Flat leaf parsley blooming

hostaholic2 z 4, MNJuly 15, 2008

Hoping someone can shed some light on this for me. I started seed in March and planted the plants out in the garden in May. Of my 10 plants, 5 of them are trying to send up a flower stalk. I've been cutting them off. I know parsley is a biennial and will bloom the 2nd year, but these are first year plants. Plants very rarely survive my zone 4 winters. Anyone know what is causing this to happen and what, if anything, I can do to prevent it? I've been planting flat leaf parsley for about 8 years and this is the first I've had this happen. The plants are getting regular deep watering. Thanks for any thoughts. Joyce

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Your parsley is trying to make seed. Yes, cut off the stalk. If not, the taste of the parsley will not be as strong as you like it. If the flower stalk is left on, it will form more parsley seeds for you to plant. At that point, the parsley leaves will become more fine and fern-like. Still edible, of course.

To prevent seed stalks from forming, always harvest entire stalks from the outside of the plant, just like you were peeling celery off a stalk. Don't just clip from the plant or seed stalks will form.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:42PM
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I'll only grow the curly parsley. Man, I love that stuff! Parsley Pesto is to die for!

Unfortunately for my plants, they'll never know what "biennial" really means.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:16PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I do harvest from the outside of the plant, I'm just trying to figure out why it's trying to set seed it's first year. This has never happened before. Thanks for your responses.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:53PM
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cbs_z5_ny(z5 NY)

Did you direct seed the parsley or transplant? I start mine from seed and transplant, but find that if I let the transplants get too big before putting the ground, they are more likely to bolt the first year. This year I put some out early (when first true leaf appeared) and some out later. About 1/3 of the later ones are now going to seed, while none of the earlier ones are.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 9:30AM
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holly, I like parsley pesto too, but I use the Italian parsley. I grow the curley as border around a few flower beds, mostly to keep the swallowtail butterflies happy. They love that stuff. Kansas is a flight path for monarchs and swallowtails so I like to provide what I can to give them energy.

I found this next paragraph on something called No Thyme for Gardening. BTW, I don't know why but I don't depend on parsley being a biennial and always start from seed in the spring. Winters are harsh in Kansas, lots of ice not just snow. Maybe I should try thinking of it as a biennial since stuff like holly hocks and coneflowers do quite well here. Silly me.

"Parsley is another herb that goes against the mainstream. This biennial needs a little shade in the summer. You can tell if your parsley is getting too much sun when it bleaches out a bit and doesn't grow prolifically. This herb also likes a rich soil to keep producing along with an adequate supply of water. Cut parts of it near the base instead of giving it a haircut, the same as chives. As a biennial it will go to seed the second year but usually enough will have gone to seed the first year that you think it is a perennial."

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:31AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Thanks for all your responses. I started these from seed in March and transplanted them into the garden in May, the same as I have always done. We did have a very cool spring here in MN. I didn't think that would be a problem as I know it can tolerate cool weather well into the fall. But perhaps that triggered this growth response.??

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 2:53PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

It might have something to do with very chilly spring weather. I know that leeks will bolt if they experience cold spring weather--they think they've gone through a Mediterranean winter.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:33AM
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My parsley is blooming again from last year. It was doing really well. A rather large plant and lots and lots of flat leaf parsley! Now there is hardly any parsley on the plant but rather all blooms or should I say flowers! What should I do in order to have parsley again??

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 5:33PM
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