Most herbs are easy to grow in well-drained soil and bright light and Parsley is no exception. Parsley is famous for being easy to grow, rarely annoying, and usually quite challenging in the weed world. Growing Parsley is a little bit difficult for beginners. But, once you know some tricks, you’ll get much better success.
Regardless of its history, some aspects that all gardeners encounter with Parsley are pests and diseases. Surprisingly, many can cause severe damage and even destroy entire crops. So, you should know common Parsley problems, pests, and diseases and how to cure them safely and naturally. Let’s check out 17 common Parsley plant problems below.
Common Parsley plant problems
Drooping Parsley is a sign of extreme heat, drought, saturated soil, lack of regular pruning, excessive fertilizer, or Parsley wilt due to sudden contrast when growing indoors.
Lack of regular pruning
If you don’t prune the Parsley regularly, it can grow longer and droop later.
Solution – During spring and summer, you may need to prune your Parsley as frequently as once every three weeks to maintain a good shape and prevent it from drooping. Once the Parsley’s height exceeds 8 inches, it’s a good time to prune it out to stop bending.
The main cause of a drooping Parsley plant is high nitrogen fertilizer or soil modifications such as chicken manure (especially high in nitrogen).
Solution – Too much nitrogen can change the taste and aroma of Parsley, so trimming back any overbending growth and Parsley should grow back in 2 or 3 weeks in favourable conditions.
Your Parsley plant may bend as a sign of stress due to a transplant shock as there is a contrast in conditions such as light, soil, water frequency, and temperature in which it has been extended in the conditions in which it has been transplanted.
Solution – To reduce the shock of the transplant and limit the amount that makes you droop or wilt, water the Parsley every 2 to 3 days to ensure that the soil is permanently moist so that the roots can draw the water quickly as they lose it through their leaves. Parsley should adjust to its new surroundings and recover from its bending shape in about a week as long as you are growing Parsley in the right conditions.
Due to drought
Parsley needs moist but well-drained soil and quickly droops due to drought and dry soil.
Solution – To prevent Parsley from drooping due to drought, water your Parsley frequently as needed to keep the soil moist. In the summer heat, potted Parsley should be watered once every 2 or 3 days and perhaps in unusually high temperatures daily.
In case you missed it: Best Fertilizer for Parsley: Organic, Homemade, Liquid, NPK, and Compost Manure
Parsley seeds do not germinate
When seeds fail to grow, it can be caused by a few things: old seeds that are not viable, the soil is very wet or dry, and it is very hot or cold.
Solution – Ensure the soil temperature is between 10 to 30°C and is not soggy or dry. Also, remember that they grow slowly, so you may need to give them more time.
Long, leggy Parsley seedlings
If your Parsley seedlings are getting longer and leggy, or it looks like they’re reaching the window, it means they’re not getting enough light.
Solution – So, if you start to see leggy seedlings, add a growing light right away. If it is tall, prune them.
Parsley seedlings falling over
If your seedlings fall over and the base dies, it’s called damping-off, and the use of dirty equipment causes it. Unfortunately, you can do nothing to save those who have already fallen.
Solution – You can only ensure that you clean and sterilize flats and trays properly before reusing them.
Parsley turning yellow
Parsley leaves can turn yellow due to root rot, crown rot due to saturated soil, or as a sign of stress due to dehydration. However, Parsley leaves can also turn yellow due to an attack by aphids or spider mites.
Root rot and fungal disease
The Parsley leaves turn yellow or brown with drooping or wilting stems. The most common reason Parsley is yellow is that the ground is very moist due to the soggy ground above the water, or the Parsley is planted in a pot with no drainage holes at the base.
Solution – Parsley needs equally moist soil, but roots do not like to sit in stagnant water. Using good fertilizer while preparing soil or potting mix while planting Parsley is important. Compost helps maintain moisture, yet it has a perforated structure that allows excess water to be removed from the roots, which provides the best moisture balance for Parsley and helps in preventing fungal disease.
Parsley turns yellow due to drought
Overwater and saturated soil are among the most common causes of yellowing. Water and permanent dry soil can also cause yellow leaves. If the soil is too sandy or stony without any organic matter, the soil can dry very quickly, so the leaves turn yellow as a sign of stress.
Solution – The key to reviving yellow Parsley in dry soil is to ensure that the soil is permanently moist. In most cases watering Parsley once every three days is enough to ensure a healthy plant. Plant Parsley with lots of fertilizer and water regularly in a good-sized pot or container, and your yellow Parsley can start recovering from dehydration in the next few days.
