How to Grow Parsley from Cuttings: A Clear Guide

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Growing parsley from cuttings is not only an enjoyable gardening activity but also a rewarding one. Parsley, a popular herb with numerous culinary and medicinal benefits, can be a wonderful addition to your home garden. With a few simple steps and proper care, anyone can cultivate this fragrant and versatile plant from cuttings.

To start with, it’s essential to select healthy and vibrant parsley stems that show no signs of disease or pests. After acquiring a quality stem, the process of propagating parsley from cuttings involves preparing the cutting, providing optimal growing conditions, and nurturing the new plant growth. By following the appropriate steps, you increase your chances of success in growing bountiful parsley plants.

Keep in mind, patience is key when growing plants from cuttings, especially since parsley might take a bit longer than other herbs. But the outcome of having fresh, homegrown parsley at your disposal will undoubtedly be worth the effort. So, let’s delve into the process of growing parsley from cuttings and fill your garden with this delightful herb.

Understanding Parsley

Parsley is a versatile herb commonly used in various cuisines around the world. It is not only prized for its taste but also for its potential health benefits. There are two main types of parsley: flat-leaf (Italian) and curly-leaf, each with its own unique characteristics.

The flat-leaf parsley has a robust flavor, making it an excellent choice for seasoning dishes and garnishes. On the other hand, the curly-leaf variety has a milder taste, making it a lovely addition to salads and other fresh dishes. It’s essential to know their differences when choosing one for your garden.

Growing parsley from cuttings is an economical and efficient method to propagate this popular herb. It involves taking a healthy stem with few leaves, and placing it in water or soil to stimulate root growth. This way, the new plant can establish a healthy root system before being transplanted into the garden or a pot.

When growing parsley from cuttings, choosing the right environment is crucial. Parsley prefers a well-draining soil, rich in organic matter, and a location that receives partial to full sunlight. The ideal temperature for optimal growth ranges between 50-85°F (10-29°C). It is also essential to keep the soil consistently moist, ensuring that it never becomes soggy or waterlogged.

Parsley is known for its biennial life cycle, meaning it will complete its growth and produce seeds within two years. However, many gardeners treat it as an annual plant, replacing it after the first year to maintain optimal flavor and vigor. As your parsley plant grows, proper care and maintenance will ensure a consistent supply of fresh leaves for your culinary endeavors.

In summary, understanding parsley varieties and their growth requirements is the key to successfully growing this herb from cuttings. Being mindful of the plant’s preferred environment, soil conditions, and life cycle will guide your gardening efforts and reward you with a healthy and thriving parsley plant.

Gathering Your Tools and Materials

Choosing Cutting Tools

When selecting cutting tools for propagating parsley from cuttings, it’s important to opt for clean and sharp instruments. Pruners, scissors, or a sharp knife are all suitable choices. Using a sterile cutting tool will help prevent the spread of diseases and ensure a healthy propagation process. To sterilize your chosen tool, use rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution.

Preparing the Soil

Proper soil preparation is crucial to successfully grow parsley from cuttings. A well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix is highly recommended. Mix together equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and compost or aged bark. This blend will provide sufficient drainage, aeration, and nutrients for the cuttings, promoting healthy root growth.

To increase the likelihood of successful parsley propagation, you may also consider using a rooting hormone. This can be applied to the base of cuttings to encourage rapid root development. Rooting hormones are available in both liquid and powder forms and can be purchased at your local garden center or online.

Keep in mind the importance of choosing the right container for your parsley cuttings. Select a pot with drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot. A smaller pot is preferable as it will allow the cuttings to focus on developing a strong root system before allocating energy to above-ground growth.

Selecting and Preparing the Parsley Cutting

Choosing the Right Stem

When selecting a parsley stem for propagation, look for healthy, strong stems without any signs of disease or pests. Ideally, choose a stem that is at least 4 to 6 inches long and has a few sets of leaves. The stem should be firm and have a thickness similar to a pencil. Avoid using stems that are too thin, as they may not have enough energy to develop new roots.

The Cutting Process

  1. Sterilize: Start by sterilizing your cutting tools with rubbing alcohol to prevent transmitting any diseases or pests to the new plant.
  2. Cut: Make a clean, diagonal cut just below a leaf node on the selected stem (the point where leaves join the stem). The angle should be around 45 degrees, which helps to promote water and nutrient absorption.
  3. Trim: Remove the lower sets of leaves to encourage root production. Keep the upper sets intact to allow for photosynthesis.
  4. Root Hormone: Although not absolutely necessary, you can apply a rooting hormone to the cut end of the stem to stimulate root growth. This step is especially useful if you plan to grow multiple parsley cuttings.
  5. Plant: Place the cutting in a small pot or container filled with well-draining potting mix. Make sure the soil is moist but not soggy. This will help to create an ideal environment for new roots to form.
  6. Cover: To maintain humidity around the cutting, cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or a plastic dome. This will help to prevent the cutting from drying out and wilt.
  7. Air Circulation: Give the cutting some fresh air each day by removing the cover for a short time. This prevents mold growth and other bacterial infections.
  8. Light and Temperature: Place the pot in a bright location out of direct sunlight. Maintain a consistent temperature between 60-75°F (15-24°C).

