I had both cilantro and parsley growing in this container. Much time has passed, and now I have no idea what I'm looking at!

click on the image for a larger version

I want to grow just parsley in this pot now- should I rip out what I've got here and start fresh with a transplant or seeds? Or is this something dormant that's going to release seeds and start fresh?


3 Answers 3


It is very difficult to see, since the photo is a bit blurry, but this looks to me like parsley. If an ID is important to you at this point, you can check the seeds. Parsley seeds are small and kind of football-shaped. Cilantro seeds are a bit larger and completely round.

Either way, you will definitely need to start with a new plant. Once parsley and cilantro are done flowering and seeding, they die.

If you want to reseed the pot, you can wait just a little bit longer until the seed heads on this plant are brown. You can then harvest the seeds, refill the pot with fresh soil, and plant the seeds. Obviously, this will be the least expensive option, but it will take quite awhile before you have a plant you can harvest from.

If you want parsley much quicker, you can pull this now, purchase a parsley plant and refill the pot right away.

One thing you might way to consider...if you have space for 2 pots of parsley, you could set up a system where you have continuous parsley without purchasing new plants. Since parsley are biennials, you can harvest leaves from them for one year. The second year they will go to seed like this one has. If you plant one pot with seeds this year and one pot with a purchased plant, you should have one pot that you can harvest from and one pot that is going to seed every year.

  • By the way - on second look, I'm thinking you might still have both parsley and cilantro in the pot. The seed heads that are in the middle of the photo definitely look like parsley seeds to me. The seeds near the top are quite blurry, but they look larger and rounder. I think they may be cilantro seeds.
    – michelle
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:57

Answer to part one of your question: Use the sniff test. Cilantro and parsley each have a distinct smell. You may want to take a bit and crush it a bit to release more aroma.

  • As it happens often the photo was in fact a hires picture scaled to fit in the post, I made it clickable so that you can see it in full-resolution.
    – Patrick B.
    Jul 21, 2015 at 12:25

Answer to part two:
Once either parsley or coriander/chilantro has gone to seed there is no real further kitchen use "in it". Unless you plan to harvest coriander seeds, of ourse, but the "green bits" are done. Cilantro is an annual, parsley a biennial plant, once they've developed seeds, the plant dies.

So no matter what the sniff test says with regard to ID (if I had to guess I'd say "parsley", but the picture isn't terribly sharp), it's time to rip out what you have and start over, either with seeds or bought seedlings/plants. I suggest using fresh potting soil as well.

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