Growing Chervil in Pots from Seed – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing Chervil in pots

Chervil is very popular in cooking. Use the plant leaves fresh and add them after cooking. Chervil is also known as French parsley or garden Chervil is a well-known culinary herb of the carrot family and frequently found in French cooking. It is a slightly aniseed-flavored annual herb that looks a little like parsley, grows small, and has lovely petite white flowers at the end of the season. Chervil plant is a delicate annual herb, full of nutritional value. Chervil is an annual herb of the family Apiaceae. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How long does Chervil take to grow
  • Chervil plant care
  • Growing Chervil from seed
  • Tips for Growing Chervil plants
  • Growing Chervil plants in pots/containers
  • Is Chervil a perennial
  • how to harvest Chervil
  • growing Chervil indoors
  • Is Chervil easy to grow
  • What is the best way to Grow Chervil

A step by step guide to growing Chervil in pots 

Chervil varieties to grow

There are mainly two forms of Chervil. One has plain leaves and the other one has curly leaves. These forms do not have separate names, but you could notice the difference in seed packets.

Preferred soil pH range for growing Chervil

Chervil will grow in a wide pH level range between 5.0 (strongly acidic) and 8.2 (alkaline) with an ideal range between 5.5 and 7.0.

The soil in which Chervil grows should ideally have a pH level reading between 5.5 and 7.0. The Chervil plants will tolerate shade and struggle in full sun. And good water-retention is a must. Mix in plenty of sphagnum peat moss and coconut coir to assure that the soil won’t dry out. After sowing seed, keep the area misted or cover it with wet newspaper to assure the soil doesn’t dry out before seed germination.

Provide plenty of light for growing Chervil herb in pots

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Light for growing Chervil herb.
Light for growing Chervil herb.

Chervil does best when placed on a windowsill that receives a minimum of about 4 to 6 hours of indirect sun daily. Avoid placing it in a spot that receives direct sun as this can scorch the plant leaves. When grown outdoors plants choose light shade or partial shade to full sun locations.

If you need to supplement lighting indoors, hang T5 fluorescent lights 12-inches above the tops of plants. High-intensity discharge lamps give off too much heat and must be avoided unless adequate ventilation or air conditioning can keep plants cool.

Containers for growing Chervil

Chervil plant is great for growing in containers or large tubs. It is one of those herbs that does well growing in containers. In this case, it’s best to look for pots that keep the growing media damp instead of porous pots that encourage air movement through the root zone. Look for plastic or fiberglass pots as they will hold more water in the soil and they still need adequate drainage holes.

As a relative to carrots, Chervil plants have a long taproot to anchor themselves into the soil, so they do best in containers that are deeper than is required for most other herbs. Containers must be a minimum of 8-inches wide and 10 to 12-inches deep if possible.

Chervil plant spacing and propagation

Space Chervil plants about 12 inches apart. It is most commonly propagated by seed.  Chervil seed must be planted outdoors about 2 weeks before the last frost. The seeds need light to germinate and therefore be planted in uncovered 1/2-1 inch deep furrows outdoors.

Chervil seed germination period

Chervil seeds will germinate in soil between about 7 and 14 days. New seeds must be planted every few weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the season.

Temperature requirement for growing Chervil

Along with proper lighting and watering, the ambient temperature is also important when growing Chervil indoors. Chervil prefers temperatures below 21°C during the day and below 12°C at night. When daytime temperatures climb higher, the plants will slowly start to bolt.

As with all of the houseplants, avoid placing containers too close to leaky windows or anywhere else they are exposed to drafts from doors or register vents. Extreme temperature variations cause internal stresses for Chervil plants that hinder plant growth and the quality of edible plants.

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Seed sowing depth and growing media for growing Chervil

Chervil seeds will need to be soaked in warm water overnight before being planted for the best results. The seeds must be planted at about 1/4 inch of depth and with about 10 to 12 inches between each seed to allow adequate room for the plant to spread out as it grows. Later, thin the plants down to being spread 6 inches apart after they mature and begin to grow.

Due to Chervil’s affinity for consistently damp growing media, it’s very important to choose one that has a higher capacity for good water retention. Commercial potting soil mixes are a good option, particularly if you look for one that is specifically formulated for moisture-loving plants.

If you can’t find one specifically you can mix extra coconut coir or peat moss into the potting mixes to increase water retention. Be careful not to mix too much peat moss into the potting soil; it has a naturally low pH level and can make the growing medium too acidic for your Chervil.

Keep Chervil plants well-watered

Chervil must be kept consistently moist and it does not like hot and dry conditions. Avoid overwatering which can encourage root rot or containers to sit in standing water after watering. It’s essential to find the proper balance between enough water without giving plants too much.

