University of Maryland Extension


Text by Lewis Shell. Photo by Ellen Nibali

Petroselinum crispum

What would we do without parsley?  Can you imagine an expensive entree without its sprig of parsley? A substitute for parslied potatoes?  Undoubtedly, parsley is a necessary culinary herb, but grow your own?  You bet!  Parsley is a biennial. After its first winter, it flowers and dies.  So be sure to plant some fresh each year to keep a good supply at hand.  Since you just want the leaves for flavoring and garnish, grow it like an annual. If transplants are not available, parsley can be started from seed. Because it is slow to germinate, start seeds indoors.  To time this right, plant seeds indoors under strong lights in mid-to-late March. When seedlings attain 5 or 6 leaves, transplant outdoors around Mothers' Day. Select seeds of the curly leaf type, which is more decorative, or the flat leaf (Italian) type, preferred for flavoring.  If you see caterpillars eating your parsley, they will become black swallowtail butterflies. Plant extra for them!


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