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The Best (and Worst) Companion Plants for Parsley

Jump to RecipeFresh parlely leaves.

Parsley has to be my favorite herb to grow in the garden. It is fairly easy to grow and it has so many uses in the kitchen.

I have grown parsley in pots and raised beds and both have worked great for me but I’ve had a few failed plants. Depending on where they are planted and what is next to the has really made a difference for me. I hope this post shows the benefits of companion planting and helps your garden thrive.

Best Parsley Companion Plants

Companion planting is a gardening strategy that involves growing different plants together to enhance each other's growth and protect against pests. When it comes to parsley, it is a fairly easy her to grow with others but learning what plant to choose can help contribute to its overall health and vigor. Parsley is a versatile herb known for its culinary uses, making it a popular choice for many home gardens. Here are some of the best companion plants that can be paired with parsley to create a beautiful and thriving vegetable garden.

  1. Tomatoes: Tomatoes and parsley make great companion plants in the garden. Parsley is believed to repel tomato hornworms, which can be detrimental to tomato plants. In return, tomatoes provide some shade to parsley, protecting it from excessive heat and helping it thrive. Keep in mind that tomato plants can get very large so while you may want a little sun protection you don’t want the tomatoes to completely grow over you parsley plants.
  2. Onions: Onions are known to enhance the flavor of parsley. When planted together, they can deter pests from one another. Onions also help repel pests like aphids and carrot flies, creating a healthier environment for parsley. These plants also work well together if you are looking to save space since most of the growth of onions happen underground while parsley grows larger above ground.
  3. Asparagus: These are ideal companions since parsley can deter harmful insects from the asparagus plant. In particular parsley repels asparagus beetles. Asparagus, in turn, doesn't compete significantly with parsley for nutrients, making them compatible planting companions. Asparagus also has a short growing season so you can plant your parsely in between your asparagus to make the most out of your space.
  4. Chives: Chives and parsley have mutual benefits in terms of flavor and growth habits which makes the good companion plants. Chives can help deter pests and enhance the overall health of parsley. Plus, the combination of their textures and colors adds visual interest to the garden. One this to note is that chives tend to spread so make sure if you are planting them, it si somewhere that has avaliable space.
  5. Rosemary: Rosemary is an excellent companion for parsley due to its pest-repelling properties. Rosemary can help protect parsley from certain pests while contributing to a diverse and attractive herb garden. Plus the cobination for the aromatic herbs will make for a heavenly scent in your garden.
  6. Basil: Basil is a fantastic companion plant. They are not only great culinary companions but also beneficial in the garden. Basil can help repel pests that might affect parsley, creating a healthier environment for both herbs. Both of these herbs like very similar growing requirements as well so it makes them easy to manage when grown close by one another.
  7. Marigolds: Marigolds are well-known for their pest-repelling properties. Planting them near parsley can help protect the herb from nematodes and other soil-borne pests, ensuring its robust growth. Plus they are just beautiful plants to grow next to the bright green parsley so this combination is a good idea all around.
  8. Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums can serve as a natural pest deterrent in the garden and make good neighbors for parsley. When planted near parsley, they can help keep aphids and other pests at bay, promoting a healthier and more productive parsley crop.

Choosing the right companion plants for parsley can help your garden thrive. These suggested companions not only contribute to pest control but also enhance the overall health and flavor of parsley, creating a garden that is both functional and visually appealing. The best way to learn is just to try out different growing combinations and see what works best for you in your area.

Bad Companion Plants for Parsley

While companion planting is a strategy that aims to benefit plants by placing them near compatible neighbors, there are some plants that may have adverse effects on parsley. Here are a few examples of plants that are considered bad companions for parsley:

  1. Mint: Mint can be an aggressive grower and has the potential to crowd out parsley. Additionally, some varieties of mint produce allelopathic compounds that may inhibit the growth of nearby plants, including parsley. A great way to grow mint is to grow them in pots or in their own container so they can’t spread. If you are new to growing herbs in pots check out this post to get started: Beginners Guide to Growing Herbs in Pots.
  2. Lettuce: While lettuce is often mentioned as a good companion for parsley, planting them too closely can result in competition for nutrients. It's essential to give each plant enough room to thrive without hindering the growth of the other. You can give this one a try, it’s not detrimental to the plant but if you have the space I’d try to plant them in different areas of the garden.
  3. Dill: Dill and parsley are both members of the carrot family (Apiaceae), and planting them in close proximity may lead to cross-pollination, affecting the flavor and characteristics of each herb. It's generally recommended to keep these two herbs separated to preserve their distinct qualities.
  4. Coriander (Cilantro): Similar to dill, coriander (cilantro) is another herb from the Apiaceae family. Planting coriander too close to parsley may result in cross-pollination, affecting the taste of both herbs.
  5. Fennel: Fennel is a strong-smelling herb that can negatively impact the flavor of nearby herbs, including parsley. Planting parsley near fennel may lead to a reduction in the quality of parsley leaves.
Close up of a bunch of parsley leaves.

