Growing Parsley in Water: Does It Really Work? How To Do It

Water can serve as a medium for rooting various herbs, as they can be propagated from cuttings in a jar filled with water. However, not all plants are able to thrive solely in a water environment. Eventually, these plants will require a solid medium for their roots to attach to and absorb necessary elements. Does this apply to parsley?

Can you grow parsley in water? 

Placing bunches of fresh parsley in water is only a temporary setup to keep the herb fresh longer. Parsley is an herb that can grow from a cutting and develop roots in water; however, the herb will need to be planted once roots form or be grown in a hydroponic setup complete with nutrients.

As you might expect, there’s more to growing parsley in water than just sticking the cutting in water and hoping for the best. Read more to find out the best conditions to grow the herb in a hydroponic system and how that is different from simply placing it or rooting it in water. 

Growing Parsley in Water – What To Know

Parsley is one of the easiest herbs to grow in water. The roots develop quickly in the right pH, and as long as the plant is getting indirect sunlight, it will continue to grow in water for a short time. Eventually, you’ll need to move it to a pot or transplant it to the garden.

How Long Can You Grow Parsley in Water?

You can grow parsley in water until it develops roots before you transplant it. Parsley does well in water at least in the first few weeks as it develops its root system. Since the plant is mostly annual, you’ll need to start new plants again once it dies.

Some varieties are biennial and will start flowering in the second year. Some people prefer to root parsley in water since it’s a faster way to grow the herb than starting it from seeds.

Will Parsley Grown in Water Form Roots?

Parsley will have no problem growing roots in water. In fact, it’s the recommended way to propagate the herb. Seeds have a poor germination rate and take a lot of time. A cutting, on the other hand, will grow roots within 2 to 4 weeks once you place it in water.

As long as the herb is getting enough light, the water pH is between neutral to slightly acidic, and the right fertilizer is used, it will happily grow and thrive, offering you plenty of aromatic leaves throughout the growing season.

Can You Grow Parsley in Water Indefinitely?

Parsley can grow in water but not indefinitely. Like other plants and herbs that need to be transplanted into the soil or other solid media, parsley will eventually need to be planted. Its roots will absorb the nutrients and moisture, and the plant will flower and develop seeds just like any other parsley species growing in the soil.

However, you’ll need to restart the plant once it reaches the end of its natural life. If you want to enjoy fresh parsley leaves all year round, start new plants from cuttings in water and then transplant them later.

How To Grow Parsley in Water

It doesn’t take much to grow parsley in water. All you need is a healthy stem from a mature parsley plant of the species you prefer, a jar, water, and a kit to check the pH of the water. Starting parsley from a cutting is preferred over starting the herb from seeds. Here’s how to do it in easy steps:

  1. Select a healthy parsley stem about 5 inches tall with at least three leaf segments at the top. 
  2. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle with sterilized scissors. 
  3. Remove the lower leaves keeping only the top three segments.
  4. Fill a medium jar (1-2 liters) with tap water at room temperature.
  5. Test the water with a pH meter (find it here) before you place the cutting, and make sure the pH levels are between 6.0 and 7.0.
  6. Drop the cutting in the jar, and make sure that the leaves are above the water level.
  7. Place the jar on a window sill that doesn’t get direct sunlight. 
  8. Change the water every 3 days to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
  9. After 2 to 4 weeks, a network of white roots will grow out of the cutting.
  10. Keep the temperature in the room between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

When To Transplant to Pots or Garden

You can transplant the parsley seedling into a pot or even your garden. Usually, this is best done as soon as the roots are a few inches long. Although parsley can continue to grow in the water for a short time, you should transplant it as soon as possible. This will reduce the transplant shock and allow the plant to adjust to the new medium rather quickly.

Growing Herbs in Water vs. Growing Herbs Hydroponically

Growing herbs in water is only a temporary way to keep them fresh longer or to develop roots for propagation, but hydroponics is a long-term option. In general, hydroponic systems are a lot more involved and complicated than simply sticking a cutting in a jar of water.

However, for the extra work involved, a hydroponic system offers many advantages. The herbs tend to grow faster hydroponically and offer more yield. It’s also easier to maintain the water levels, fertilizer, and pH levels as well as refresh the water in the system.

How To Grow Parsley Hydroponically

To grow parsley hydroponically, you will need a hydroponic system, such as the Kratky Method, in place and a healthy stem of fresh parsley. Here’s how to grow parsley hydroponically.

  1. Choose a mature parsley plant to get your cutting. The stem has to be healthy with lush green leaves and at least three leaves growing at the top.
  2. Cut the stem where it joins the stalk at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Remove the lower leaves, and drop the cutting in a jar full of water. Keep the jar on a window sill that doesn’t get direct sunlight.
  4. Change the water regularly until roots develop 2 to 4 weeks later.
  5. When the roots are 2 inches long, move the parsley seedling to the hydroponic system.
  6. Make sure the water pH is between 6.0 and 7.0
  7. The parsley should get plenty of light but no direct sun exposure.
  8. Start harvesting the leaves when the herb is 6 inches tall. Don’t harvest more than one-third of the leaves at one time.

Related Questions:

Can Rosemary Grow in Water?

You can start rosemary in water to develop roots. Remove the lower leaves on the cutting and keep the top 3 leaves. Change the water regularly. When the roots are 2 to 3 inches long, transplant the seedling to the pot, or plant it in the garden. 

Can You Grow Basil in Water?

Basil is another herb that can easily root in water. However, like other herbs, it needs to be transplanted into soil to continue to grow normally.

How Long Will Herbs Last in Water?

If you’re keeping an herb in water to develop roots, then transplant them as soon as the roots are a couple of inches long. If you’re keeping the herbs in water to keep them fresh, then a couple of weeks is the maximum amount of time for many herbs.


Parsley can grow in water and develop roots, but if you want to keep it growing and harvest fresh leaves from the herb, you’ll need to transplant it in a pot. You can also grow it in a hydroponic system.