My flat leaf parsley is not looking very healthy; the growth seems stunted, and the leaves are starting to turn a pale red. What should I do to revive it?

Parsley in a pot


Parsley forms a tap root; it looks like the soil in your pot isn't very deep, so the root might not be developing properly. You might be able to carefully lift the plant with root ball intact, put some more soil underneath it, then replace the plant. This would give it the root some more space to develop.

Another possibility -- since parsley is a relative of the carrot -- is that it's being attacked by Carrot fly. Prevention is your best defense here, see the Control section of the Wikipedia page.

  • Good tip, I've already done as you suggested. I noticed the soil was covered in a fine white power, could that be something to do with Carrot fly?
    – Dan
    Jul 24 '11 at 17:48
  • @Dan: I don't think so. If you search for information on Carrot flies, they say that the eggs are laid in the soil near the root, and the larvae burrow into the root. I often find that potting compost will form a white layer on top shortly after I first use it, which I attribute (though quite possibly wrongly) to fungi growing on the organic matter in the compost.
    – Niall C.
    Jul 24 '11 at 18:11

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