Grow Flat Leaf Parsley in a Tropical Climate? Why not?

 

grow flat leaf parsley

I have often wondered  if  flat leaf parsley could thrive in my tropical herb garden here in Manila. Like cilantro, parsley grows best under a cooler climate, ideally below 30 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, the late  September monsoon rains in the Philippines had brought down the temperature in the city to an average of 26 – 28 degrees celsius. So I decided to try my luck with a few parsley seeds which I sowed directly into a medium-sized container.

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In about two weeks, the seeds began to germinate. To allow the roots to spread, I had to thin them out by pulling off some of the seed sprouts, especially those that looked quite unhealthy. After two more weeks, the new clover leaf-like leaves had started to take shape.  In a few more weeks, the newly matured leaves were ready for harvest so I had cut off some of these stems, leaving about 1 inch of stem before the roots, reserving the new leaf growths for future rounds of harvest.  After a few more weeks, the herbs grew more new stems and  leaves getting ready for  my next round of harvests.

grow flat leaf parsleyParsley is a biennial plant. This means that it produces leaves on the first year, during which the flavor is concentrated on the leaves. In warm countries like the Philippines,  their life cycle is shorter, less than a year. After a few months, they will start to bolt out,  i.e. the flowers will start to appear and produce seeds.  This is the start of the end of their life cycle, as the plant starts to wither and die. During the flowering stage, the concentration of flavor shifts to the tap roots, instead of the leaves.  You can still harvest them by pulling them out of the soil and use the tap roots for culinary purposes.

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There are two varieties of parsley that are most commonly used in the Philippines. One is the curly-leaf variety which can thrive only in colder places(so I’m counting it out of my herb garden).  The other variety, the  flat-leaf variety,  can tolerate a little bit of warm weather,  like what we have here in Manila.  It’s best to locate them under partial shade with some exposure to the morning sun. Water them as frequently as needed, especially when the temperature gets above 30 degrees celsius, as they have a tendency to bolt out prematurely, especially in our hot weather conditions. They can be grown indoors, by placing the pot near the window sill where they can get partial sunlight.

Thus, the best time to start planting parsley under this tropical weather in  Metro Manila  is around the end of August, when the temperature drops to more comfortable levels, below 30 degrees. Parsley can only be planted from seeds, and they require moist but well draining soil in order to thrive.  Occasional side dressing of  organic fertilizer may help replenish the lost nutrients in the soil, especially for potted plants.

So far,  my parsley experiment seems to be doing quite well.  The new growths took a bit longer to mature, probably because the temperature increased a bit in the past couple of weeks. Since I am using only organic fertilizer,  the leaves were  a little sparse, compared to those commercially grown by farmers.

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About Glo de Castro

The author is a lawyer and an executive in a leading real estate company in the Philippines. Urban gardening is one of her hobbies and passion. She created this website because she loves to write about her gardening experiences and share them with fellow gardeners. She also conducts seminars about urban gardening occasionally.

2 thoughts on “Grow Flat Leaf Parsley in a Tropical Climate? Why not?

  1. I am glad you are interested in urban gardening. Just keep tuned to more urban gardening tips on this website. I will try to update it with new posts on practical tips once a week. Regards

    Urban Gardening Mom

  2. I want to know more of urban gardening. I also want to attend some seminars or lectures on this. I only prepare leafy vegetables for my meal but I don’t want to buy them in the market because they are not fresh and organic. They are sprinkled or soaked in chemicals to look and appear fresh.

Thank you. Your comments are valuable to me to help me improve my blog posts. Cheers.