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Growing Parsley Hydroponically – Nutrients

Growing Parsley Hydroponically

Hello there, would you like to grow Parsley without soil? Well, we can help you here with growing Parsley hydroponically. Parsley herb is a leafy plant in the Apiaceae family, and its leaves are widely used in cooking, either cooked or raw. It is scientifically called Petroselinum crispum. The plant leaves are bright green, which is used as spices in food preparation. Hydroponics growing plants offer greater benefits compared to growing herbs in conventional soil. Without soil, roots receive their nutrient solution immediately, and herbs remain small and efficient so plants can convert energy into their top growth. It’s easy and you will have fresh, flavorful herbs throughout the year. In this article we also covered the below topics about Parsley;

  • Requirements for growing hydroponic herbs or growing parsley hydroponically
  • What conditions does Parsley like
  • How quickly does Parsley grow
  • Best conditions for growing Parsley hydroponically
  • Benefits of growing Parsley hydroponically
  • Problems in growing Parsley hydroponically

Now, let us get into complete information of growing Parsley hydroponically.

A Step by Step Guide to Growing Parsley Hydroponically

Guide to Growing Parsley Hydroponically
Guide to Growing Parsley Hydroponically (image credit: pixabay)

Hydroponics gardening is an ideal growing method for producing culinary and medicinal herbs.  Not only do hydroponic herbs grow faster, but also they have significantly more flavor and aroma than herbs grown in soil. It is a known fact that herbs grown hydroponically have 20-40% more aromatic oils than field grown. Thus, a small hydroponic herb garden can provide a continuous harvest of gourmet-quality produce in a relatively small space.

Parsley is a Mediterranean native used worldwide both as a garnish and as a popular addition to many savory dishes. Several varieties of Parsley exist; from the more bitter and frilly garnish Parsley to the flavorful and tender large-leaf varieties. Parsley’s tolerance of wide temperature level and EC ranges make it an easy crop for farmers to add into a crop set. Large leaf varieties such as Italian flat-leaf grow abundantly in hydroponics (or aquaponics), and farmers using Zip Grow Towers should plan on harvesting a lot of weight from the large plants, which grow about 12–18 inches from the face of the Tower or media. Plants grown in hydroponic gardening grow 30% to 50% faster than those grown in soil. Plants grow faster in hydroponic systems because they receive an ideal amount of nutrients and have less environmentally induced stress (like weather and pests). Some species are faster than others.

Parsley has two main groups such as curly leaf and Italian (flat-leaf). Because of its decorative appearance, the curly-leaf is the variety chosen for garnishment. Italian Parsley is the plant variety preferred by gardeners and it is one of the most popular herbs in the culinary arts. Parsley plant makes a fantastic choice for first-time hydroponic herb gardeners.

‘Banquet’ – This is standard in the finely curled Parsley class.

Plain Italian Dark Green – Standard plain leaf variety for flavoring and it has bright green leaves and excellent flavor,

‘Argon’ – An improved plain leaf type and it has an upright growth habit.

Advantages of Growing Parsley Hydroponically

Hydroponically grown herbs have a 20-40% greater amount of aromatic oils when compared to herbs grown in conventional fields. This ensures that herbs are of better quality and have a more robust flavor versus herbs grown in soil.

Less Land is needed – Hydroponics growing plants is required less land compared to traditional farming methods. Herb plants grown in soil need to spread their roots to find water and all the nutrients they need to survive. This means they should be planted a certain distance apart from each other.

In hydroponic gardening, roots don’t need to spread because water and nutrients are delivered right to them. As a result, hydroponics can grow more plants in the same amount of space as soil-based systems.

Less Water is Used – Water consumption is something that we all think about when we are growing crops. Plants need to be constantly hydrated, and they will easily dry out if there isn’t sufficient watering. The problem with soil is that once the water is applied, it is absorbed by the soil, and the excess sinks past the plant roots. So, we have to continually replenish the supply of water to keep plants hydrated and alive.

With hydroponics gardening, there is a central nutrient reservoir, and the water in this water bank is either circulated or fed directly to the plants. There is some evaporation loss, but much of the water is retained for days and weeks. Hydroponics is maintained by adding nutrients to the water and there is no need to continuously pump new water into the system. Hydroponic growing uses only 10% of the water needed to grow plants in traditional soil.

