If you’d like to start growing herbs indoors, parsley is a great variety to try. It’s widely used as a garnish, and is an ingredient in many recipes and salads. There are health benefits of parsley too; it’s rich in antioxidants and vitamins, can help with digestion, and is a natural breath freshener.
Parsley is also an easy herb to grow, and will be perfectly happy on a sunny windowsill inside your home. This comprehensive guide shows you how to grow parsley indoors, and covers equipment, growing conditions, planting instructions, and parsley plant care and harvesting tips.
Types of parsley
When growing parsley indoors, the first thing you need to know is that there are two main varieties. One is curly leaf parsley, which is usually used as a garnish. The other is flat leaf parsley, which is commonly used for cooking due to its stronger flavour.
If you’d like to use fresh parsley to flavour and decorate your cooking, you can of course grow both varieties.
The equipment you need for growing parsley indoors
You don’t need lots of equipment to grow parsley indoors, but there are a few items that will make it easier and more successful.
You will definitely need a container – a basic plant pot with drainage holes is ideal.
It’s also important to have a saucer to put under your pot, or a decorative container without drainage holes to place it into.
Parsley will be happy growing in general purpose compost, or coco coir compost. Coco coir is a more eco-friendly option, so it’s great if you’d like to garden sustainably.
Once you have these three things, all you need is your parsley seeds or plants, and you’re ready to get growing.
The best conditions for growing parsley indoors
The most important thing to provide for your parsley plants is an adequate amount of daylight. You need to ensure that your plants are getting around 6 to 8 hours of light every day. The easiest way to do this is to position your plants near a window. If you can’t provide enough natural light, you may need to consider using an artificial light designed for growing plants.
Good drainage is also essential for your plants’ health. Make sure your container allows excess water to drain out of the bottom, to avoid your plants becoming waterlogged.
Finally, pay attention to temperature as well. Parsley plants grow well in the temperature range of 50 to 85 °F, so try to position them in an area of your home that falls between these limits.
How to plant parsley indoors
When it comes to planting parsley indoors, you have two options. You can either grow plants from seed, or buy small plants and grow them on. If you’re not in a rush, or are gardening on a budget, growing parsley from seed is the best option. If you’d like to harvest your parsley as soon as possible, or are a little unsure about growing plants from seed, buying small plants is ideal.
Planting parsley seeds
To grow parsley from seed, start by adding compost to your container until it’s almost full. Scatter the seeds evenly on the surface, then add a sprinkle of compost until they are just covered. Water your container, and place it in a bright spot; a sunny windowsill is ideal. Keep the soil moist, but not too saturated; a spray bottle can come in handy here.
Your seeds will take two to three weeks to germinate, and you should be able to harvest parsley leaves within 2-3 months. If you have the space, you can plant a container of parsley seeds every couple of weeks to provide you with a continuous supply of leaves.
Planting parsley seedlings
To plant parsley seedlings, add compost to your container until it’s about half full. Add your seedling, then fill in any gaps around the sides and top with more compost. If you’re using a large container, you can plant more than one seedling in it – just make sure you allow some growing room around each plant.
As with parsley seeds, you need to water your plants regularly and grow them in a bright, warm location.
How to harvest parsley plants
You can start harvesting parsley leaves once the plant is around 30cm tall.
Use scissors to cut the largest stems first, close to the base of the plant. Aim to harvest less than a third of the plant in one go, and don’t shave off the top of the stems as this will limit new growth.
Growing parsley indoors: key things to remember
Here’s a quick summary of the key things you need to do to make a success of growing parsley in pots indoors.
- Grow parsley from seed, or buy small seedlings and grow them on.
- Water your parsley plants regularly, but don’t overdo it.
- Have proper drainage to prevent your plant’s roots rotting.
- Prune your parsley plants according to a proper schedule. Learning how to prune parsley is not a difficult task, and will help to keep your plants healthy.
- Ensure your plants get an adequate amount of light on a daily basis.
- Grow your parsley plants in the range of 50 to 85 °F.
Hopefully this guide to growing parsley indoors helps you to grow strong, healthy and tasty plants. For more information on growing indoor plants, take a look at my posts on windowsill herb gardens and indoor plant care.