Growing Parsley: 5 Tips for Getting Started

Growing Parsley: 5 Tips for Getting Started

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Cooks who like to use parsley in cooking can save money–not to mention trips to the grocery store–by growing parsley in their home gardens. Growing parsley is easy, if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Parsley can be slow and variable to germinate, often taking 3 to 6 weeks or longer, and also is slow-growing in the seedling stage, usually needing 4 to 8 weeks or longer after germination to reach transplanting size. For these reasons, and because parsley germinates best at warm temperatures of 75° to 85° F, GardenZeus recommends starting seeds indoors in a bright, warm area, for transplant in fall and winter after weather cools.

Young parsley plants


GardenZeus expert Darren Butler’s tips for germinating parsley:

  1. Soak seeds for 12 to 24 hours in warm water before planting. Use a tied-off fine-mesh bag, fine-mesh tea ball, or coffee filter tied closed with a twist tie to keep parsley seeds manageable while soaking.
  2. Germinate at warmer temperatures of 80° to 85° F. Parsley seeds can be started directly outdoors in many warm winter areas. Parsley seeds germinate at soil temperatures of about 40° to 90° F, but may be slow to germinate at temperatures below 60° F. They seem to germinate more quickly at temperatures of 75° to 85° F.
  3. Keep parsley seeds moist during the entire germination period. This may require light watering or misting 2 or more times per day while, as legend says, parsley makes the journey to the devil and back more than once before germinating.
  4. Cover seeds with 1/8-to-1/4 inch of fine compost, mulch, soil, or sand to help keep seeds moist.
  5. Expect 2 to 6 weeks or longer for parsley to sprout, and 6 to 10 weeks or longer for it to establish and grow into sizable plants.

Parsley grows best during cool-to-warm weather of 65° to 85° F, making it an ideal plant to grow over winter in many warm winter areas of California.  GardenZeus generally recommends starting with Italian or flat-leaved parsley because of its stronger flavor. If using parsley primarily for garnishes, grow the curly parsley for its more attractive appearance.

Italian, or flat leaf parsley

curly parsley


GardenZeus has customized information to help you grow both edibles and ornamentals by plant and zip code. To receive customized growing information for your area, click here.

Other articles of interest:

Fall and Winter California Gardening Part 1: Introduction

Fall and Winter California Gardening Part 2: Benefits and Challenges

New to growing edibles? Did you know that you can grow tomatoes year around in many areas of California? See Growing Winter Tomatoes in Mild California Areas.

Did you know that in California, fall is the best time for planting? Do you know how to choose the best seeds? See How to Choose the Best Seeds for California Gardens

GardenZeus recommends seeds from Botanical Interests, a seed supplier in the western United States that has an excellent supply of seeds for fall planting.


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