Herb Parsley

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Curled parsley has beautiful, dark green leaves well known as the classic garnish for deviled eggs and an ingredient in tabbouleh (parsley salad) or white clam sauce for pasta.  The nutritious leaves are high in iron and in vitamins A, C, and E. The high chlorophyll content makes it a natural breath sweetener, too. Frost tolerant. Great in containers.

Light requirements Full sun to part shade.

Planting Space 12 to 20 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.)

Soil requirements Plants grow best in rich, moist soil.

Water requirements Keep soil moist after planting until plants are well-rooted. Plants grow best with adequate moisture. In containers, irrigate whenever soil is dry.

Frost-fighting plan Established plants can survive a few hard frosts. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the growing season.

Common issues Curled parsley is less heat tolerant than flat Italian parsley. It’s not unusual for curled parsley plants to experience slow growth in the heat of summer, while flat Italian parsley thrives. White flowers appear during the second year of growth, causing leaf flavor to become bitter; pull plants and start over. Plants can rot if mulch is piled too deeply against stems. Keep an eye out for whiteflies. Parsleyworm caterpillars can quickly wipe out a stand of parsley, but they turn into black swallowtail butterflies. Plant extra parsley to host them if desired.

Harvesting Pick leaves at any point in the growing season. Snip individual leaves, cutting stems back to the base of the plant.

Storage To store in the refrigerator, wrap unwashed stems in a paper towel. Slip the bundle into a tightly closed plastic bag. Use within 7 to 10 days. For longer storage, freeze leaves individually on a parchment-lined tray, in a single layer in a freezer bag, or in ice cubes (chop leaves first).