How To Propagate Parsley: Growing Parsley From Seed And Cuttings

(Image credit: istetiana)

You don't have to be a foodie to recognize parsley. From its use as a garnish in upscale restaurants to the peppery-flavor it adds to culinary dishes, parsley is one of the most popular herbs in the U.S. And for good reason. It's super easy to propagate parsley from either seeds or cuttings.

How to Propagate Parsley From Seed

Growing parsley from seed is the most common method of propagation. Parsley can be direct-sown into a prepared garden bed after all danger of frost has passed in the spring. Seeds can also be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks earlier. 

Parsley can be slow to germinate. Using fresh seeds and soaking them in warm water for 24 hours prior to sowing will speed up the germination process. Sow the soaked seeds on top of the soil, then cover with 1/8 inch (.3 cm.) of loose soil. 

When growing parsley from seed, keep the soil moist but not soggy during the germination process. Gardeners can expect seedlings to appear within 2 to 5 weeks. 

Parsley seedlings can be thinned or transplanted once they reach 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) tall.

Parsley prefers moist, well-draining soil with plenty of sun. Space your parsley seedlings 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm.) apart in a sunny spot in the garden. Or select a bright, southern-facing window when growing parsley indoors. 

Growing Parsley from Cuttings

If you don't have the patience or skill to start plants from seed, you can easily propagate parsley by rooting stem cuttings in water. Gardeners may find it useful to take garden cuttings in the fall and use this method for growing parsley indoors during the winter.

Begin with 4 to 6 inch (10-15 cm.) long stems trimmed directly below the lowest leaf node. Remove the leaves from the bottom 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) of the stem. Then place the prepared stems in a glass of fresh water and set it on a sunny window sill. Change the water as needed. 

When growing parsley from cuttings, it takes about a week for the hair-like roots to emerge from the leaf nodes. When the roots are about 2 inches (5 cm.) long, the cuttings can be potted. Keep the soil moist while the new plants become established.

Another Method to Easily Propagate Parsley

In warm climates, gardeners can also propagate parsley by allowing it to self-seed. As a biennial, parsley will regrow and produce seeds in its second year. Allow seed heads to mature. The seeds will fall to the ground where they will sprout for a continuous supply of fresh parsley.

In colder climates, gardeners may need to protect parsley roots by mulching in the fall or by moving potted parsley into a protected area after the foliage dies back. The following year seeds can be allowed to drop, or they can be collected and saved after the flower heads turn brown.

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.