Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum
Common Name: Italian parsley 
Type: Annual
Family: Apiaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Greenish yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies


Parsley is a biennial that is typically grown in St. Louis as an annual. It is easily grown in average, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. It prefers rich soils. Do not allow soils to dry out. Plants perform best in cool summer climates, and sometimes tend to languish in the hot and humid summers of the deep South. Starter plants may be planted 8-12" apart in the garden around the last spring frost date. Plants may also be grown from seed, but this is more difficult because germination is slow and usually uneven. Seed may be started indoors about 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date. Seed may also be started outdoors in the garden as of last spring frost date. Additional seed may be planted in the garden later in spring and in mid-summer. If desired, bring containers or dug-up plants indoors in fall before first frost for overwintering (site in a cool sunny window or under lights). Overwintered plants may be taken outdoors again after last spring frost date. Flower spikes rise in summer, seed is produced and the biennial then dies. Prompt removal of the flower spikes as they appear will help prolong the foliage life.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Petroselinum crispum, commonly called parsley, is a well-known culinary herb that is native to Europe and the Mediterranean. It is now grown world-wide for its is aromatic edible leaves which may be used fresh or dried in soups, salads and a wide variety of other food dishes (e.g., potatoes, fish, stews, vegetables, omelets). It is popularly used as a garnish. Three kinds of parsley are grown: (1) curly leaved parsley (var. crispum), (2) Italian or flat-leaved parsley (var. neapolitanum) and (3) Hamburg parsley (var. tuberosum). Var. neapolitanum leaves have a stronger flavor than the leaves of var. crispum. This plant typically grows in a clump to 12" tall and as wide. Triangular dark green leaves are finely divided into flat leaflets. Leaves remain harvestable until temperatures drop into the low 20s F., but will remain strong throughout winter in warm winter climates. Plants will bloom in the 2nd year by sending up stalks to 2-3' tall bearing compound umbels of greenish-yellow flowers. Unfortunately, leaves lose much flavor in the second year when plants are in flower. Parsley is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, several of the B complex vitamins and a number of minerals including potassium, iron, copper and manganese.

Genus name comes from the Greek words petros meaning a rock and selinon meaning parsley or celery.

Specific epithet means finely waved or closely curled.


No serious insect or disease problems. Septoria leaf spot and stem rot. Carrot weevil, flea beetles, leafhoppers and tarnished plant bugs.


Herb gardens. Edging. Containers. Popular addition to cooking. Frequently used as a fresh garnish. Attractive landscape plant. Hanging baskets.