for black, green, and yellow striped caterpillars munching their way along stems.
Type: Annual, Herb
Height: From 1 to 8 feet
Width: 8-24 inches wide
Flower color: White
Seasonal features: Summer bloom
Special features: Attracts birds, Good for containers
How to Grow Parsley
Although this herb tolerates poor soil and drainage, it’s always preferable to situate plants in organic-rich, well-drained soil when growing parsley. Planting parsley in areas with full sun to partial shade is also recommended. This easy-care herb requires little maintenance, other than occasional watering or weeding, once established. These tasks, however, can be reduced by applying mulch around the plants.
Parsley can be harvested throughout the year, especially when growing parsley in a cold frame or indoors during winter. You should begin harvesting parsley once the leaves start to curl. For optimal flavor, pick parsley early in the day (morning hours) when the plant’s oil is strongest. Parsley is best used while fresh; however, it can be frozen until ready for use. It’s also better to freeze parsley rather than drying, as this may cause the herb to lose some of its flavor.
Now that you know more about how to grow parsley, you can add it to your garden. Growing parsley not only adds a delicious herb to your garden, but a lovely one as well.