All you need is a small outdoor space to grow some parsley in pots and always have this fragrant herb close at 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, aiding digestion even after a large meal. In short, it really is a precious ally in every situation: why not keep some on the balcony? Here’s how to grow parsley in pots , to always have it available, fresh and at zero km.

Parsley, characteristics of the plant

Among the numerous aromatic herbs that our cuisine is rich in, parsley has a place of honour. A small tuft is enough to flavor any dish and make it special, giving it not only a particular taste, but also numerous beneficial properties – including digestive ones, as we have seen. Parsley ( Petroselinum crispum ) is a biennial plant belonging to the Apiaceae family , which includes many other precious ingredients such as cumin, carrot, celery, parsnip and fennel.

Native to the Mediterranean areas , it grows spontaneously in woods and meadows: in appearance, it has a robust root and triangular leaves with a jagged edge, while the flowers are white or slightly blue, grouped together to form small umbels. Growing parsley is not particularly demanding, as long as some precautions are taken: for example, this plant particularly fears both intense cold and 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 can opt to place the plant indoors, perhaps on a window sill to provide it with the light it needs. Alternatively, if you have to leave it on the balcony, mulch the soil with dry leaves or a little straw, in order to protect the roots from low temperatures.

How to plant parsley

If you have a balcony or a small terrace, you can easily grow your parsley in pots . This is a plant that adapts well to even 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 yourself 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 in fact grow deep and need space.

As far as the soil is concerned, this aromatic herb has no particular needs. You can buy soil for horticultural crops , mixing it with a little sand. Even better if, on the bottom of the pot, place a layer of expanded clay to encourage correct drainage of the water: in this way you can avoid the risk of water stagnation, one of the first causes of the plant withering (when this happens, in fact , it is likely that the water has caused the roots to rot).

Once the pot is prepared, you can sow your parsley . When to do it? In reality there is no best period, just make sure that the temperatures never drop below 14°/15°C (even during the night): for this reason it is advisable to do it between March and October in the warm regions, while the window thunderstorm is slightly narrower in colder places. Now let’s see how to plant parsley.

Move the earth on the surface a little and broadcast the seeds so that they are evenly distributed over all the soil you have available. Then cover with a thin layer of soil and wet it, then placing the pot in sunlight. If you want to speed up the process a little, first let  the seeds germinate indoors , using techniques such as germination in cotton wool or absorbent paper, and only then place them in the soil , with the same procedure we have just seen.

Alternatively, you can purchase a parsley plant that has already grown and transplant it into your pot. In this case, we are talking about planting : this procedure must also be carried out when temperatures no longer fall below 15°C, therefore generally from spring to late autumn. Just dig a small hole in the ground and place the plant in it, then compacting everything together 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 tricks for growing this plant so that it grows luxuriantly.

Growing parsley in pots: tricks

Caring for a parsley plant is really very easy. After sowing, within a few weeks you will see the first leaves that 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 smaller branches , so that the already better developed ones can receive more light, air and nourishment. Also check that there are not any dried or diseased ones, in which case eliminate them so as not to create problems for the rest of the plant.

As far as watering goes , parsley needs water – but don’t overdo it. Keep an eye on the soil, watering it before it is completely dry, otherwise you risk seeing your seedling burn (especially in summer). However, be careful not to give too much water, because you could form dangerous stagnations for the roots. The first sign that allows you to notice the excess water is the yellowing of the parsley leaves , absolutely not to be underestimated.

During the growth of the plant, periodically prune the weakest or sickest twigs , so as to make the remaining ones even more robust and productive. Finally, the most beautiful (and most awaited) moment: the harvest. When can it be done? Generally, the plant is ready when it reaches 15-20 cm in height. If you only need a few leaves, cut them with scissors if necessary. Alternatively, you can cut a tuft of stems , taking care starting from a few centimeters above the base of the plant, to ensure that it regenerates the following season.

 

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