In a few weeks, new roots should start forming, and the parsley cutting will begin to grow into a healthy, thriving plant.

Planting the Parsley Cutting

Installing the Cutting

To propagate parsley from cuttings, choose a healthy plant with vigorous growth. Trim off a 4-6 inch stem, which includes some leaves and a node. Strip the leaves from the lower half of the cutting, leaving the top leaves intact. Submerge the stripped half of the stem in a glass or jar filled with clean water, making sure no leaves touch the water to prevent rot.

Replace the water every 2-3 days to maintain freshness and prevent bacterial growth. In about two weeks, you will notice new roots emerging from the submerged nodes. Once these roots have grown to approximately 1-2 inches in length, your cutting is ready for planting in soil.

Adjusting Environment

Select a well-draining pot filled with moist, fertile, and well-aerated potting mix. Create a hole in the soil deep enough to accommodate the new roots, and place the cutting in the hole, root-side down. Gently fill the hole with the potting mix, completely covering the roots and the lower part of the stem, and gently press the soil around it to eliminate air pockets.

To give your parsley cuttings the best chance of success, place the pot in a location that receives dappled sunlight throughout the day, avoiding direct sunlight to prevent scorching. Maintain a consistent temperature of 65-75°F (18-24°C) and humidity around 60-70% to support healthy growth.

Water the planted cutting regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist without overwatering. As the parsley plant establishes itself, watch for new growth and gradually increase its exposure to sunlight. Eventually, you can transplant your established parsley plant to a garden bed or continue growing it in the container.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully propagate parsley from cuttings and enjoy a fresh supply of this versatile herb in your kitchen.

Caring for the Parsley Cutting

Watering Regime

It is important to keep parsley cuttings hydrated, as this contributes to their overall health and growth. Firstly, ensure the soil is consistently moist but not overly saturated. Over-watering can lead to root rot or the growth of harmful fungi. Maintain a balanced watering schedule by checking the soil’s moisture every day or two. If the top inch feels dry, it’s time to water the cutting. Use a gentle spray to ensure that the root system receives water without displacing the soil.

Lighting Needs

Select a suitable spot for the parsley cutting, where it will receive access to sufficient indirect sunlight. Parsley is a delicate herb, and its growth can be severely hindered by direct sunlight, which may cause its tender leaves to wilt or get scorched. The ideal lighting condition for parsley cuttings would be a bright but indirect light source, allowing it to receive 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. You can also use a grow light placed about 10-12 inches from the cutting to ensure optimal lighting.

Feeding and Fertilizing

Parsley cuttings require nutrients for their healthy growth and development. It is key to include a proper feeding and fertilizing schedule to enhance the quality and yield of your parsley harvest. Begin by incorporating a well-balanced, all-purpose fertilizer into the soil mix when planting the cutting – this will provide the initial nutrients necessary for its growth. As the parsley cutting establishes itself and begins to mature, apply a liquid fertilizer in moderation every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid applying too much fertilizer at once, as it may cause the parsley’s flavor to become overly intense and its leaf production to slow down.

Monitoring for Growth

When growing parsley from cuttings, it is essential to keep a close eye on their progress. Regularly monitoring the growth ensures that the cuttings are developing at the desired pace and avoids any possible issues. This section provides information on the factors to consider and the steps to follow while monitoring parsley growth.

One of the primary things to look for is the appearance of new leaves on the cuttings. As the cuttings begin to develop roots, they will start to produce new leaves. This is a clear indication that the cuttings are successfully taking root and growing. Moreover, the color of the leaves should be a vibrant green, which signifies healthy growth.

Another crucial factor to monitor is the moisture level in the soil where the cuttings are planted. Overwatering or underwatering can be detrimental to the growth of parsley. Maintain a moderately moist soil environment by watering the cuttings when the top layer of the soil feels dry to the touch. To keep a consistent moisture level, use a well-draining potting mix and ensure proper drainage within the pot or container.

It is also essential to provide sufficient light to the parsley cuttings. Place them in a location where they receive direct sunlight for at least six hours daily. If cultivating parsley indoors, consider using grow lights to supplement natural light to ensure healthy growth.

