Growing Parsley Indoors Is Easy. Here Are the 8 Steps on How to Grow Parsley At Home
The most important thing you need to prepare when growing parsley indoors is your patience. Sprouting takes a while, but once you get them going, you’ll have an abundant supply of these tasty fresh herbs any time of the year.
The best part? There’s no waste because you can eat everything from the root to the leaves. We’ll teach you new ways of preparing and saving them for future use. You can keep parsley in your pantry for as long as two years!
What You Need to Plant Parsley
- Parsley seeds
- Small bowl
- Wide, deep containers with drainage holes
- Potting soil
- Rich fertilizer
- Plastic wrap
- Watering can
- Garden spade/ fork
- Grow lights (optional)
How To Grow Parsley Indoors In 8 Steps
Get ready to know how to plant parsley indoors starting from seeds. And then learn how to care for parsley through its two-year growing season.
1. Choose Your Parsley Variety
Parsley is great to have in the kitchen. You can cook with them, eat them fresh or just use them to make your dishes look pretty. But some varieties are more suited for eating than others.
Here are the common parsley varieties and their best uses for the kitchen (1).
|Parsley Variety||Appearance||Taste||Best used as|
|Italian parsley (a.k.a. Flat leaf)||Dark green color|
|Strong, vibrant herb flavor||Fresh herb for salad or sauces|
|Curly Parsley||Bright green color|
|Mild, sweet herb flavor||Fresh herb for garnish|
Frozen for detox juice
|Hamberg Parsley||White parsley root||Deep earthy flavor with an herb taste||Best for stews or soups|
No matter the variety you choose, parsley grows the same way. You can grow all three types in containers indoors, any time of the year. But, you’ll have to control and maintain the temperature because these herbs don’t like extreme cold or hot environments.
2. Soak The Parsley Seeds
Parsley is a relatively small plant, but it has big round seeds. And, it will take anywhere between 10 and 28 days for seeds to start germinating (2). I know, that’s a really long time to wait for one parsley plant to sprout. You can thank the thick seed coat for that.
Soaking the seeds before sowing boosts parsley seed germination. Completely exposing the seed to water softens the seed coat and pretty much tells the seed, “Hey, there’s a lot of moisture around you, time to come out.”
You can soak seeds overnight or for 8 to 12 hours in a shallow bowl or jar. Never let them soak for more than 24 hours because too much water will cause them to rot.
If you hate waiting, you can use warm water to soak your seeds. Seeds are a sucker for warm and wet environments. But increasing the temperature lessens the soaking time. So as soon as your seeds look plump, take them out and dry them with a towel.
3. Prepare The Soil And Containers
Now, it’s time to prepare the properly-sized container and soil for your parsley.
The Right Container for Parsley
Now that your seeds are ready, it’s time to prepare the containers. Choose a nice, deep container that’s also moderately wide. A 2-gallon container that is 8-9 inches wide should do the trick (3). If you’re growing parsley root, choose a deeper container of the same diameter.
You need to give the root system room to grow. This becomes more important if you’re growing parsley root because the top half can grow up to 12 inches wide. Luckily, having a relatively wide container will do the trick.
The Proper Soil for Parsley
Regular potting soil doesn’t quite cut it for this flavorful herb. Parsley needs rich soil to develop its flavor. So, you’ll have to mix some compost or organic fertilizer into the store-bought potting soil.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard with the nitrogen content. Too much nitrogen in the soil can negatively affect its taste (4).
Top up the soil nutrients every six weeks to keep the herb vibrant and flavorful.
Make sure you don’t compact the soil or use regular garden soil. You want it loose enough for the roots to grow, expand, and absorb as many nutrients from the ground.
It also makes it easier for a parsley root to push downward and expand sideways, giving you a more significant root yield for cooking.
4. Sow Parsley Seeds
All the prep is done, and you’re ready to sow the seeds. Don’t bother with a seedling tray with this green bunch. Transplanting adds stress to the sensitive roots. All that time waiting for the seeds to sprout might go down the drain if they don’t survive the transfer.
Sow parsley seeds directly into the big pots. Achieve success with more parsley seed germination by planting more seeds in a pot.
Cover seeds with an ⅛ inch layer of soil to keep them moist. You can sow seeds outdoors to give them more light as they sprout. But make sure you mark the seeds’ position in the pot. Newly emerged parsley seedlings look an awful lot like baby grass. So don’t just go plucking out weed/grasslike growths in your container.
5. Keep The Soil Moist
A few weeks after the shoots emerge, you can grow parsley indoors again. These growing plants need a lot of water. But in terms of how often to water parsley, a good pour once a week is enough.
The soil should be moist. Avoid overwatering because root rot can develop and kill your parsley. And again, if you’re growing the herb for its root, this is something you want to monitor carefully. You don’t want a soggy root crop.
Get a glimpse into your plant’s future by watching this timelapse.
When the plants reach 6 inches, you can add a 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch on the soil (5). Why? Adding mulch can keep the soil moist on hot summer days.
6. Place Indoor Parsley Pots In A Shaded Area
A parsley plant withers quickly under direct sunlight. They prefer indirect sunlight to keep their leaves fresh and vibrant.
Seeing as they love the partial shade, growing parsley in pots indoors is easier. Just think, you don’t need to go outside to get herbs for cooking. You can just keep them on the kitchen counter. Plus, you don’t need to spend on a grow light setup.
You just have to make sure that they still get full sun rays every now and then. If the leaves and outer stems start wilting off, put the plants right next to a sunny window. You’ll need to do this more often when days start getting shorter.