5 Tips to Grow the Best Parsley

Growing robust and flavorful parsley requires some attention to detail and care. Here are five tips to help you grow the best parsley:

  1. Choose the Right Variety: Parsley comes in two main varieties – flat-leaf (Italian) and curly-leaf. Flat-leaf parsley is often preferred for its stronger flavor, while curly-leaf parsley is commonly used as a garnish. Choose the variety that suits your culinary preferences. Additionally, consider selecting a disease-resistant cultivar for better plant health. I have always grown Italian parsley because I prefer the flavor and find it easier to find, but both types have a similar growing preferences.
  2. Create Ideal Growing Conditions: Parsley thrives in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Choose a location with partial to full sun, as parsley prefers at least 4-6 hours of sunlight each day. If it gets some partial shade in the hot afternoon sun that can be good for it.
  3. Proper Watering: Parsley requires regular and consistent watering to ensure optimal growth. Water the plants deeply whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Make sure there is good drainage in your growing area. You want moist soil but you don’t want your plants to get waterlogged either. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth. Water at the base of the plant when you can to keep the foliage dry.
  4. Fertilize Wisely: Parsley is a relatively heavy feeder and benefits from regular fertilization. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to keep the soil nutrients are good levels. Apply fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season, following the recommended dosage on the product label.
  5. Pruning and Harvesting: Regular pruning and harvesting are essential for parsley plants. Begin harvesting when the plant has reached a height of 6-8 inches. Learn more about how to prune your parsley in the section below.

How to prune your parsley for maximum yield

Pruning parsley is a key practice for ensuring maximum growth, vitality, and prolonged productivity of this versatile herb. Follow these essential steps to prune parsley effectively:

  1. Start pruning when the parsley plant reaches a height of 6-8 inches. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make precise cuts.
  2. Focus on removing the outer stems and leaves rather than cutting from the center. Snip near the base of the stems, close to the soil level. This encourages the development of new growth from the center of the plant.
  3. Regularly harvest parsley, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time. Frequent harvesting stimulates the production of fresh foliage and prevents the herb from bolting to seed prematurely.
  4. Trim any yellow, damaged, or diseased leaves to promote overall plant health. Removing these undesirable parts redirects the plant's energy towards robust and flavorful leaf production.

Continue pruning throughout the growing season, typically every 2-4 weeks. This practice not only maintains the plant's compact shape but also prevents the herb from becoming overly woody and bitter.

By adhering to these pruning techniques, you'll encourage a bushy and prolific parsley plant, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh leaves for your culinary endeavors.

What Pests does Parsley Repel?

Pest pressure can be one of the most difficult thing to deal with the in garden. Finding natural insect repellent such as differnt types of aromatic herbs is a great way to do this. Parsley has a strong aroma that can deter pests such as aphis, cutworms, tomato hornworm, and corn earworms. This makes them a great additional to you garden.

Beyond the pest that parsley deters it also attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies, parasitic wasps, ladybugs, and damselflies.

Parsley on top of a tomato dish.

How to Use Parsley

Parsley is one of my favorite herbs in the kitchen. It is a delicious herb that goes with so many dishes and it gives everything a fresh a bright flavor. Some of my favorite uses for parsley are in salads, top on some pasta, or blend into a sauce or pesto. Really any Italian or Mediterranean dishes will benefit from a sprinkle of fresh parsley. If you are looking for new ways to use up some of your parsley in the garden here are a few great parsley recipes:

Start Growing

I hope this guide to growing parsley gives you the confidence to start adding it into your garden this growing season. Whether you decide to plant in containers, garden bed, or in the ground, I hope this guide to excellent companions will give you a little more confidence in the garden.

Even though there are some general rules around what to plant, remember to enjoy the process of gardening and grow whatever works best for you. It’s all a learning process and the more you try out the better you will be for the next growing season.

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