Parsley is an annual in the North, growing from spring until freezing weather. In milder climates, it is frost-proof and lives through winter. The second spring after planting, the plant blooms, goes to seed, and then finally gives out. When you see it send up a flower stalk, it’s time to yank the plant because at this point the leaves will taste bitter.
Plant in the spring (or in fall in zones 7 and warmer). Normal winters in the South and Southwest provide wonderful growing conditions for parsley and many gardeners use it in pots and flower beds as a green foliage filler with pansies and violas for winter. For the summer, Italian flat-leafed parsley is a bit more heat tolerant than curly parsley.
Set plants in full sun or partial shade, and rich, moist soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.7. Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before or at planting. Keep the soil moist. Keep roots cool and moist by mulching around the plant, but don’t cover the crown of the plant or the plant will risk getting rot. In September, promote new foliage by cutting back plants set out in the spring; this is especially true for plants grown in vegetable and herb beds strictly for their harvest.
Harvest and Storage
Gather parsley stems and leaves as needed. Harvest parsley by cutting the leafy stems from the base of the plant—this will also serve to make the plant grow back bushier. Freeze parsley for winter use; although it is easily dried, it does not keep its flavor well.