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Curly parsley, Sow & Grow this ornamental herb!

Curly parsley

A special type of parsley, curly-leaf parsley is even easier to care for than flat-leaved parsley.

Curly parsley key facts:

Name: Petroselinum crispum var. crispum
Common name: curly parsley
Family: Apiaceae
Type: herb

Height: 12 inches (30 cm)
Planting distance: 8 inches (20 cm)
Exposure: semi-shade

Soil: rich, light, cool, draining  –  Planting: February, March  –   Harvest: starting in May

This biennial aromatic herb called curly parsley, is originally from western Asia. It’s one of two parsley varieties most grown in our gardens, its flat-leaf counterpart being the other one. Identifiable by its ribbed and branching stems covered in bright, deeply cut and, of course, frizzly-curly leaves, this parsley variety produces dense bunches. It may not be as aromatic as the flat-leaf type, but it sure does win in the looks department. In summer, the floral stems of curly parsley boast umbels of tiny white star-shaped flowers.

How to sow curly parsley

Curly parsley seed sowing takes place right in the growing bed, starting in February warmer climates, and March elsewhere. As it happens, this herb doesn’t appreciate being transplanted. Let’s also note that you can sow and grow curly parsley in pots.

Sowing curly parsleyHere’s a simple way to do it:

  • First, immerse the seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing.
  • Next, dig furrows about 3/8 inch (1 cm) deep and sow in lines, keeping the seeds (make sure they’re dry) spaced at 8 inches (20 cm).
  • Cover them with a fine layer of soil and firm up your sowing using the back of a rake or a board.

Just be patient. Curly parsley takes a while to germinate. You can expect the seedlings to pop up about 30 days after sowing (yes, a whole month).

Curly parsley: Tips on care and growing

Caring for curly-leaf parsleyCurly parsley likes semi-shady spots and cool soil, especially during germination and the young plant’s growth phase. Mulching works wonders for protecting your plants from the cold and preventing soil evaporation.

Want more leaves? Cut the flower stems as soon as they show up. But, let one of the plants go to seed. You’ll thank yourself next year when it self-sows!

Pests and diseases

Curly parsley: a real tough cookie! Not one to back down from diseases. Just keep an eye out for slugs, they have a soft spot for young shoots.

Harvesting and storing curly parsley

Varieties and types of curly parsleyGet ready for curly parsley harvest about 3 months after sowing.

  • Pick leaf bunches as you need them, with a pair of scissors or by pinching stems. It’ll encourage new growth.
  • This curly parsley is a superstar at quick regrowth after harvest.

Curly parsley is at its flavor peak when fresh, just plucked off the plant. But, good to know, it also keeps very well frozen.

Freezing curly parsley:

  • Start by washing the leaves. Pat them dry, then bundle them up.
  • Pop them into a freezer bag and into the freezer they go.

Drying curly parsley:

Another method? Dry your curly parsley out.

  • Wash and dry the branches, then let them air dry in a dry spot, bundles hanging upside down.
  • Once crumbly, crush your curly parsley further, into a coarse powder, and transfer into an airtight container.

Curly parsley in the kitchen

Harvest and cooking curly parsleyA key player in the classic bouquet garni, curly parsley pairs very well with thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary. It’s also a hit in persillades, the perfect companion for green beans, snails, and more. And it doesn’t just taste good – its ornamental look makes for pretty plate decoration.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Digipam, Su-May, Wheeler Cowperthwaite, CC BY-SA 2.0: Steph; Pixabay: John
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