Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is part of the large carrot family, Apiaceae and is best known as either curly leaf or flat leaf, which is also called Italian. Many cooks prefer to use flat leaf parsley claiming it has better flavour and softer texture than the tougher curly form. Native to Mediterranean Europe, parsley is usually grown as an annual in home gardens.

Parsley is rich in vitamins A, K and C along with minerals, flavonoids and antioxidants. Its leaves are chopped as a garnish or to add to stews, stocks, soups and white sauce however, to get the full health benefits of parsley, discover recipes that use large quantities. It is delicious blended with nuts, garlic, oil and Parmesan cheese as a pesto (combine with basil or use as a substitute for basil). It is the main ingredient of tabouli, salsa verde and gremolata.

Parsley seed can also be used as a flavouring. Hamburg parsley is a type of parsley that is grown and harvested for its tap root, which is long and white much like a parsnip.

When to plant

Parsley can be grown from seed or seedlings planting from spring through summer. Check hardware and garden centres for varieties that grow well in your local area.

  • In cool to cold regions grow parsley from October onwards, once the risk of frost has passed.
  • In warm and temperate regions grow parsley from September onwards and if conditions are right, it can be grow year-round.
  • In subtropical and tropical climates parsley can be grown from April to July as a dry season herb.


  • Parsley grows best in full sun (or with light afternoon summer shade in hotter climates to reduce stress).
  • It is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe but can be grown across all climate zones.
  • It prefers soil that holds moisture well. Keep it growing quickly with regular watering and liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables.
  • Grow parsley in a herb garden, vegie bed or container. It can also be grown as an edging in a flower bed.


Get the soil right to harvest a bumper harvest of tasty parsley.

Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.

  • Parsley tolerates a wide range of soils, however, it has a deep root (like a carrot) so does best in deep, fertile soil.
  • Improve the soil by digging in home made compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost. For a no-dig option consider Seasol Liquid Compost.
  • Soils that are highly acidic benefit from the addition of some lime.
  • In areas with poorly drained soils, grow parsley in raised garden beds or containers. When growing parsley in containers use a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix which has everything in the bag to help parsley flourish.
  • A soil rich in nutrients helps build strong plants so add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster (100g per square metre) and a fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Tomatoes & Vegetables.
  • Water in well and let the soil rest for a week or two.

Step 1 – Sowing seeds

  • Grow from seed sown thinly into a punnet or seed tray filled with seed raising mix such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting Mix.
  • To speed up the germination process soak seeds overnight in a solution of Seasol and water.
  • Seeds can also be direct sown where plants are to grow in the garden.
  • Parsley seeds will germinate if sown close to the surface of the soil. Sow seeds at 3mm deep and lightly cover.

Step 2 – Germination

  • Seeds take around 21 to 28 days to germinate when conditions are warm.
  • Keep punnets or the seed bed moist to aid germination.
  • Water in well with Seasol GOLD or Seasol as this will help to increase seed germination rates. Soil should be moist but not wet, so check soil moisture daily to ensure parsley seeds have the right conditions to germinate.
  • Protect from snails and slugs especially while shoots are emerging (See “Things to watch out for” below).

Step 3 – Baby parsley seedlings

  • When parsley develop several sets of leaves, thin them out so they are about 10cm to 15cm apart.
  • Use scissors or tweezers to thin out seedlings to avoid disturbing young roots.
  • Parsley seedlings need to be feed for a bumper crop, so liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every two weeks. Increase the application rates from 20mL to 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water as the plants mature.
  • Check soil moisture daily and water as needed.

Step 4 – Planting out parsley seedlings

  • After two to four weeks transfer into the garden into prepared soil or into a larger pot when seedlings are large enough to handle. Take care not to damage the plant’s root system.
  • Seedlings are also available from garden centres and hardware stores. Follow the instructions for plant according to the directions on the plant tag.
  • Space seedlings about 30cm apart in a sunny or partly shaded location. Water in well with Seasol GOLD or Seasol as this will help to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment.
  • Check the moisture level of the soil daily and water when needed.


Step 5 – Parsley plant growth

  • Keep developing plants hand weeded or hoed for active growth.
  • Mulch around each plant with organic mulch such as sugarcane mulch, lucerne or pea straws to suppresses weeds and helps retain soil moisture.
  • Check soil moisture daily and water when needed. On days of extreme heat, check plants morning and night especially if the parsley is grown in pots.
  • Every 6-8 weeks apply another application of PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes & Vegetables to produce a bumper crop of tasty parsley.

Step 6 – Parsley flowers

  • Parsley is a biennial grown as an annual for its tasty leaves. It will eventually flower. When the flower stem develops it is at the expense of edible leaves.
  • Left to grow to maturity the normally leafy plant produces a 30cm tall, thick stalk topped with flat heads of greeny yellow flowers. This is the cue to pull up the plant and replace it with fresh plants. Let to flower and set seed, parsley can be relied on to send up self-sown seedlings in spring
  • When planting new seedlings for a continued crop of parsley, check soil and add home-made compost or organic manure and/or Seasol Super Compost.

Step 7 – Parsley harvest

  • Parsley leaves can be harvested from about 16 weeks after sowing if plants are growing strongly.
  • With good care, plants grow for many months through spring, summer and autumn. In warm areas, plants continue to grow.
  • Once flowering begins, harvest remaining leaves to use the leaves fresh or dry or freeze in ice cubes for future use.
  • If garden space allows, leave some plants to flower to set seed for new plants and also to provide nectar for pollinating insects.
  • Excess parsley leaf can be kept wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator or kept standing in water (like a cut flower). To preserve parsley, it can be dried in a food dehydrator or chopped, placed in ice-cube trays with water and frozen.

Things to watch out for….

If parsley is growing in warm, sunny conditions, it is a trouble-free crop.

  • Leaf miner attacks foliage leaving squiggly marks in the leaf. Squash insects inside leaves or pinch off worst affected leaves.
  • Possums Parsley is much loved by possums who can eat it to ground level. Protect young plants overnight if possums are a pest in your garden. An upturned wire basket is a good protection for small plants or use a wire waste paper basket for tall plants.
  • Slugs and snails can attack seedlings. To protect against these pests check plants regularly and use a snail trap or pet and wildlife safe baits based on iron phosphate.
  • White fly is seen as small white fly-like insects resting on leaves but fly into the air when disturbed. Keep plants in airy, well-ventilated locations. Additional water will alleviate stress caused by white fly feeding.
  • Bolting can occur when the plant flowers prematurely (often due to stress). Plants do however reach flowering in late summer. Pinching out growing shoots and tip pruning flower buds may extend the period of leafy growth however, once plants enter the flowering phase, harvest leaves to use. Leave some plants to flower to attract beneficial insects and set seed for new self-sown plants.