Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that receives partial shade. Space plants 12″ apart in average soil that is well-drained. Plant height 18-24″. Does well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts butterflies.
Italian parsley is a biennial, which means it will live through two growing seasons and then will need to be replaced. It is favorite food for the swallowtail caterpillars, but don’t worry they don’t eat much, nor do they damage the plant.
Parsley, Italian petroselenum crispum var. neapolitanum
Italian parsley is one of the most common and often used culinary herbs. Like Curled parsley, Italian parsley is a biennial, so it generally dies away after two years, in zones lower than 6. The flavor of these two varieties are very similar, though Italian is supposed to be slightly superior, and its leaves more tender for cooking. Italian parsley is often referred to as Italian flatleaf parsley because compared to other parsley’s that are available; this one has the flat leaf.
Parsley is best known in the kitchen as an essential element in many cooked dishes and soups and as a component in herbs fines, but it is also very pleasant in the garden, particularly because it attracts butterflies. It is also best to grow it, since fresh parsley is drastically better than dried parsley. The drying process causes the herb to lose not only the freshness but also much of the subtlety and pungency of its green, delicate flavor. Fresh parsley in a soup or casserole is excellent in combination with basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. It is particularly complementary to dishes that include tomatoes, such as marinara sauces. Parsley is also an essential ingredient in the classic Middle Eastern dish tabbouleh. This herb does not have an overwhelming flavor, so it is easy to experiment with it: add it to potatoes, fish dishes, stews, pestos, and pasta salads.
In the Jewish tradition of the Passover, parsley is dipped in salt water (representing tears) as a symbol of spring and new hope for freedom.