Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts

Bolting Parsley Plant
parsley bolt
(Image credit: grannyogrimm)

It’s inevitable, but there are a few things that can delay it. What am I talking about? Bolting parsley plants. Basically that means that suddenly your parsley has flowered and then the parsley plant has gone to seed. Read on to find out what to do when your parsley bolts.

What to Do When Parsley Bolts

By the time the parsley plant has gone to seed or bolted, it’s too late. The best idea is to learn how to keep parsley from bolting in the first place, or at least how to slow down the inevitable process. If your parsley plant is bolting, it will likely have not much left in it. Probably the best idea is to pull it up and replant.

How to Keep Parsley from Bolting

Bolting usually occurs when the weather goes into overdrive and rapidly heats up. The plant does the same, flowering rapidly and setting seeds. At this juncture, the plant also stops producing leaves. Before you get to that point of no return, what can be done to prevent parsley plant bolting? The following tips may help keep parsley from bolting:

  • First of all, keep or move parsley to a cooler or lightly shaded area, especially if temperatures soar.
  • Plant your parsley earlier in the spring to allow the herb to utilize the cool growing season. No matter what, the plant will likely bolt as temps heat up, but you will have more time to harvest.
  • On the subject of harvest, as with all herbs, the more leaves you harvest, the more energy the plant focuses on regrowing foliage and not flowers. Don’t get too scissor happy though. Only take one-quarter to one-third of a stem at any one time. Again, this will work for a while, but the plant will eventually bolt. If the plant does begin to flower, nip them in the bud, literally. Pinch the flowers off ASAP.
  • Lastly, to thwart bolting parsley plants, stagger plantings of parsley. Start the seeds indoors and then gradually introduce the seedlings to the outdoors. Begin by placing them outside just in the morning for a week and then gradually increase their time outside. If you live in a scorching hot region, be sure to do this in an area with dappled shade or place the seedlings under or behind a larger plant that will shade them somewhat.

You can also try growing parsley indoors on the windowsill or the like. The temperature indoors is often more comfortable for us as well as the parsley.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.