All you need is a small outdoor space to grow parsley in pots and always have this fragrant 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, facilitating digestion even after a heavy 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 a pot , to always have it available, fresh and at zero km.
- Parsley, characteristics of the plant
- How to plant parsley
- Growing parsley in pots: tips
Parsley, characteristics of the plant
Among the many aromatic herbs that our cuisine is rich in, parsley is in the spotlight. A small tuft 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 jagged edges, while the flowers are white or slightly bluish, grouped to form small umbrellas. Growing parsley is not particularly demanding, provided you take some precautions: for example, this plant is particularly afraid of both cold and too intense heat , and grows better where the climate is temperate (in Italy, generally , 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 indoors, 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 easily grow your parsley in a pot . 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 ones: parsley roots grow deep and need space.
As for the soil, this grass has no special requirements. You can buy soil for horticultural crops by mixing it with a little sand. Even better if, at the bottom of the pot, you place a layer of expanded clay to promote good drainage of water: you will thus avoid the risk of water stagnation, one of the first causes of wilting of plants ( When this happens, in fact , the water probably caused the root rot.
Once the pot is prepared, you can sow your parsley . When to do it? In reality there is no best period, you just need to ensure that the temperatures never drop below 14°/15°C (even at night): this is why it is advisable to do it between March and October in warm regions, while the storm window is slightly narrower in colder locations. Now let’s see how to plant parsley.
Move the soil on the surface a little and spread the seeds on the fly , so that they are evenly distributed over all the soil you have. Then cover with a thin layer of potting soil and wet it, then place the pot in the sun. 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 only later place them in the soil , with the same procedure that we have just seen.
Alternatively, you can purchase an already grown parsley seedling and transplant it into your pot. In this case, we speak of transplanting : this operation must also be carried out when temperatures no longer drop below 15°C, therefore generally from spring to the end of autumn. All you have to do is dig a small hole in the ground and place the plant there, 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
Caring for a parsley plant is really, really easy. After sowing, in a few weeks you will see the first leaves which will reward you for all your sacrifices. The first thing to do, when the seedling has reached 5 cm in height, is to thin it out: prune the smallest branches , so that those that are already better developed can receive more light, air and food. Also check that there are no dry or diseased ones, in which case eliminate them so as not to create problems for the rest of the plant.
Regarding watering , parsley needs water, but don’t overdo it. 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 overwater, as you could form stagnation that is dangerous for the roots. The first sign to notice excess water is the yellowing of parsley leaves , which should not be underestimated.
As the plant grows, periodically prune the weakest or sickest branches, to make the others even more robust and productive. Finally, the most beautiful (and most awaited) moment: the harvest. When can we do it? Generally, the plant is ready when it reaches 15-20 cm in height. If you only need a few sheets, cut them with scissors if necessary. Alternatively, you can cut a clump of stems , taking care from a few inches above the base of the plant, to ensure that it regenerates the following season.