Fewer Chemicals – While hydroponic garden doesn’t eradicate pest issues, it does lower the potential of this happening, resulting in less need for pesticides and herbicides. A hydroponic garden is highly controlled so there’s no risk of weeds taking over your garden. As a result, there’s no need for herbicides. Also, because hydroponic systems are often indoors, pests can’t infiltrate them as easily, so pesticides aren’t necessary.

Higher Yields – Because more plants can be grown in small spaces with the hydroponic garden than soil farming, hydroponic systems yield more per square foot. Also, plants are healthier and grow faster, generating more produce faster. Indoor conditions allow for year-round growing, regardless of season, so plants’ that continue to produce after the initial harvest can be harvested more times.

Nutrient Control – Hydroponic feed plants a nutrient solution mixed with water, giving the farmer better control over what nutrients their crops soak up. Cultivar grown in soil need the help of fertilizers to survive. But in hydroponics gardening, the plants are already receiving all the help they need and the right amount of it.

Difference between Parsley and Cilantro

Compared to Parsley, cilantro plant leaves tend to be more delicate looking. The serrations on cilantro leaves are rounded and lacy looking, while Parsley has pointy serrations. Parsley is typically a slightly darker green.

Both cilantro and Parsley plants are green herbs with long stalks and flat leaves. The best method to distinguish cilantro from Parsley is through the leaf’s shape. Cilantro plant leaves are more rounded while Parsley’s leaves are more pointed.

The easiest method to distinguish cilantro vs Parsley is through their taste and smell because that’s where the two differ the most. Parsley has a pretty mild taste so you may not be able to identify it based on these qualities alone. But if you’re trying to decide between cilantro and Parsley, you’ll be able to tell because cilantro has a very distinct, almost metallic scent and taste.

Ideal conditions for Growing Parsley Hydroponically

  • EC – 0.8–1.8
  • pH level –  5.5–6.0
  • Temperature – 60–75ºF; very cold hardy
  • cF – 560-1260
  • PPM –  8-18    

Some important considerations for growing hydroponic herbs include light, nutrients, temperature, humidity, and pH level. Once these factors are controlled, the hydroponics garden provides a less time-consuming and superior growing medium versus conventional soil.

While propagating herbs from cuttings is a viable option, starting herbs from seed is the most popular method for growing hydroponic herbs. Then, moistened propagation cubes work well for seedlings, as does a conventional soil mix. Germination takes 1-3 weeks. Once the Parsley seeds are of adequate size and are displaying their true leaves, the plants can be transported to a hydroponic system. In these cases, a plant from a cutting will likely be more successful than growing from seed.

In case if you miss this: Growing Organic Spinach At Home.

Ideal conditions for Growing Parsley Hydroponically
Ideal conditions for Growing Parsley Hydroponically (pic source: pixabay)

Herbs need 6 hours of bright, unobstructed sunlight per day. A south-facing window can provide adequate lighting for herbs and rotating the plant to ensure all sides receive sufficient coverage is advisable. Since many plants including herbs thrive on up to 10 to 12 hours of sunlight per day, grow lights are recommended for extra supplementation, especially if plants are not receiving the minimum natural sunlight to remain healthy. Though standard fluorescent lamps can be sufficient, their yield is less effective compared to modern LED grow lights. High-intensity discharge lights are effective especially metal halide, which is superior for growing leafy herbs. Since grow lights with blue spectrum lighting encourage lush, bushy growth in several varieties of herbs, grow lights with blue spectrum capability may be the best choice to grow your hydroponic herbs.

Different Hydroponic Systems for Herbs

There are many hydroponic systems required for herb production. The two hydroponic systems that should be considered first are the nutrient film technique (NFT) and water or flow culture.

The NFT system is a simple recirculating hydroponic system. The size of the nutrient solution tank will mainly depend on the number of troughs that will be irrigated. From the tank, the nutrient solution is pumped up and delivered to troughs at the rate of about ¼ gallon per minute. The nutrient solution flows down the trough, creating a thin flow or film of solution bathing roots. Also, the top of the troughs is usually covered to block out the sun and impede algae growth. After reaching the end of the trough, the water is then collected and then drained back into the nutrient solution tank.

