Photo of Petroselinum crispum

Petroselinum crispum


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In the Jersey-Friendly garden Parsley can be grown as a host food for Black Swallowtail caterpillars.

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This well known culinary herb is native to Europe and the Mediterranean. In the Jersey-Friendly garden it can be grown as a host food for Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Parsley is an aromatic, bushy biennial in the Carrot Family that is typically grown as an annual in New Jersey. It prefers consistently moist, well-drained, rich soils, and full sun. Transplant starter plants to your garden after the last spring frost date. Growing parsley from seed can be difficult due to it’s slow rate of germination. If you choose to start parsley from seed, start pots indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost date, or start seed outdoors in the garden around the last spring frost date. For a continuous food source for your caterpillars, sow additional seed in mid-summer. Soak seeds overnight before planting to help with germination, which may take 3-8 weeks. During their second year, the plants will send up stalks of umbel-shaped greenish-yellow flowers that attract bees, butterflies and beneficial insects, before they go to seed. Collect the seeds for another crop. Parsley can be a non-native, but non-invasive compliment to natives in the Carrot Family that support Black Swallowtail caterpillars, including Golden Alexanders  and Heartleaf Golden-Alexanders.

Plant Details:

Plant Type: Annual

New Jersey Native: No

Bloom Times: Summer, Late Summer to Fall

Bloom Colors: Yellow, Green

Deer Resistance: None

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Bees and Other Pollinators, Butterflies

Salt Tolerance: Unknown

Physiographic Region: All Regions in NJ

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic

Soil Moisture: Moist

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Full Sun

Light Range: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Moist

Drought Tolerance: Low

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 0.75 - 1 ft

Spread: 0.75 - 1 ft

Growth Rate: Slow