Parsley is more than a frilly garnish. It marries well with most foods, is rich in vitamins A and C, and is a significant source of calcium and iron – all of which make it a must-have in the herb garden. Most of us buy our herb starts, but can parsley be grown from seeds? If so, how do you grow parsley from seed? Let’s learn more.
Can Parsley Be Grown from Seeds?
Parsley is a biennial that is primarily grown as an annual. It’s suitable for USDA zones 5-9 and comes in both curly-leaf and flat-leaf parsley. But I digress from the question, can this herb be grown by seed? Yes, parsley can be grown from seed. You just might need to pack a little patience. Parsley takes a whopping six weeks to germinate!
How to Grow Parsley from Seed
Parsley, like most herbs, does best in a sunny area with at least six to eight hours of sun per day. Parsley seed growing should be done in well-draining soil that is fairly rich in organic matter with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0. Parsley seed growing is an easy process, but as mentioned, requires some patience.
Germination is very slow, but if you soak the seed overnight in water, the germination rate increases. Plant parsley seed in the spring after all danger from frost has passed for your area or start the seeds indoors in the late winter, six to eight weeks prior to the last frost date.
Cover the seeds with 1/8 to 1/4 inch (0.5 cm.) soil and 4-6 inches (10 to 15 cm.) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30.5 to 45.5 cm.) apart. Mark the rows since germination is so slow. The growing parsley seeds look like fine blades of grass. Thin the seedlings (or transplants) when they are 2-3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm.) tall, spaced 10-12 inches (25.5 to 30.5 cm.) apart.
Keep the plants consistently moist as they continue to grow, watering once a week. To help retain moisture and retard weed growth, mulch around the plants. Fertilize the plants once or twice during their growing season with a 5-10-5 fertilizer in the amount of 3 ounces per 10-foot (85 g. per 3 m.) row. If the parsley is being grown in a container, use a liquid fertilizer at ½ the recommended strength every three to four weeks.
Your growing parsley seeds should be ready for harvest as soon as they are a few inches (5 to 10 cm.) tall and are growing vigorously. Just snip the outer stems from the plant and it will continue to grow throughout the season.
At the end of its growth cycle, the plant will produce a seed pod, at which time harvesting your own parsley seeds is possible. Keep in mind that parsley crosses with other parsley varieties, however. You need at least one mile (16 km.) between varieties to get reliable seed. Just allow the seeds to mature and dry on the plants before harvesting them. They can be kept in a cool, dry area for up to two to three years and retain their viability.