By Jackie Carroll
Growing parsley indoors on a sunny windowsill is ornamental as well as practical. Curly types have lacy, frilly foliage that looks great in any setting and flat-leaf varieties are prized for their flavor. Learning how to grow parsley indoors is not at all complicated and neither is indoor parsley care.
Parsley Container Gardening
Parsley herbs (Petroselinum crispum) grow best in a sunny, preferably south-facing window, where they will receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. If your window doesn’t provide that much light, you will have to supplement it with fluorescent lighting. Turn the pot every three or four days so that the plant doesn’t lean into the sun.
Parsley container gardening is no different than growing any other potted herbs. Choose a container that fits snuggly on the window sill. It should have several drainage holes and a saucer underneath to catch water as it drains through. Fill the pot with a good quality potting soil and add a handful of clean sand to improve the drainage.
Humidity isn’t usually a problem when you grow parsley in the kitchen where steam from cooking and the constant use of water helps keep the air moist. In other locations, you may need to mist the plants from time to time. If the leaves look dry and brittle, set the plant on top of a tray of pebbles and add water to the tray, leaving the tops of the pebbles exposed. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity of the air around the plant.
How to Grow Parsley Indoors
When you’re ready for growing parsley indoors, it’s best to start parsley from seeds sown directly in the container because parsley has a long tap root that doesn’t transplant well. Sprinkle a few seeds on the surface of the soil and cover them with an additional 1/4 inch of soil.
Water the pot regularly to keep the soil moist to the touch but not soggy, and expect seedlings to emerge in three weeks or so. If you get too many seedlings, you’ll have to thin them out some. Clip out the excess with scissors or pinch them out between your fingernail and thumb. Pulling them out may damage the tap roots of the surrounding plants.
Indoor Parsley Care
Indoor parsley care is easy. Keep the soil lightly moist, and empty the saucer under the pot after every watering so that the roots don’t sit in water.
Feed the plants every two weeks with fish emulsion or half-strength liquid fertilizer.
You can grow other herbs in the container with parsley, if desired. Herbs that combine well in a mixed container with parsley include chives, thyme, basil, oregano and mint. When planting thyme with parsley herbs, stick them around the edges of a container or hanging basket where it can tumble over the edges.