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How to Kitchen Garden
Published May 2, 2023 by Nicole Burke

How to Harvest Parsley the Right Way

Filed Under:
parsley
herbs
herb garden
harvest
harvesting parsley
how to harvest
how to harvest parsley

Grow Your Own Parsley

I'm assuming you're here because you're growing your own parsley and looking to make sure you're harvesting it the right way so that you can get a ton of leaves. But if you're not growing your own yet, you should be!

Parsley is super easy to grow (seriously, it doesn't even have any pest issues) and can be used in all sorts of recipes or as a garnish. It's also really good for you.

There's actually two different types of parsley: curly leaf parsley and flat leaf (Italian) parsley. Most people think flat leaf parsley is stronger and more flavorful than curly leaf parsley. But I love curly leaf parsley for its crunch in salads!

We're focusing on how to harvest parsley right now, but you can learn more about how to grow this herb from seed here.

why you need parsley infographic

When Can You Harvest Parsley?

Parsley takes about 45 to 60 days to grow from seed when planted directly in the garden. Its soft leaves and stems need time to grow strong before they’re worth harvesting. 

Look for at least 5 to 10 main stems on your plant before your first harvest. After that, you can (and should) expect to harvest parsley weekly. Remember, the more that you cut from your herbs, the more they’ll produce!

flat leaf parsley

How to Harvest Parsley

Harvesting parsley is very similar to harvesting lettuces and other cut-and-come-again leafy greens. You're going to start with the lower leaves from the outside of the plant. Cut all the way at the base of the plant to include the stem (instead of just cutting the leaves) in order to stimulate more growth from the center of the plant. Those stems aren't really going to regrow from the tips anyway.

Remember not to harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time. For this reason, it's best to grow several plants. That way, you never have to harvest too much from one plant to get as many herbs as you need.

curly leaf parsley

Shop our favorite garden tools for your herbs

This set contains a mini dibber to help plant your herbs, mini pruners to help keep your herb garden looking tidy, special herb scissors to harvest all those leaves, and cute little wooden plant labels to keep track of all your herbs. Dry all your herbs for winter on our beautiful herb drying rack.

Keep Parsley in Your Garden for Up to Two Years

Even though parsley grows best in the cool season, it's actually a biennial, which means it can last for two years in your garden before producing seeds. Keep in mind, that's assuming weather conditions are optimal. If you live somewhere with a mild winter, you'll be able to harvest parsley all year long!

Back when I lived in Houston, I had a parsley plant that lasted the full two years in my kitchen garden. Parsley is in the same family as dill, cilantro, and carrots, and all of these cousins have taproots. The longer they remain in the garden, the bigger their taproots can grow. When I finally pulled that parsley up, its taproot was almost 12 inches long!

All that to say, if you're also growing cilantro and dill, make sure not to pull up your parsley plants when the temperatures warm up and it's time to say bye bye to the other cool-season herbs. Parsley can keep on going (unless it’s clear that it’s dried up or flowered and gone to seed).

If your parsley is beginning to bolt (go to seed), you can still harvest and eat the leaves. The flowers are edible, but I like to leave them in the garden as a little gift to the bees and butterflies.

harvested parsley leaves

How to Save and Enjoy Parsley

Parsley wilts quickly, so place the stems in some fresh water as soon as you harvest them and bring them inside. You can keep them in the fridge like this (in water) for a couple of days.

Parsley doesn't dry well like herbs in the mint family. It's best to preserve parsley leaves in olive oil and freeze or just chop and freeze the leaves whole. 

I like to use parsley leaves in salads, tabbouleh, and chimichurri, and as a garnish for soups, stews, and cooked fish. Try replacing an extra dash of salt with parsley and see if your taste buds can tell the difference.

Here's my favorite kitchen trick: Just toss some parsley on top of anything that you want to class up a bit—the greens instantly make meals look like you put more effort into them!

Learn How to Grow All Your Favorite Herbs with Gardenary

Grow at least one, if not two, parsley plants per person in your family to enjoy enough fresh harvests of leaves and store more leaves in the freezer to last all winter. That's how you ditch the grocery store herbs for good.

Speaking of, we've got all the resources you need here at Gardenary to help you grow and harvest enough of your favorite herbs to last you all year. Honestly, there's no reason to buy a little bundle of parsley leaves from the store ever again!

Thanks for being here and helping to make gardening ordinary!

my 2nd book just came out!

This book walks you through my step-by-step system for growing with your plants. Once you've mastered herbs like parsley, I'll help you grow roots, fruit, and whatever else you want to enjoy from your garden! Order now to receive limited-time special offers!

Read More About Herb Gardening