My Italian Parsely is turning into a tree

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Real Hawkeye, May 18, 2006.

  1. Real Hawkeye

    Real Hawkeye Well-Known Member

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    In spring of 2004 I planted a tiny Italian Parsley plant in my herb garden. It survived the winter of 04/05, and came back strong in spring of 05, and provided lots of parsley all spring, summer and fall. Again, it survived the winter of 05/06 just fine, and came back strong again in the spring of 06, but all the sudden, a couple of weeks ago, this huge center stem came up from the middle like a tree trunk. Is this normal? Should I be concerned, or is this a good thing? Thanks.

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  2. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

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    It's going to seed. Mine is doing the same thing.
     

  3. Real Hawkeye

    Real Hawkeye Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I see what you mean near the top. But does that mean it will stop producing edible parsley sprigs? Is there something I should do to stop this process, like sever the center trunk at the base, or should I just let it take its course? Thanks.
     
  4. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    Parsley is a biennial. It sets seed at the end of it's life. I find that it becomes less appealing to eat as the seed stalks continue to develop. Unless you want to save the seed, it's probably getting close to the time where you'll want to tear it out and plant a new one.
     
  5. Real Hawkeye

    Real Hawkeye Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That's a shame. It's been such a good producer for two years (in the past, they all died every winter). I thought I had a gold egg laying goose that I just needed to keep watered and it would produce edible parsley forever like a rosemary bush. Guess I will have to think ahead and plant a new one every year in the future.

    PS, Unless someone advises otherwise, I am going to cut off the center seed bearing stem at the base and see if that prolongs its production of good parsley, while, in the mean time, I find another one to plant.
     
  6. peekin

    peekin Well-Known Member

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    I have some Hamburg root parsley which sounds exactly like yours. It did almost nothing last summer (its first year) but began producing over the winter and is now making the big stalks you describe. Fortunately I saved some of the seed and am going to try planting it again.
     
  7. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    People are often surprised as just how big a parsley plant can get, espeiclly the Italian parsley! Yours is behaving quite normally. Those thicker stems are the seeding stems and they can get more than a metre long before the seeds ripen and start to fall. Let it happen, but collect some of the seed as well. From one plant you could get as much as a cupful of seeds, but parsley will self-seed, though they're slow to take off. I've got parsley coming up in the most astonishing places, including between the cracks of concrete pavers! And yes, it's a biennial, and this will happen every 2 years. The flavour of your parsley will be starting to deteriorate now that it's going to seed - the leaves can get quite bitter. You can try chopping out the seeding stems, but it won't stop Nature doing its thing for long. BTW, you might find it useful to know that even a younger plant can bolt to seed if it's transplanted. Parsley doesn't like to be moved.

    If anyone can spare me some Hamburg parsley seeds, I would be a grateful recipient! I'm in Australia, though.
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that that is a broad hint for me to visit Jung's tomorrow! I grew Hamburg parsley several years ago and should give it another go. Won't have any need to plant a full packet so............

    Martin
     
  9. peekin

    peekin Well-Known Member

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    culpepper, I'd be happy to send you some. Let me check to see how many I have left now. If not enough, I'll let one of the plants go to seed and send you some in a few months.

    pm me your address.
     
  10. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Thanks. 'Ask and you shall receive....!'
     
  11. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Bad news here is that this was the last year that Jung's is going to carry Hamburg parsley due to lack of sales. And, it looks like we're a few days late as the local outlet store is sold out and won't be getting any more. I do have some 2003 seed and will do a germination test to see if they are still viable. They take just less than forever to germinate so it may be awhile before I learn the results.

    Martin
     
  12. peekin

    peekin Well-Known Member

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    My seed is from 2003-2004, too.

    I could let mine go to seed and offer it up, if people are interested. From what culpepper says, there should be plenty of seeds.
     
  13. Real Hawkeye

    Real Hawkeye Well-Known Member

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    Could someone tell me what's so special about Hamburg parsley?
     
  14. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    There's three types of parsley. Curly-leafed, flat-leafed (italian), and Hamburg. The difference with Hamburg is that it forms a thick root. So it's actually grown mainly as a root vegetable, although I think you can still use the leaves.