Growing Italian Parsley (Flat Leaf Parsley) in Australia

Italian flat leaf parsley has so many different uses in the kitchen and it’s really easy to grow, so there’s no reason why you can’t have some growing in your garden or even in a pot.

I recently had some Italian parsley growing in my pallet herb garden but as it is a biennial plant, it has now finished its life cycle and it’s time for me to plant some more.

For those who don’t know, a biennial plant completes its life cycle over two years and then needs to be replaced.

Ready to grow some of your own flat-leaf parsley at home? Read on as I cover everything you need to know.

When to plant Italian Parsley in Australia

Italian parsley can be planted anytime throughout spring, summer, and autumn.

It’s best to grow this variety from seed as experts say that it doesn’t like to be transplanted. However, I have grown this herb from purchased seedlings and haven’t had any problems as long as I kept it well-watered.

Italian Parsley planting 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

How to plant Italian Parsley 

Like most herbs, Italian Parsley likes fairly rich soil that has been improved with compost or other organic matter. You can grow this delicious and nutritious herb either from seed or purchased seedlings.

Italian Parsley seedlings 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

Growing Italian Parsley from seed

Parsley seeds can either be sown in the ground or in a pot. The seeds are quite small so it’s best to just scatter them over the soil and then lightly rake them in a little. Don’t bury the seeds too deep or they’ll have trouble germinating.

Be patient after you do this because it will generally take around 3 to 4 weeks for the seeds to germinate. During this time, it’s important to keep the soil moist. Some people suggest soaking the seeds in water overnight as this can help to speed up germination.

Once the seeds have germinated, remember to keep the young seedlings well-watered, especially if the weather is warm.

Growing Italian Parsley from seedlings

Flat leaf parsley seedlings are readily available from nurseries and garden centres. These can be planted directly into the ground in a sunny spot in the garden or in a herb planter.

Italian Parsley seedlings | Fruit & Vegetables

If you live in a hot climate, you might like to give your parsley some afternoon shade. Otherwise, it might go to seed prematurely.

To counteract any transplant shock, water your seedlings with liquid seaweed such as Seasol just after planting and then follow this with further applications once every two weeks until your plants have become well established. Remember to follow the dilution instructions on the pack.

Italian Parsley planting | Fruit & Vegetables

RELATED: Vegetables to Grow in the Shade

How to care for Italian Parsley

Once your parsley is established, it doesn’t require a great deal of pampering. All you have to do is keep it well-watered and don’t let the soil become too dry. If flat-leaf parsley is exposed to dry soil for too long, it will go to seed prematurely.

Italian Parsley 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

During the warmer weather, you might have to water your parsley every couple of days if there’s no rain. Adding some straw-type mulch to the top of the soil will also help to contain moisture.

To keep your parsley growing strong through summer, consider applying an organic liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks. Alternatively, you can use a granular or slow-release fertiliser in spring and autumn.

The other thing that you want to do to keep your parsley growing strongly is to harvest it often. When harvesting, remove the oldest leaves first. These will be around the outside of the plant. Remember to cut no more than half of the entire plant at any one time.

In its second year, your parsley will flower and set seed. This is when it will need to be replaced. You can let the seeds develop and then use these to propagate new plants. Alternatively, if you’re growing your parsley in a garden bed, you can just let the seeds dry and drop onto the soil and they should germinate on their own.

How long does Italian Parsley take to grow?

As parsley seeds are quite slow to germinate, you should be able to harvest some of the first leaves around 70 to 90 days after sowing the seed.

Italian Parsley harvest 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

If you keep your plants well-watered and fertilised, you will be able to harvest your parsley often after this.

When to harvest Italian Parsley

Once the leaf stems have at least three segments, your Italian parsley is ready for harvest. The important thing to remember is to harvest the oldest leaves first from the outside and don’t cut more than you need.

How to harvest Italian Parsley

Just take a pair of kitchen scissors or garden snips and cut the stems from the outside of the plant.

Italian Parsley harvest | Fruit & Vegetables

Never pull the stems from the plant as you could accidentally pull it out or damage the rest of the plant.

Italian Parsley pests and diseases

Once it’s growing strongly, your Italian parsley shouldn’t be bothered by any pests or diseases. However, slugs and snails really love the young tender seedlings so you need to protect them from these pests.

The easiest and most convenient way to do this is to use Multiguard snail and slug pellets. Just scatter a few of these around the seedlings and your parsley should be fine.

Italian Parsley companion plants

Italian parsley makes a good companion for vegetables such as asparagus, tomatoes, and corn. However, it should not be grown with lettuce.

How to grow Italian Parsley in a pot

Italian parsley is perfect for growing in a pot or a herb planter. Make sure you use premium quality potting mix and water often. In fact, during summer, you might need to water on a daily basis.

Italian Parsley in pot | Fruit & Vegetables

Don’t forget to apply a liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks during spring, summer, and autumn.


How often should you water parsley?

Parsley should not be allowed to dry out so water it at least every second day if growing it in the ground or every day if it’s growing in a pot.

Does Italian parsley regrow after cutting?

As long as you only cut off what you need and never remove more than half of the plant each time, your Italian parsley will continue to grow.

What should I do if there are white spots on my parsley?

White spots on your parsley can be caused by a lack of moisture and nutrients or a fungal disease such as powdery mildew. If you keep your plants well-watered and fed and they get plenty of sunlight, you can avoid this problem. Spray with a fungicide to control fungal diseases.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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