Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family.
It is mostly used as a garnish but is also a good source of vitamins K and C.
It is one of the staples of most herb gardens, popular for how easy it is to grow.
But, if you notice your parsley plant looking unhappy, then this is definitely a cause for alarm.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to identify why your parsley might be dying, and what steps to take to revive it. So read on to find out more!
Why is my parsley dying?
Dying parsley could be caused by inadequate sunlight and water, lack of fertilization, or using the wrong type of container.
Dying Parsley: Reasons Behind It
Lack of sunlight
Parsley can thrive in both direct and indirect sun. It is quite a hardy plant when it comes to location, but still needs around 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive.
Without an adequate amount of sunlight, the leaves on your parsley will become wilted, and growth may be spindly or very little at all.
If your parsley is an indoor plant, I would suggest that you keep it on a windowsill that receives lots of bright sunlight.
Similarly, you choose to keep your parsley outdoors, you should move it around the garden according to the light levels for each season.
Often, it is the case that your parsley will suffer from a lack of sunlight during the winter months.
If you live in an area that receives very little sunlight during these months, I would suggest investing in an artificial light lamp to ensure that your parsley can still receive the light that it needs.
Too much sunlight
Similarly, your parsley can become damaged due to being exposed to too much sunlight.
Parsley plants love full and bright sunlight, but this can become detrimental during the summer months when the sun is particularly hot and full light hours are longer.
Symptoms of a parsley plant that is in the throes of sun damage include leaves and stems that have become limp and are starting to droop downwards, which can give the appearance that your parsley is dying.
Parsley plants are very rich in moisture, so an overdose of hot sunlight can result in the moisture evaporating quickly, therefore meaning your plant can’t get the nutrients that it vitally needs.
To combat this, I would suggest watering your parsley early in the morning before direct sunlight hours hit.
If you do however notice signs of wilting during the afternoon, you should move it away from any direct sunlight and provide it with additional water.
Parsley enjoys moist conditions, due to holding a lot of water in their leaves. This means they should be watered deeply whenever the soil’s top part is dry.
If you are watering your parsley too much, it can result in the leaves becoming yellow and wilted.
Many plant owners think that yellowing in the leaves must mean that their parsley needs additional water, which is often not the case.
Consistently overwatering your parsley can result in root rot, which is where a harmful fungus enters the soil and attacks the roots. If you leave it untreated, it can cause your plant to die.
Be sure that you accounted for the climate conditions in your area. For example, if you keep your parsley outdoors, it will not need to be watered after heavy rainfall.
Additionally, your parsley will need to be watered much less during cooler months.
A simple trick that I use to check when my plant needs watering is using a touch test.
Push a finger a few inches into the topsoil to check the level of moisture in the soil. If the soil feels damp or wet, don’t water the parsley just yet for a few days.
Not enough water
Parsley plants can also be a victim of underwatering.
Underwatered parsley plants will present similar symptoms to overwatered parsley plants, sometimes making it difficult to differentiate between the two.
Parsley plants that are suffering from a lack of water will have yellowing on the leaves, usually starting from the tips and spreading downwards. The leaves may sometimes be drier to the touch than usual.
Often, gardeners don’t realize how much more water their herbs need during the hot summer months.
Depending on your location, your parsley plant may need to be watered daily, as it all depends on how quickly the water from your plant is evaporating during the course of the day.
Check on your plant regularly for signs that the soil is drying out quicker than usual.
Use the right kind of container
Ensuring that you are using the right size container or pot is a pivotal part of parsley care.
Often, gardeners purchase a young parsley plant from a garden center or plant nursery and don’t take into account that how rapidly it grows, and that it will need to be repotted.
If your parsley outgrows its current container, you may notice that the roots are visible when through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
This can lead to your plant going into distress, as it becomes much too crowded for its current pot, leaving it able to get the nutrients from the soil that it desperately needs.
The leaves may become wilted and discolored, and crispy and dry to touch.
I would suggest thinking of your parsley’s roots as being around the size of the leaves and stems of your plant and replanting your parsley into a bigger pot accordingly to this size scaling.
Herbs need fertilizer
Most gardeners are completely unaware that their herbs need fertilizer, but, they actually need these extra nutrients just as much as any other plant!
A parsley plant should be fed using a liquid fertilizer at least once monthly.
Without regular fertilization, you may start to notice that your parsley’s leaves have become covered in tiny white dots, which over time will look limp and lifeless.
There are fertilizers on the market that are specifically made for treating herbs, but I would suggest using any sort of seaweed-based fertilizer on your parsley.
Seaweed provides a vast variety of nutrients that are crucial for your plant’s growth, which in turn increases the growth rate and prevents the risk of disease and pests.
Top tip – Always water your parsley straight after applying fertilizer to the soil.
Applying fertilizer to dry soil could result in fertilizer burn, where the roots become scorched.
Frequently Asked Questions Relating to Dying Parsley
Should I cut dying leaves off of parsley?
If you are sure that the leaves are dying or dead, then they should be removed from the plant using a sterile pruning tool. This includes leaves that have disfiguration from disease or pests. However, if the leaves are just wilted or have slightly changed color, then I would suggest trying methods for revival before cutting them off.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.