Parsley is a bright green, biennial, plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10-25 cm long with numerous 1-3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3-10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2-3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.
HOW TO GROW
- Growing parsley indoors on a sunny windowsill is ornamental as well as practical. Curly types have lacy, frilly foliage that looks great in any setting and flat-leaf varieties are prized for their flavor. Learning how to grow parsley indoors is not at all complicated and neither is indoor parsley care.
- Parsley herbs (Petroselinum crispum) grow best in a sunny, preferably south-facing window where they will receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. If your window doesnâ€™t provide that much light, you will have to supplement it with fluorescent lighting. Turn the pot every three or four days so that the plant doesnâ€™t lean into the sun.
- Parsley container gardening is no different than growing any other potted herbs. Choose a container that fits snuggly on the window sill. It should have several drainage holes and a saucer underneath to catch water as it drains through. Fill the pot with a good quality potting soil and add a handful of clean sand to improve the drainage.
- Humidity is not usually a problem when you grow parsley in the kitchen where steam from cooking and the constant use of water helps keep the air moist. In other locations, you may need to mist the plants from time to time. If the leaves look dry and brittle, set the plant on top of a tray of pebbles and add water to the tray, leaving the tops of the pebbles exposed. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity of the air around the plant.
- Be sure to water the seeds often while they germinate so that they don’t dry out.
- Throughout the summer, be sure to water the plants evenly.
- Stem rot
- Leaf spots
- Black swallowtail larvae
- Carrot fly and celery fly larvae
- Parsley is one of less calorific herb. 100 g of fresh leaves carry just 36 calories. Additionally, its leaves carry zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Altogether, the herb helps in controllling blood-cholesterol, and may offer protection from free radical mediated injury and cancers.
- Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin; and has been rated as one of the plant sources with quality antioxidant activities. Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh, raw parsley, is 1301 micromol TE (Trolex equivalents).
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering pressing effects of sodium.
- Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Additionally, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina (eye) in the aged population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
- It is, perhaps, the richest herbal source for vitamin K; provide 1640g or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have the potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients through limiting neuronal damage in their brain.