Aphids and spider mites
Aphids are small green insects that affect a variety of plants in most gardens and are usually controlled by predatory insects. You can see small yellow spots on your Parsley leaves because of the spider mite attack.
Solution – Prune out the stem and leaves affected by the aphids and monitor the plant to ensure it is infection-free. Spider mites attack unhealthy plants due to dehydration, low-nutrient soil, too much fertilizer, or enough sunlight. Prune any affected leaves and use organic insecticidal soap to spray them only, if necessary, at the leaves in the morning.
Lack of sun and poor soil
Another possible (and easily solved) problem that can lead to yellow Parsley is too much shade or poor soil with nutrient deficits. If Parsley is growing in nutritional deficiency and perhaps sandy soil, the plant does not necessarily grow as much as it should, and some of the Parsley leaves may be yellow due to a lack of nitrogen.
Solution – Adjust the location of your Parsley until you find the right balance of sun and shade for growing Parsley. This problem can be easily avoided by preparing the soil well before planting. Amend the plantation area with lots of compost for nutrients and provide the best moisture balance while maintaining a well-drained porous structure.
Cold can affect its natural growth cycle, resulting in premature bolting and flowers appearing in the first summer, rather than the plant having an overwinter and sending a stalk of flowers next season.
Solution – To avoid this problem, start the Parsley indoors and move it out after the cold risk is over, or wait for the seed to be planted outside until there is any possibility of frost.
In case you missed it: Growing Parsley Hydroponically – Nutrients
Summer heat will trigger Parsley to bolt; if summer is too hot, the plant will likely produce flowers before normal. Pinching flower buds as they appear can help prolong the growing season and give you leaves for harvesting for several more weeks.
Solution – Giving your Parsley some afternoon shade can help prevent it from bolting too soon.
To increase harvesting time for Parsley, cut the outer leaves from the plant as they mature, leaving the inner leaves to grow. Leaves that live too long on the plant are degraded and become unusable.
Solution – Once it’s bolted, most people find Parsley inedible, so gardeners often pull plants and replace them after the first year.
Parsley has white tips
Parsley has white leaf tips due to an environmental problem. It could be excessive wind or sun exposure that damages plant cells. Dehydration is another reason for Parsley having white leaf tips. White tips can also tell that it needs more nutrition, significantly if Parsley is grown in a pot.
Solution – Move the plant to a more sheltered area and remove the damaged leaves. Be sure to give an inch of water to your plant every week, depending on the weather conditions. Suppose the plant is in the ground, side-dress, and works in some organic fertilizer. If it is in the pot, fertilize with basic soluble food or fish/kelp emulsion.
Parsley is dying
There are many reasons for this which can cause a hard herb like Parsley to die, including over and underwater, too much or very little sunlight, environment, pesky insects, or terrible rot/fungi.
Your Parsley may be dry, bent, and stressed due to dehydration. The stems may appear scattered or delicate. The leaves can be yellow or relatively light in colour.
Solution – Lift your pot and feel its weight before watering. If the pot feels lighter, it could be time to water it.
If water can’t come from under your pot or container, it sits in your soil and stagnates, often producing a stinking smell.
Solution – There is always the option to carefully hole in the base of your pots to ensure that the air can reach your Parsley roots and drain excess water. Place a dish under your pot to catch this water; it also gives your soil the chance to drink it back after needed.
Excessive sun exposure
Too much sun can damage your plant, especially in the summer heat when powerful rays can lighten and wilt your leaves and stems. This is because your Parsley is evaporating more water than absorbing it.
Solution – Keep the Parsley in the proper shade in the hottest parts of the day.
Yellow or spotted leaves were the first indication of root rot.
Solution – Cutting off unwanted fronds and their discoloured stem will help your poor Parsley recover, allowing fewer leaves and stem roots to grow again at a faster pace. Finally, dispose of the affected soil and wash any pot thoroughly to kill all the rot remains. Better yet, use a fresh pot with proper drainage below.
Parsley can be affected by carrot flies, spider mites, and swallowtail butterflies.
Solution – Regular trimming of yellow, damaged leaves can protect healthy ones by removing the clingy bugs before inviting them to fresh quality leaves. Spraying leaves with water and not only dozing roots and crowns makes your plant an unfavourable place to live for spider mites, and gently cleaning the dusty leaves once a week with a moist cloth will keep the insects away.
Parsley leaves turning red
Lack of phosphorus can lead to the redness of Parsley leaves. Improper water, pest and disease attacks, and environmental stress are the causes of disruption in phosphorus supply.
