Growing Tips: Parsley

Quick Reference:

Germination: 15 to 25 days. Germination is slow and erratic but is hastened by soaking seed in warm water for 10 to 12 hours before planting, do not leave seed in water more than 24 hours, plant immediately covering seed with 1/8 inch fine soil spaced 1 inch apart. It is critical not to allow the soil to become dry during the germination period. Plant spacing in the garden, 8 to 10 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil but soil MUST be kept moist at all times until plants emerge. Darkness aids germination.

When and where to plant:

Parsley grows well in Alaska but likes warm soils and prefers to remain where the seed is planted all season, DOES NOT transplant well. A soil warming technique like raised beds or mounding is recommended to warm the soil. Germination may be slow and erratic so it is recommended the seed be started indoors, 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in individual plastic pots which will allow the roots to slide out easily without damaging them. Germination is hastened when the seed is soaked in water while placed between paper towels, for 24 hours immediately before planting. Once the seed has been moistened DO NOT allow it to dry out. Fill containers with a good garden loam or choose a sunny garden location with rich well-drained soil. Cultivate, enrich with plant food and organic matter. Plant containers or sprinkle seed down the row, completely covering the seed with fine soil. Darkness aids in germination. Firm soil over seed and water well for good seed-soil contact. A piece of black plastic over seeded area will aid in germination. As soon as seedlings begin to emerge remove plastic.


Keep soil moist, free of weeds and apply plant food every 6 weeks. In the fall transplant young plants to pots and grow indoors on a windowsill during the winter.


Pick leaves at any time. Flavoring improves with successive cuttings.