Lastly, keep an eye on the overall health of your parsley cuttings. Monitor them for any signs of disease or pests, such as discolored or wilting leaves. Address any concerns promptly by adjusting the growing conditions, applying organic pest control methods, or removing severely affected cuttings.

In summary, continuously monitoring the growth of parsley cuttings is crucial for successful cultivation. By paying attention to the appearance of new leaves, maintaining appropriate watering and light conditions, and addressing any health concerns, your parsley cuttings will grow into thriving, healthy plants.

Transplanting Mature Parsley

When to Transplant

Transplanting mature parsley is an essential step to ensure its healthy growth. The optimal time to transplant parsley is when it has reached a height of approximately 3-4 inches and has developed at least two sets of true leaves. This typically occurs within 6-8 weeks after seedlings have emerged. By transplanting at this stage, the root system is strong enough to handle the transition without causing unnecessary stress to the plant.

Keep an eye on the weather conditions before transplanting. It’s best to transplant on a mild, overcast day to minimize the plant’s exposure to direct sunlight. Additionally, transplanting after the last expected frost date in your area will ensure that the parsley can establish itself without the risk of cold damage.

How to Transplant

  1. Prepare the new location: Choose a spot with well-draining soil and access to full or partial sunlight. Before transplanting, it’s a good idea to prepare the soil by tilling it, removing weeds, and adding compost or organic matter. This will provide essential nutrients for the parsley to thrive.
  2. Dig a hole: Create a hole at the new location for the parsley, ensuring it’s large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system. Make the hole slightly wider and deeper than the root ball to encourage root development.
  3. Remove the parsley from its current location: Carefully dig around the parsley’s roots while taking care not to damage them. Gently lift the plant from the ground, keeping as much soil on the root system as possible. This will minimize disturbances to the roots during the transplant process.
  4. Set the parsley in its new home: Place the parsley plant in the prepared hole, making sure the root ball is at the same depth as it was in its original location. Fill the space around the roots with soil, lightly pressing down to eliminate air pockets.

    After transplanting, water the parsley thoroughly to help it establish itself in the new location. Keep the soil moist but not soggy for the first few weeks, and watch for new growth as a sign that the parsley has successfully adapted to its new environment.

Common Troubles and Solutions

Dealing with Pests

Pests can be an issue when trying to grow parsley from cuttings. The most common pests that affect parsley plants include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. These pests can damage the parsley leaves, making the plant less healthy and productive.

  • Aphids: To control aphids, spray the affected parsley plants with a mixture of water, dish soap, and neem oil. Repeat this process every few days until the aphids are gone.
  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies can be controlled by using yellow sticky traps placed near the parsley plants. The traps attract the whiteflies, preventing them from infesting the plants.
  • Spider mites: Spider mites are small insects that can cause severe damage to your parsley plants. To control them, use a mixture of water and liquid soap or a commercially available miticide spray.

Resolving Disease Issues

There are a few diseases that can affect the parsley plant, including leaf spot, downy mildew, and root rot. Here are some methods to address these issues:

  • Leaf spot: This fungal disease causes irregular brown or black spots on the parsley leaves. To treat leaf spot, remove the affected leaves and apply a fungicide to the remaining foliage.
  • Downy mildew: Downy mildew can cause yellow spots on the upper side of parsley leaves and white patches on the undersides. To prevent the spread of downy mildew, ensure proper air circulation around the plants and apply a fungicide.
  • Root rot: Root rot is a result of overwatering and poor drainage. To prevent root rot, ensure that your parsley cuttings are planted in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering.

By addressing these common troubles promptly and effectively, you can ensure your parsley cuttings grow into healthy, productive plants.


Growing parsley from cuttings can be a rewarding and efficient process for gardeners looking to expand their herb collection. By following the recommended steps and providing the appropriate care, parsley cuttings can develop into thriving, healthy plants.

To ensure success in growing parsley from cuttings, remember to select strong, healthy stems and to remove the lower leaves to reduce moisture loss. Rooting hormone can be applied, aiding in the development of a robust root system, while maintaining the proper balance of moisture in the growing medium can create a supportive environment for the cutting.

Once the parsley cutting has formed roots and new growth begins to show, pot the cutting into a container with well-draining soil and sufficient nutrients to support its growth. Ensuring that the young plant receives enough light and water will help its transition from the cutting stage to becoming an established plant.

Regular care for your newly grown parsley plant includes proper watering, consistent pruning, and occasional fertilization. Through attentive care and diligent practice, your parsley plant will eventually flourish and provide a steady supply of fresh herbs for your culinary needs.

In summary, growing parsley from cuttings involves several critical steps and ongoing care but can lead to the successful cultivation of a new plant. Remain confident in your gardening skills, and let your knowledge guide you through this rewarding process. The end result will be a delightful addition to your garden and a valuable ingredient in your kitchen.