Parsley leaves

How to grow parsley

Discover how to grow, harvest and store parsley, in this useful Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Plant size

    45cm height

    30cm spread

  • Spacing

    15cm apart

According to an old English folk tale, parsley (Petrosilenum crispum) grows best in a household where the wife wears the trousers. Whether you choose to grow parsley for mythical or feminist reasons, or for its culinary and medicinal properties, it’s a great addition to your herb collection.

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Try our parsley, thyme and chive pot.

Native to the Mediterranean, it’s a rich source of vitamin C and iron, and is said to cure bad breath and cleanse the skin. Easy to grow, even in part shade, parsley can be grown in containers or borders, and freshly picked leaves will depth and flavour to your cooking.

Find out how to grow parsley in our Grow Guide.

Native to the Mediterranean, parsley is a rich source of vitamin C and iron. 

Sowing parsley seeds
Sowing parsley seeds

Sowing parsley seeds

Sow your parsley seeds directly into well-prepared soil, in rows 1cm deep and 30cm apart. Lightly cover the seeds and water in well. When seedlings are large enough, thin them to 15cm apart.

Alternatively, if you have less space available, fill a pot with seed compost and sow seeds thinly, covering with a light layer of compost and watering in. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Seeds can take six weeks to germinate and should be thinned out and potted on when big enough. When moving to a larger pot, use a mix of garden and soil-based compost, to prevent the young plants from drying out.

Sow batches of seeds a few weeks apart so you have a continuous supply of parsley.

Watch Monty Don preparing a bed for planting parsley.

Planting parsley
Planting parsley

Looking after parsley

Parsley needs plenty of water, particularly during dry weather, and benefits from the occasional feed of general seaweed fertiliser to boost leafy growth. Cut back any yellowing foliage.

A biennial plant, flowers will be produced in the second year, if plants are not regularly cut back. If you want to save seed, allow some plants to flower.

Watch Monty Don’s tips on growing parsley.

Harvesting parsley
Harvesting parsley

Harvesting parsley

Parsley is best picked as needed, cutting the stems at the base, so that new leaves grow back quickly. You may want to grow several plants so that you can harvest from one while another is left to produce new growth.

Dividing parsley
Dividing parsley

Storing parsley

Parsley leaves can be dried and stored, but the flavour is less intense. With parsley plants so easy to grow and maintain, it makes sense to use a fresh supply. In terms of flavour, it’s better to chop parsley finely in a food processor and freeze if you do want to store for later use. You can also divide plants at the end of the season, pot them up, and bring indoors for leaves throughout winter.

Parsley leaves
Parsley leaves

Preparation and uses

Parsley can be added to a wide range of recipes from soups and stews to omelettes and Middle Eastern salads like tabbouleh. It’s best finely chopped and both leaves and stems can be used.

Parsley: problem solving

Parsley is in the carrot family and therefore can be prone to some of the pests that affect carrots such as carrot fly. So take similar precautions, such as companion planting with garlic or onions. Also protect your young seedlings from slugs and snails.

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Parsley 'Titan'
Parsley ‘Titan’

Parsley varieties to grow

  • Petroselinum crispum ‘Aphrodite’ – has good-flavoured dark green leaves with a tight curl, often used as a garnish
  • Petroselinum crispum ‘French’ – with flat, deep-green leaves, it has a stronger parsley flavour than the curled varieties and is preferred for cooking
  • Petroselinum crispum ‘Titan’ – a flat-leaved or French variety, with small, deep-green leaves and a strong, sweet parsley flavour
  • Petroselinum crispum ‘Envy’ – has dark green tightly curled leaves and is also very ornamental
  • Petroselinum crispum ‘Gigante Napoletano’ – as the name suggests, the leaves are large, and also very aromatic