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2nd year Italian Parsley

Posted by gigim 8A (My Page) on
Thu, May 16, 13 at 13:15

This spring my parsley was quite large and unsightly, green leaves but ragged so I cut it back to about 2 inches from the ground (now I have a 2 inch stalk). I have read about this being a biannual (sp?) so I am wondering if I have done the wrong thing and will not have parsley this year and should perhaps pull it out and start again or leave it alone and see what I get.

Thanks for your advise!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 2nd year Italian Parsley

I would sow more and see what happens to the one you cut down. I am still using my Italian parsley from last year but it is trying to bolt as fast as I cut it. At some point I'll just let it go and it will flower and set seed.


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RE: 2nd year Italian Parsley

Well, the second year , if you don't harvest them fast enough bolting is inevitable. I will let one to do its thing but keep the rest on check as long as I can, by cutting down the bolting stems early on. If I don't have use for all the fresh parsley, I will freez them. At the same time I'll plant some more here and there.

This year I have planted a whole raised bed of 5ft by 2.5ft. They are about an inch high now.


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RE: 2nd year Italian Parsley

You wouId not have gotten as much parsley this year as last even if you had not cut off all the leaves.

I sow new parsley plants indoors very early each spring but depend on my parsley in the garden from last year to tide me over until the new plants are large enough to start using.
Yes, parsley is a biennial, meaning it takes 2 years to complete its life cycle (like carrots, beets, cabbage, parsnips and a number of other plants, including weeds like mullein and Queen Anne's lace [which is, of course, the same as carrots]).
So in other words, a biennial will put forth foliage the first year and some early leaves the following year but then soon will send up a tall flowering stalk or stem. Once the seed matures, the plant then dies. So after my several overwintered parsley plants begin to bolt, I generally will choose one healthy 2-year-old parsley plant to provide me with seed for future sowing.

Since you trimmed your second-year plant(s) so hard, you may not get much from them in the way of usable leaves or a flower stalk if the root exhausts itself trying to grow more leaves. Nothing you do can make a perennial out of a biennial. :-)


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