How much parsley do you get from one plant?

fruitpipFebruary 20, 2014

I'm new to gardening.. I've been doing google searches and what not for info on this.. I cannot find it anywhere like i know there are so many variables, but anyone who has grown parsley... how much on average can you harvest from one plant? Like i know you could harvest a little at a time but if I wanted one cup of parsley (not packed or chopped just fresh leaves) would that knock out an entire adult parsley plant? Same with basil? Thank you for your help everyone :~)

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You cannot get a whole lot from a single parsley plant. I have planted about 10 sqr-ft of parsley. It comes to harvest point about every 3 weeks or so. You can , of course, harvest outer leaves gradually if you have just a few of them.

Parsley is sown and grown in clumps, roughly one plant per 4 square inch (more or less) or about 30-40 per one square foot. Once they get bigger you can thin them, if you want. But I don't do that.


be prepared to wait up to 3 weeks (depending on the conditions) I am talking about direct sowing in the garden. You can even winter sow them ahead of time. Then they will sprout on their own timing.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:55PM
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I plant parsley in clumps throughout the garden & can harvest it by the grocery bag full once it gets going. I gradually thin them out to the strongest plants as the season goes along. You can literally strip a plant of all leaves & it will survive with new leaves within a couple weeks.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Yep.. For the 1st couple months, there's not much to be had, but before they flower, they grow pretty huge and there's quite a bit to be harvested. And then all of a sudden it bolts.

Reminds me much like cilantro -- you want to keep planting in succession every 2-4 weeks to keep the supply coming.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Oooh okay. So do you plant it like chives? Like a bunch of seeds together to get a clump? I looked into square foot gardening and saw parsley says 1 plant per square foot so i was picturing one seed growing an enormous plant, haha

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 8:14AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

I've done parsley as a bunch or a single plant. Doesn't seem to make much difference in the long run.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:17AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

It depends on which type of parsley you sow/plant. If you use a flat leaf Italian parsley the plants can be a foot across in good soil. If you grow a dwarf curled variety you get smaller plants and a lower yield. I direct sow flat leaf in a row about four feet long. The plants are thinned to about 6 inches apart. This gives me parsley for about 12 months. I sow a new row before the old one goes to seed in early summer.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:59AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)


What you have describes is "CILANTRO" not parsley. Parsley won't flower or bolt til the second year.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:05AM
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Seysonn: Maybe in cooler temps. it usually bolts for me in less than a YEAR. Onions do the same here.

True about cilantro though -- it'll bolt at the 1st sign of heat.

See! It's not ALL rosy growing down here in SoCal.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:23PM
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My experience with parsley has been more like floral_uk described. I plant an Italian flat-leaf variety and it gets to be a very sturdy plant that's a good foot across and very bushy. I space single plants about a foot apart and they end up overlapping each other a bit most years. I start them indoors at the same time I start my celery transplants. One plant will fill 6 to 7 trays in my dehydrator (and that's tossing away anything but the perfect leaves). In the summer, when the plant is a good size, I could easily pick a cup's worth of leaves without decimating the plant (but I don't because I take a few from multiple plants instead). Yes, they do bolt eventually, usually in August sometime here. I pull the plant before they do that, though, and freeze some fresh and dehydrate the rest. Parsley does not survive the winter here (at least it hasn't for me when I've tried) in zone 2.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:33PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Kevin - are you sowing seed or planting plants? Parsley doesn't transplant well and will be much more likely to bolt than if you sow seed.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Flora: Both. All depends on where I want to grow it in my limited space. It doesn't really bother me that it bolts. Parsley's real cheap. Actually, I want it to because of it's beneficial insect attracting flowers. I just wish the flowers lasted longer than they do. Same with dill and cilantro.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Thank you everyone for your input!

This post was edited by fruitpip on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 18:55

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:54PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Haha Kevin. Southern Cali, you know.
But,if you harvest them, early enough there will be less chances of bolting. But I understand, a lot of people plant herbs as decorative item. We know that both parsley and cilantro are cool weather loving herbs. We've got plenty of it up here. At least something grows here better, for change. haha


Flat parsley will never become a foot wide in first year, for me. But it can happen the second year, IF I leave them on their own without harvesting the outer growth. Another thing I have noticed is that they thin out naturally, on their own. I just sow the seeds almost like

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 6:00AM
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floral_uk I had the opposite experience. I had 4 Parsley plants in newspaper pots. I transplanted them, and they looked bad for a while because of colder temps outside. As it warmed up, the Parsley plants started taking off and even got 1+ feet tall because I didn't harvest them much.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 1:35PM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Italian flat leaf once established will give you a lot of parsley for fresh use. For my use needs I find I only need two healthy plants to keep me in fresh parsley the whole season.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:52PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

If you look at a single flat parsley, planted by itself and kept well, its outer leaves can pan out and cover almost one square feet. That is, when you don't harvest and use. I plant like 20 per square foot and I raze them down to ground (like chives) they grow back. Additionally, the weaker ones die and fewer good ones come up the following year. So they naturally thin out by competition.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:26AM
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My garden is in high raised beds. I border a couple of them with Italian parsley,started inside and transplanted out at about 4-6" apart. I try to harvest it and train it so it flops over the side (instead of into the bed). Its more than decorative though. We make and eat a lot of Tabouli.

I have never had parsley flower the first year (in WI). And have actually only had it return once - then it went to flower mid-summer.

To answer the original question - yes if you want a full cup of chopped parsley, it could take the whole plant (but it will grow back) Same with Basil a cup of basil leaves could defoliate a mid-sized plant. (depending on the type of basil). I am a "you can't have to much basil" kind of gardener. I grow it from seed and have 20-30 plants around the garden - I eat it in salads, on tomato sandwiches, chopped and tossed into garlic olive oil pasta, and I make lots of Pesto in the fall. Love it!!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:01AM
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I am growing parsley for the first time too on my youtube channel TheItalian Garden. If you would like to tune in and see how big i can get them i would love to test that question. Because now i am curious lol. love to hear any of your other questions on my channel.

Here is a link that might be useful: TheItalian Garden

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Here is what I do to make parsley germinate faster in 7 days or less. Soak the seeds in soapy water. Fill a cup with warm water (not hot) . Add a drop or two of dish soap, and stir the mixture to help it dissolve. Place your parsley seeds into the warm water soap mixture and allow them to soak for one to two hour. The heat of the water and the dish soap will help to break down the tough outer casing of the parsley seeds. This will make them germinate and grow faster than they would without soaking.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:49PM
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