Watering parsley can be one of the trickiest parts of maintaining your parsley plants in a healthy state. Like all plants, parsley needs water—but too much water can damage the plants. So, well-drained soil is key, and this can be challenging when growing in containers.
Do not allow parsley plants to dry out completely between watering in the garden. Water deeply at least once a week to ensure the roots are receiving enough moisture throughout the growing season.
Water your parsley when the soil starts to turn dry to the touch on top—you should be able to poke your finger into an inch of soil and feel moisture at all times. If the soil dries out, your parsley will start to turn yellow, losing its color and fragrance. Sometimes thirsty plants will suffer the droopy effect, another visual sign to water your plants.
Always water your parsley plants around the base of the plant, not directly on the leaves—watering the leaves may activate plant diseases and attract pests to the plants.
Caution on watering: Over-watering parsley will deprive the plant of oxygen and the leaves will turn yellow, especially older leaves near the bottom of the plant. Affected leaves will droop and may even fall off, too—and, if not properly diagnosed, you might erroneously think drooping and yellowing leaves means the plant needs more water, and you’d be wrong! When the soil is always wet, your parsley plant is probably getting too much water, or you might even have poor drainage. Layering the root zone with 2 inches of compost improves drainage, once the compost is worked into the soil. But, don’t till the compost into the soil, because you might damage the roots. Under-watering your parsley may lead to wilting and browning of leaf tips. The tip can feel dry to the touch and break off if bent, a good sign that the plants need more water.
A light mulch of ground-up leaves or grass clippings will help retain moisture and keep weeds to a minimum, too.
How often do you water your parsley plants? Have you ever over-watered or under-watered your parsley plants? Please tell us how you ensure that your parsley plants get the right amount of water.