In case you missed it: Growing Parsley from Cuttings, Seeds, Planting, Care
Lack of phosphorus
Lack of phosphorus is the main cause of red leaves in Parsley. Parsley thrives well in organic-rich soil.
Solution – You need to test the soil, then consider applying phosphorus if needed. High phosphorus intake can damage your Parsley. If you notice a lack of phosphorus in the soil, you need to feed phosphorus to your Parsley. Overwater
Excessive water disrupts normal root function. Therefore, it cannot uptake the nutrients necessary for the general development of Parsley.
Solution – Let the plant pot dry for a few days to fix the overwatered Parsley. If you find any signs of root rot, cut off the affected part. Then spray the charcoal and make the root disinfect.
Compact soil reduces the durability of the air. If your parsley doesn’t get enough water and oxygen in its root system. Roots suffocate without obtaining the necessary oxygen. Hence, the leaves will turn red, yellow, or brown due to a lack of nutrients.
Solution – Do not loosen the soil deeply; try not to damage the roots near the surface. Continuous loosening of soil in the pot destroys the compacting in the upper soil. As a result, the upper layers of soil become breathable.
If there is no water, the root of the plant will not be able to get nutrients from the soil.
Solution – Make sure there is no stagnant water in the pot. Stagnant water is not good for Parsley. You should use fixed tap water or filtered water for irrigation. Parsley will need to be watered more often in summer than at other times. Reduce the frequency of water in winter.
Like other plants, Parsley needs light, but deep direct sunlight, Parsley leaves turn red and yellow. You will observe it in old leaves in spring.
Solution – In this case, you should place the Parsley pot in a shady place. Your Parsley gets water more often on hot sunny days.
Alternaria leaf blight
Brown-black necrotic lesions on leaves that can contain chlorotic margins. Lesions spread and are mixed, causing the death of leaves and petioles. The disease is spread mainly by planting infected seeds.
Solution – Plant only pathogen-free seeds. Apply suitable foliar fungicides. If soil-produced fungi rotate crops into umbelliferous varieties over 2 to 4 years.
Cercospora leaf blight
Small, necrotic flecks on leaves that produce chlorotic halo spread into tan brown necrotic spots. The disease can be introduced through infected seeds and spread by splashes of air or water.
Solution – Plant only pathogen-free seeds, and rotate crops. Plough crop debris after harvesting. Apply proper fungicides spray.
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Powdery growth at leaves, stalks, and petioles. Leaves are becoming chlorotic; severe infection can cause flowers to be distorted.
Solution- Plants tolerant types. Avoid additional fertilization, and protective fungicides applications provide adequate protection. You can use the sulfur application in infections that occur early in the season.
Light green colourless lesions on leaves that become chlorotic. Yellow orange-colored pustules under leaves.
Solution – Plant in well-drained soil to reduce plant moisture; apply proper systemic fungicides.
These people are very common in most gardens. The good thing is that they are very easy to manage.
Solution –To take care of aphids, remove them by hand. If there are so many of them, prune out the parts of the plant they are paying the most attention to and keep an eye on the plant. Repeat this process as needed, and you will be set.
These green/brown caterpillar species usually grow up to a length of 1 to 2 inches, and these caterpillars spend their days hiding in the soil base on Parsley plants and come out only to feed during the night hours.
Solution – Ladybugs, wasps, spiders, and a wide array of parasitic organisms feed and manage armyworm populations. Hand-removing the caterpillar during the evening or morning is the easiest way to eliminate them. Throw them in a bucket of hot water.
Growing up to about two inches in length, the caterpillar consumes the leaves of growing plants with black stripes and yellow dots.
Solution – Although Parsley worms are considered insects in their caterpillar phase, they are beneficial in the long run. Adult butterflies are not only beautiful, but they will also help pollinate your garden flowers. So, if you find Parsley worms, desert them in one or two plants.
Carrot root fly
These pests use root matter and are generally the main cause of stunted Parsley growth.
Solution– Mix hydrogen peroxide with water. Apply the mixture around the Parsley plants. The only oxygen molecule released in reaction will kill insects in contact. Apply twice weekly.
In case you missed it: Growing Coriander In Greenhouse – Polyhouse In India
Learning the art of herbal gardening is all about trial and improvement; many variables can stand in your way of developing a wonderfully flavoured and healthy Parsley plant. But don’t be afraid; once you master the basics of growing Parsley, and most importantly, you can find the first signs of disease in your plant, it’s easy to deal with problems before killing off your shoots entirely. Well prepared, getting all the essential nutrients, Parsley rarely gets sick. Follow the steps carefully and implement the solution described in this article.
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