Giant Of Italy Parsley: How To Grow Italian Giant Parsley Herbs

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Giant of Italy plants (aka ‘Italian Giant’) are big, bushyplants that produce huge, dark green leaves with a rich, strong flavor. Giantof Italy plants are biennialin USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9. This means it grows the first year andblooms the second. It often reseeds itself to return year after year.

Uses for Italian Giant parsley are many and chefs frequentlyprefer this flat-leafparsley over standard curled parsley in salads, soups, stews, and sauces.In the garden, this lovely plant attracts a variety of beneficialinsects, including blackswallowtail butterfly larvae. Giant of Italy parsley care and growing isn’tcomplicated. Read on to learn how.

How to Grow Italian Giant Parsley

Plant Giant of Italy parsley seeds indoors or start themdirectly in the garden in spring, when danger of frost has passed. You can alsogrow Giant of Italy plants in large containers. Seeds generally germinatein 14 to 30 days.

Giant of Italy plants grow in full sun and are more heattolerant than curly parsley, but afternoon shade is beneficial in climateswhere summers are hot. Soil should be moist, fertile, and well-drained forsuccessful Giant of Italy parsley growing. If your soil is poor, dig in agenerous amount of well-rotted manure or compost.

Water plants as needed to keep the soil consistently moistbut never soggy. A layer of mulchwill conserve moisture and help keep weeds in check. If growing in containersduring hot, dry weather, they may need water daily.

Giant of Italy parsley care may also include fertilization. Feedthe plants once or twice through the growing season using a water-solublefertilizer. You can also dig in a little compost or apply a fishemulsion fertilizer. Snip leaves as needed throughout the growing season orwhenever the plants begin to look shaggy.

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Giant Of Italy Parsley Growing – Care And Uses For Italian Giant Parsley - garden

Petroselinum crispum 'Giant Of Italy'

Giant Of Italy Parsley foliage

Giant Of Italy Parsley foliage

Other Names: Italian Parsley, Flat-leaf Parsley

A tall variety of parsley with large, flat, open, medium green leaves requires a well prepared fertilized soil and even moisture if it flowers, the leaves are inedible pinch blooms to promote foliage

Giant Of Italy Parsley is a perennial herb that is typically grown for its edible qualities. The fragrant ferny compound green leaves are usually harvested from late spring to mid summer. The leaves have a bitter taste and a light fragrance.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Cooking
  • Drying
  • Seasoning

Giant Of Italy Parsley's attractive fragrant ferny compound leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. The flowers are not ornamentally significant.

This is a dense herbaceous perennial herb with a mounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage. This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Aside from its primary use as an edible, Giant Of Italy Parsley is sutiable for the following landscape applications

  • Herb Gardens
  • Container Planting

Giant Of Italy Parsley will grow to be about 30 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 30 inches apart. It grows at a fast rate, and tends to be biennial, meaning that it puts on vegetative growth the first year, flowers the second, and then dies.

This plant is typically grown in a designated herb garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Giant Of Italy Parsley is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. It can be used either as 'filler' or as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, depending on the height and form of the other plants used in the container planting. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Fertilizer Schedule for Parsley Grow in Containers

Because parsley in container gardens live in a smaller soil region, gardeners must supplement the soil's nutrient levels more often compared to parsley grown directly in the ground. For parsley grown in a pot indoors, fertilizer should be applied once every six weeks. For parsley grown in a pot outdoors, fertilizer applications should get upped to once every four weeks. For the best results, the University of Minnesota Extension recommends using any liquid vegetable fertilizer, applying at a rate that's half as strong as the manufacturer's recommended dosage.

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

How To Grow Italian Parsley

As Chris describes in her article The Benefits of Growing Parsley in Your Kitchen Garden, there are three basic types of parsley: curly, Italian parsley (also known as flat leaf), and Hamburg. Her article will provide you with a good introduction to the three types of parsley and some of the basics. But in thisarticle, we will focus specifically on how to grow Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) … just because it is my personal favorite!

Photo credit: Jo at Homestead Chronicles 2014

Why I Love Italian Parsley

I developed an affinity for Italian parsley two years ago when I grew it for the first time and then went out back to harvest some. I grabbed a big ol’ handful, cut it back, and started back into the house. Within three steps, the sweet, savory, slightly pungent aroma of the freshly cut herb hit my nose and I stopped dead in my tracks. I held it up to my nose and inhaled long and deep. It was heaven … like nothing I had ever smelled before. To my shock and awe, I discovered that the difference between curly & Italian is indescribable. My entire house smelled incredible for three days! I still grow a little curly parley to use as a garish and in certain dishes, but since that day, 90% of the parsley space in my garden is reserved for this wonderfully fragrant Italian parsley.

Italian parsley is both robust and savory. Whether used fresh or dried, it is a wonderful addition to any dish (both meat dishes & vegetarian). It works well in sauces, salads, appetizers, and just floating on top of a soup or stew as a garnish. Because it is so much stronger than curly parsley, though, you will not need as much of it to get the desired flavor. It is also very easy to grow, harvest, and preserve and it delivers an incredible nutritional punch (more on that below)!

How to Grow Italian Parsley

Many say that this plant does well in pots, even indoors in a sunny window, and I am sure it probably does. But I am too parsley-greedy for that. I start them in pots indoors in the spring, but then transplant them in the ground after the last frost to let them go crazy. And they do go crazy!

Whether you plan to relocate your parsley out to the garden or keep them indoors in pots, start with a quality potting soil mixed with some good compost and a little sand for good drainage. You can start your parsley any time of year (except outdoors in the dead of winter, of course), but note that germination can take four to six weeks. It might help to soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting because they have such a thick seed coat. Once planted, don’t let the soil completely dry out, but don’t let it sit in standing water, either. Keep it lightly moist. Place it in the sunniest window you have or under a grow light.

Potted Italian Parsley
Photo credit: Laurie at Common Sense Homesteading 2014

Once your seedlings reach about 3 inches tall, have 6-8 leaves, and the night time temps are above 40°F, you can harden them off and get them planted outdoors. Ensure the soil is quality garden soil with compost mixed in and good drainage. No parsley “likes” to be transplanted, and at first, will seem a little unhappy, but it will snap out of it and perk up in a week or two. Be patient.

If you are in a mild climate, full sun is best. But if your summers are brutally hot, pick a spot with filtered sunlight or partial shade. They like full sun, but not scorching heat. They would prefer the shade in that case.

Parsley is a biennial. It takes two growing seasons to reach maturity and go to seed. It requires several weeks of cold weather (even snow covered) to complete the life cycle. Note that when parsley is busy flowering and setting seed in the second year, it is not nearly as tasty, so for culinary purposes, you probably want to start a new plant every year. But if you always have at least one plant in its second year, you can save seeds for your next season rather than having to buy more seeds. Beware, parsley seeds are toxic, so don’t include them in your food.

About Jo Rellime

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