Just a small outdoor space is enough to grow some parsley in pots and always have this fragrant aromatic herb on hand
With its beautiful bright green color, parsley is one of the typical ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine: it is an aromatic herb capable of giving flavor to any dish, widely exploited also for its benefits. For example, it contains an essential oil that stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, promoting digestion even after a large meal. In short, it really is a valuable ally in all situations: why not keep some on the balcony? Here’s how to grow parsley in pots , to always have it available, fresh and zero km.
Parsley, characteristics of the plant
Among the many aromatic herbs that our cuisine is rich in, parsley has a place of honor. A small clump is enough to flavor any dish and make it special, giving it not only a special taste, but also many beneficial properties – including digestive, as we have seen. Parsley ( Petroselinum crispum ) is a biennial plant belonging to the Apiaceae family , which includes many other valuable ingredients such as cumin, carrot, celery, parsnip and fennel.
Native to Mediterranean regions , it grows spontaneously in woods and meadows: in appearance it has a robust root and triangular leaves with a serrated edge, while the flowers are white or slightly blue, grouped to form small umbels. Growing parsley is not particularly demanding, provided you take some precautions: for example, this plant particularly fears too intense cold and heat and grows better where the climate is temperate (in Italy, generally, it does not there are no problems).
The ideal place to plant it is therefore cool and sheltered from direct sunlight (at least during the summer season), possibly in regions where winters are quite short and never too harsh. When it starts to get colder, you may choose to place the plant inside the house, perhaps on a windowsill to provide it with the light it needs. Alternatively, if you have to leave it on the balcony, mulch the ground with dry leaves or a little straw, to protect the roots from low temperatures.
How to plant parsley
If you have a balcony or small terrace, you can safely grow your own parsley in pots . It is a plant that adapts well even to the smallest spaces, since it does not grow excessively. But how to do it ? First, you will need to prepare everything you need for sowing. Get a pot of at least 20 cm in diameter (up to three small plants can grow in it), choosing it from the tallest: the roots of parsley in fact develop deep and need space.
When it comes to soil, this aromatic herb has no special needs. You can buy soil for horticultural crops , mixing it with a little sand. Even better if, at the bottom of the pot, place a layer of expanded clay to promote correct drainage of water: this way you can avoid the risk of water stagnation, one of the first causes of wilting of the plant (when this happens, in fact, it is likely that the water has rotted the roots).
Once the pot is prepared, you can sow your parsley . When to do it? In fact, there is no best time, just make sure that temperatures never drop below 14°/15°C (even during the night): it is advisable to do this between March and October in warm regions, while the time window is slightly narrower in colder locations. Now let’s see how to plant parsley.
Move the soil a little on the surface and spread the seeds out , so that they are evenly distributed over all the soil you have. Then cover with a thin layer of soil and wet it, then place the pot in the sunlight. If you want to speed up the process a bit, let the seeds germinate indoors first, using techniques such as germinating in cotton or paper towels, and then place them in the soil , with the same procedure that we have just seen.
Alternatively, you can purchase an already grown parsley plant and transplant it into your pot. In this case, we speak of planting : this procedure must also be carried out when temperatures no longer drop below 15°C, therefore generally from spring to late autumn. Simply dig a small hole in the ground and arrange the plant, then re-compact everything with your hands. And now that you have planted parsley , all you have to do is wait for the results of your efforts: let’s discover some tips for growing this plant so that it grows luxuriantly.
Growing parsley in pots: tips
Taking care of a parsley plant is really very easy. After sowing, in a few weeks, you will see the first leaves which will repay all your sacrifices. The first thing to do, when the plant has reached 5 cm in height, is to thin it out: prune the branches smaller , so that those that are already better developed can receive more light, air and food. Also check for any dry or diseased ones, in which case remove them so as not to create problems for the rest of the plant.
When it comes to irrigation, parsley needs water – but without exaggerating. Keep an eye on the soil, water it before it is completely dry, otherwise you risk seeing your seedling burn (especially in summer). Be careful, however, not to give too much water, as you could form stagnation that is dangerous for the roots. The first sign that allows you to notice excess water is the yellowing of parsley leaves , which should not be underestimated.
As the plant grows, periodically prune the weakest or diseased twigs , to make the rest even more robust and productive. Finally, the most beautiful (and most anticipated) moment: the harvest. When can this be done? Generally, the plant is ready to reach 15-20 cm in height. If you only need a few sheets, cut them with scissors if necessary. Alternatively, you can cut off a head of stems , taking care to start a few centimeters above the base of the plant, to ensure that it regenerates the following season.