Chervil growing tips for Pots garden

  • Because Chervil germinates well in cool weather conditions, it must be planted early and harvested before the heat of summer. It becomes bland, bitter, and tough if left to grow in hot weather. And its short growing season makes it ideal for multiple and late-season planting.
  • Plants will be ready for cutting 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. Chervil plant likes a good nitrogen-rich fertilizer; this helps them grow more leaves. Care must be taken not to over-fertilize. It needs a fairly rich soil which has good drainage but remains moist. It prefers full sun but also does well in partial shade. It is very suited to container growing; it will thrive indoors in pots or containers. It takes well to container growing.
  • Pots must be deep enough to accommodate the herb’s long taproot and the soil should be well-drained and moisture retentive. Pick it frequently and then replant after it flowers. Flowering Chervil can be an attractive addition to a collection of pots or mixed in with other flowering plants, including nasturtiums.
  • Chervil grows well indoors. Cooler places are best and keep it away from heat ducts and radiators. Put it in a window where it gets four hours of sunlight a day or keep it under lights. Don’t allow its soil to dry completely. Just a few leaves picked from overwinter indoor plants will make an omelet something special.

The procedure of Growing Chervil in pots from seed

The Chervil seeds can be sown in spring and fall or successive sowings every 2 to 3 weeks up to 6 weeks before the first frost. It is great for growing in containers or large tubs. The seedlings are too fragile to transplant, so they must be planted in their permanent location. Sow a group of 5 seeds just below the surface of the soil, each group about 12 inches apart, cover with soil and firm down. Keep Chervil watered at all times.  When the seedlings reach about 2 inches tall, thin to 4 inches between plants. The ideal location for Chervil is partial shade in summer and sun in the winter season, in a somewhat sheltered area, such as under a deciduous tree. It can be picked at any time of the year.

Most garden centers and big-box stores don’t sell the Chervil, so you will likely need to grow it from seed. To keep a crop coming all season long, sow the Chervil seeds every 3 or 4 weeks through spring and again throughout the fall.

It is best to use fresh Chervil seeds and older seeds from last year don’t germinate well. Sow the seeds directly into the soil, as Chervil does not transplant well as a seedling. Space a few seeds about 8 inches to a foot apart and thin to the hardiest looking ones when they start to grow. The seeds will germinate in 1-2 weeks and will reach maturity in 40 to 60 days.

Common problems for growing Chervil in pots

Aphids 

Look for colonies of greenfly on the soft shoot tips of plants and leaves. They suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew, and encouraging the growth of black sooty molds.

Remedy – Use thumb to squash aphid colonies or use biological control in the greenhouse.

Slugs and snails

These feed on the young seedlings and you’ll see the tell-tale trail of slime on the soil around the crop, as well as on the leaves.

Remedy – There are several ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape, and biocontrols.

Bolting

Plants flower and set seed prematurely.

Remedy – Unless growing for seed sow bolt-resistant plant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil and compost moist.

Caring for Chervil plants

Chervil plants reach 12 to 24 inches in height and caring for indoor Chervil plants should include frequent clipping of the new growth on the top of the plant. Clippings of the Chervil plant are best used fresh. Regular trimming of top leaves makes the plant bushier and attractive and slows the tendency of growing Chervil indoors to bolt. If bolting happens when growing Chervil indoors, start new plantings every few weeks to maintain a continuous supply. When Chervil plants seem to be going to seed quickly, decrease the sunlight, and move the container to a cooler location. Use fresh seed for the best seed germination rate when growing indoor Chervil plants. And locate indoor Chervil plants in the container so they can be shaded by the other herbs.

Harvesting of Chervil

Chervil plants are ready for harvesting early at about 8 to 10 weeks after sowing. They can be picked as needed once the plants are 2-3 inches tall. Harvest the plant leaves from the outside first as new growth starts in the center. This allows the plant to replenish itself in between harvests and leaves are cut off whenever they’re needed, during the entire vegetation phase. Best wait for a full month after seed sowing though.

Snip the plant leaves at the base of the stem because new shoots will appear. Collecting the leaves in the morning makes for a better result as regards flavor retention. Snip off leaves at the base with scissors or a sharp knife. Pinch out flower stalks to prolong the harvest period.

Commonly asked questions about growing Chervil in pots

Questions about growing Chervil.
Questions about growing Chervil.
Can you grow Chervil indoors?

Easy and quick to harvest, Chervil should be in every kitchen garden that can give the cool moist conditions it likes. It’s flat, lacy, celery-like leaves make it mainly attractive when grown in pots. With proper temperatures and lighting, Chervil can be grown indoors during winter.

Is Chervil an annual?

Chervil is cultivated as a salad plant. It can supply fresh leaves all year round from succession sowings, especially if given some protection in the winter season. Although a biennial, it is generally cultivated as an annual.

How long does Chervil take to germinate?

Chervil seeds will germinate in soil between 7 and 14 days. New seeds must be planted every few weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the season.

How tall does Chervil grow?

Chervil is a cool-season annual and grows anywhere between 12 and 24 inches tall.

Is Chervil the same as cilantro?

There are similar distinctions in Chervil while Cilantro plant, grown for its leaves, and Coriander, grown for its seeds, actually different forms of the same plant.

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