If there’s one herb everyone should have in their vegetable garden, it’s parsley!
Parsley is super versatile in the kitchen and relatively easy to grow. You don’t even need a proper garden to grow this herb — parsley thrives in both outdoor and indoor containers.
One thing you should know about growing parsley is that the seeds don’t always germinate. So if you’re wondering how many parsley seeds per hole to plant, the answer is at least 2 or 3!
What Is Parsley?
Most people know parsley as a mild herb that can be used fresh or dried. It’s super versatile — most modern cuisines include parsley to some extent — and makes a wonderful addition to the home vegetable garden!
Below parsley’s aromatic foliage is a thick taproot. Parsley roots are edible but (with the exception of one variety) rarely harvested.
Parsley is a biennial, meaning that its life cycle occurs over 2 years. Since it is only cold-hardy in USDA zones 9 and warmer, however, most people grow this herb as an annual.
Parsley leaves are their most flavorful in the first year. However, parsley won’t produce flowers or seeds until its second year.
Types Of Parsley For Your Garden
Curly-leaf parsley is the type most people are familiar with. It has a mild flavor and excels as a garnish.
Flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley) is the go-to choice for adding flavor to a dish. This variety has a stronger flavor profile than curly-leaf parsley. Most dried parsley sold in stores is made from this type.
Hamburg parsley is also appropriately known as root parsley. While the leaves can be used as an herb or garnish, most people grow Hamburg parsley for the large taproot.
What You Need To Grow Parsley
Parsley grows best with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. However, it’s also good to choose a location that receives partial shade in the afternoon when summer temperatures are highest.
You can grow parsley from seed both in the ground and in containers. Parsley needs a pot at least 6 inches deep. If you want to grow parsley to seed, however, you’ll want a larger container that’s at least 10 inches deep.
Any well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter will work for parsley. If necessary, supplement the soil with aged compost prior to sowing parsley seeds.
If you plan to grow parsley in containers, be sure to use quality potting soil rather than dirt taken from the garden. Garden soil is great for in-ground beds but is far from ideal for potted herbs.
Parsley requires damp — but never soaking — soil at pretty much all times. This includes the period between sowing your parsley seeds and germination.
How To Start Parsley From Seed
Parsley seeds can be sown directly via broadcasting or planting in rows. Regardless of your chosen method, cover the seeds with up to ¼-inch of soil.
If planting your parsley in rows, space the holes 4 to 6 inches apart. Place 2 to 3 seeds in each hole. The rows themselves should be spaced at least 12 inches apart.
Parsley germinates notoriously slowly. It may take up to 2 months for seedlings to emerge!
Once your parsley seedlings reach at least 2 inches in height, thin the plants to be about 8 inches apart.
Growing Parsley Indoors
As long as you have a sunny windowsill, you can easily grow parsley indoors!
You’ll probably need to place your parsley in a south-facing window (or north-facing if you live in the Southern Hemisphere) to ensure it gets enough hours of light. Alternatively, you can use a grow lamp above your indoor parsley plants to keep them alive.
Growing parsley indoors is a great option for apartment and condo dwellers who don’t have an outdoor garden to call their own. It’s also a wonderful strategy for keeping biennial parsley alive in colder regions.
Can You Transplant Parsley Plants Started Indoors?
Starting parsley seeds indoors can be a great way to get a head start on your herb garden when the temperatures are still cool.
The best time to start parsley seeds for transplanting in the spring is approximately 2 months before your area’s last frost date.
One risk of transplanting parsley seedlings is root damage. To prevent this, consider starting your parsley seeds in peat pots that can be planted directly into the garden.
Harvesting And Storing Your Parsley
Most parsley requires at least 80 days to mature after first sprouting. Take this into account when planning out your herb garden for the coming year!
The best way to harvest parsley leaves is to cut the stems at ground level. Remove outer stems first. You can use a clean pair of pruners, kitchen shears, or household scissors for this task.
There’s no need to be anxious about harvesting your parsley leaves. Cutting away mature growth can actually encourage more growth in the future.
Wash your newly harvested parsley before using it immediately or storing it.
Store fresh parsley by placing it in a glass of water (like a bouquet of flowers) and refrigerating. For long-term storage, clean parsley can also be dried or frozen.
Saving Parsley Seeds For Future Use
Getting your parsley into its second year of growth is the hardest part of seed collection.
If you want to collect seeds from your personal crop, you’ll need to live somewhere where parsley survives through the winter. Alternatively, you can keep your parsley plants indoors during the colder months!
Parsley goes to seed in late summer or fall. Wait for the flowers to fade before attempting to collect any seeds.
Ensure your parsley seeds are completely dry before storing them in a paper envelope or similar container. Parsley seeds can last up to 4 years with proper storage.
Although parsley is self-fertile, there’s a very good chance that different varieties in your garden will cross-pollinate. There’s no guarantee that parsley seeds will take after the parent plant.
You don’t need to collect parsley seeds to enjoy multiple generations of this herb. Parsley is an eager self-seeder when allowed to flower in its second year.
Just let your parsley flower and go to seed undisturbed. The seeds will naturally drop when ready.
Self-sowing is an ideal strategy if you want to continue growing parsley but don’t care about the exact type or number of seeds that germinate.
How Many Parsley Seeds Per Hole – Final Thoughts
As long as you plant a couple of seeds per hole, parsley is incredibly easy to cultivate.
Growing parsley is a great way to fill out your vegetable patch while expanding your culinary horizons. The best part is that you don’t even need an in-ground garden bed to grow this herb.
Honestly, parsley is one of those plants that every gardener should try growing at least once!