One advantage of this system is that the constantly circulating water will have adequate dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution is a key factor for hydroponic production. Though, one of the drawbacks of using the NFT system is that if a pump fails and nutrient solution ceases to be provided to plants, problems may not be far off.

Another hydroponic system for herb production is called raceway, raft, or floating culture. This system consists of a pool of water, ranging from 6 to 12 inches deep that is filled with nutrient solution. The pool or raceway can be constructed with about 2-by-12-inch board and a vinyl liner. Smaller, commercially built units may be purchased. Polystyrene boards about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick are floated on top of the nutrient solution and plants are placed in holes so that the root system comes in contact with the nutrient solution.

One challenge with this system is that without the circulating water, dissolved oxygen levels can decrease to sub-optimal levels and need aeration to maintain oxygen levels. Though, one of the biggest benefits of this system is that plants are growing in the nutrient solution and are not dependent on pumps to provide water. In the case of a power outage, the plant will be fine until the power is restored.

Process of Planting Parsley Hydroponically

If you want to go into hydroponics herb planting, you will want to know how to hydroponically grow Parsley. With a hydroponics planting, the nutrients are dissolved in water. Then, there is no soil involved and another growing medium will give the plants nutrients, oxygen, and water. The solutions will drip feed each plant and drains regularly, giving plants exactly the right amounts of each thing they need to survive and thrive better than other nutrients.

Initial Planting – Before you can grow Parsley hydroponically, you do have to initially plant the seeds. Parsley seeds are reluctant to germinate unless they have moisture exposure for 12 hours. A way to do this is to allow the seeds to stay in warm water that is changed, and making sure that a growth inhibitor will leak out of the Parsley seeds. After that, soak rock wool grow cubes overnight as well. These must be planted with the seeds, or the seeds planted in them to help germination. Then, put the rock wool grow cubes mixed in a flat, shallow box. After that, plant the seeds in the box about an inch apart, making sure that there are 2 to 3 in each rock wool cube. Sprinkle a thin layer of moist soil over them approximately 0.25 inches high. Keep the soil temperature warm at about 70°F. Water them often. The sprouts must begin to appear about 2 weeks after the planting. Once the leaves had appeared, you must place a fluorescent light about 2-inches above the plants to give the plants the nutrients that they need to survive.

Cleaning the Plants – With some hydroponics planters and you will have to remove the soil from each plant to be secured on the planter. If this is the case with your planter, you will want to carefully remove each sprout from the rock wool grow cubes and clean them with water. Place them carefully in the spaces created for the sprouts, making sure that there is 2 to 3-inches between each plant

Before Transplanting – Before you being the transplanting process, you should prepare your hydroponics herb garden. Set up the hydroponics container and then fill it with hydroponics fluid. Depending on the type of hydroponics planter you have purchased, there can be some things you will have to do to get it ready. Make sure that you follow the user’s manual that came with your planter to prepare and test it.

Parsley plant comes as an affordable seed and germinates within 3 to 4 weeks with good moisture. Seedlings are ready to transplant a few weeks later when they display their true leaves, and the first harvest happens 5 to 6 weeks after that.

Pests and Diseases Control in Growing Parsley Hydroponically

The Parsley plant is generally healthy. Pests on Parsley plants are rare, but the grower might see aphids or thrips. But some plants are hit by viral and fungal diseases, worms, aphids, and nematodes. Good husbandry eliminates fungal diseases since they frequently strike in overly wet conditions. A lot of health issues are avoided when you gather cuttings and seeds from plants without leaf discoloration, spots, or bugs. Parsley grown indoors is also safer from pests. As soon as you notice disease or pests, you can destroy the Parsley or treat it with a commercial product designed to help with the problem.

When and How to Harvest Parsley in Hydroponics

Usually, Parsley can be harvested multiple times similar to chives. Use shears or a harvesting knife to cut the crop down to 2 to 3 inches from the face of the Tower or the media, and keep the rest of the plant in the system to regrow. Another harvest can be taken about 3 weeks later and then starting a new cycle for Parsley after the second harvest. Parsley yields can be very high in healthy hydroponic systems one 5-ft Zip Grow Tower can yield 3-4 pounds each harvest.

Parsley can be cut any time after it has become large enough and leaves can be used fresh or dried. Fresh Parsley is best stored after washing the leaves, drip drying, and then placing them in a plastic bag and then stored in the refrigerator.


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