Depending on your temperature control indoors, you might need to cover your plants with plastic to keep the leaf stalks from freezing. Flat-leaf parsley is more adaptable to temperatures compared to the bright green curly leaf variety (6).
7. Harvest And Store Parsley Plants The Right Way
When To Harvest Parsley
You can start harvesting parsley between 70 and 90 days after sprouting (7).
“The parsley plant can be harvested continuously throughout the growing season as needed by either plucking off a few leaves or by cutting stems 1 to 3 inches above the crown.“
Cutting a few inches above the crown allows new growth of stems and leaves. It’s also better to harvest in the morning when the weather is cool. Harvesting in the middle of the day causes the harvested stalks to wilt faster.
How to Harvest Parsley
So, how to harvest parsley? Make sure that you harvest flat-leaf parsley and curly parsleys starting from the outer leaves because the inner leaves are younger and less flavorful. Pick a few stems close to the base to encourage your thin parsley plant to grow bushier. After harvesting, wait a few weeks until you see new growth.
Harvesting too much and too often will cause your plant to bolt early. When this happens, flower stalks start growing, and the entire plant becomes inedible. Keeping harvests to a minimum extends the flavorful life of your parsley plant.
Parsley root, on the other hand, can stay on the ground longer to develop the flavors. You can harvest leaves of parsley root and use it as a fresh herb. But it tastes milder than the other two varieties. If you plant parsley root in the spring, it should be ready to harvest by mid-late fall.
How to Store Parsley
After harvesting, you can store the leaves and stems as either fresh, dried, or frozen parsley.
Keeping fresh parsley at room temperature is okay to use within 2-3 days. The longer you wait, the less crunchy and aromatic they become. Putting them in the refrigerator keeps parsley fresh longer.
Frozen parsley leaves keep their flavor and color well. Chop up some fresh parsley leaves and put them in an ice cube tray with a little bit of water. They will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Another way to use the freezer is by freeze-drying parsley. Wrap washed bunches in a damp paper towel. Put in an airtight bag and keep it in the freezer. Use freeze-dried parsley leaves by snipping out sprigs as needed.
Parsley leaves last the longest when dried. Dry parsley still has the intense flavor of the herb, but not the color or texture—dry parsley by hanging bunches in a clean, ventilated room with little light. Wrapping a paper bag around the parsley keeps dust and bugs away.
After seven days, scrunch the bag, and voila, you have dried parsley. Transfer them in an airtight container, and you can extend their shelf life for two years.
8. Plant A New Batch
Parsley is a biennial plant. It produces lush foliage in the first year. But when the second year of the season comes along, flower stalks grow, and the parsley plant starts to produce seeds. You can harvest seeds from the older plant. But second-year parsley plants develop bitter leaves and a tough stalk. They aren’t suitable for eating anymore, so you can retire your plant already.
Now that you know how to grow parsley indoors. Try growing herbs that compliment it. Basil is another easy-to-grow herb. You can definitely grow these herbs together indoors. If you want a more aromatic addition, try planting lavender indoors too.
Using All Parts of Your Parsley Plant
One of the best things about growing parsley is that you can use this herb for many dishes, and you can use the entire plant.
Flat-leaf parsley leaves make great additions to sauces or an aromatic for braising. It’s a staple herb in a lot of Mediterranean dishes. You can also chop it up and add it to your home-grown microgreens as a salad. Parsley is also a good substitute for basil in making pesto.
For curly-leaf parsleys, they work great for garnishing or a fresh cup of tea.
Don’t discard your parsley’s stalks. There’s still a lot of flavor in them. You can throw them in your soups or stews. Or, if you like added crunch, add them to your salad.
Parsley is not an easy-to-grow herb, at least not in the beginning. It takes a while to get going compared to other herbs. But when it does, it’s a low-maintenance plant. It needs minimal light and ample water. Overall, you get a lot out of this herb in one growing year if you do things right. Grow parsley to add vibrance to food and a gorgeous deep green dimension to your kitchen.
Yes, you can grow parsleys in an indoor hydroponic system. The self-watering containers with liquid fertilizer keep the soilless potting mix moist and rich. The grow lights give it the right amount of light it needs to grow. You can grow both curly and flat-leaf varieties in a hydroponic system. But parsley roots need more space than the usual pods provide.
Flat-leaf parsleys are darker green and more robust than cilantro. The leaves of the flat-leaf variety are also broader. These two herbs differ in flavor and cooking use. Cilantro has a stronger flavor that shows best when fresh. You don’t usually cook cilantro and only need a few sprigs to add flavor. Flat-leaf parsley is milder and more versatile for cooked dishes and as a fresh herb.
Yes, parsley cuttings root in water. You can use cuttings for propagating parsleys instead of sowing seeds. Simply put cuttings in a jar with water and put it on a windowsill until roots form. Transfer them into moist soil and take care of them like you would a normal seedling.
- Parsley. Retrieved from: https://portlandnursery.com/Herbs/Parsley/
- Germinating Parsley. Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinating-parsley-30051.html
- Become a Smarter Gardener in 2019: Get the right container for your veggies! Retrieved from: https://blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu/2019/05/become-smarter-gardener-in-2019-get.html
- Optimizing Flavor in Parsley. Retrieved from: https://projectblue.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/Imported%20Publication%20Docs/AHDB%20Horticulture%20/HerbFlavourFactsheet_PARSLEY_2018_09_19_WEB.pdf
- Caring for Parsley. Retrieved from: https://gardening.yardener.com/Caring-For-Parsley
- Italian Flat Parsley. Retrieved from: https://bonnieplants.com/product/flat-italian-parsley/
- How to Harvest Parsley. Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/harvest-parsley-21656.html
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.