Bolted Parsley Plant: What To Do When Parsley Flowers?

The first thing to remember is that it’s not just the flower that will fall off, but the whole plant! A bolt of parsley may or may not cause damage, depending on how much force was used to pierce through the leaves and stem. If there are no roots at all in your garden, then you won’t have any problems. However, if you have other types of roots (such as rhizomes) then bolts could result in severe damage.

If the bolt is small and doesn’t touch anything else, then simply pull it out by hand. If the bolt is large and touches something else, such as another plant or a fence post, then you’ll need to cut away part of the bolt so that it falls off without causing further damage.

To get the most out of your bolting parsley, you can use the seeds. They are still healthy and nutritious and can be used in many different ways.

You can eat them raw, like sunflower seeds. You can also dry them out and then grind them into a powder to use as a thickener or even as a main ingredient in breads or other baked goods.

You can also try sprouting the seeds for a healthy snack that is high in antioxidants. Just place a few seeds (at least half of them) in a jar or vase with some water and wait for them to sprout.

A few days later, you can plant the sprouts in soil to grow more parsley plants.

What To Do When Herbs Bolt?

It’s important that you know what to do when herbs bolt because your other plants might also bolt when exposed to too much sun, heat, or wind. Most plants tend to bolt after they bloom, so it’s important that you harvest them before that happens. The bolting process can take anywhere from less than a week to a month or more, so it’s best to check on your plants every other day.

The first thing you should do when your plants bolt is to harvest all of the leaves. You can do this by clipping the leaves with scissors or by using your hands.

If the stem snaps easily then you should cut it off with scissors because doing so will prevent the plant from wasting any more energy on that leaf.

Next, you should check the roots. If they are small and soft then you should harvest them as well.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts -

Again, if the roots are still firm or difficult to remove then don’t bother because it’s a waste of energy for the plant. In fact, it’s a good idea not to water your plants at all because they will be able to focus all of their energy on the bolts instead.

Always remember to harvest your plants before the blooms fall off or else they will turn into seeds and no longer be useful for anything.

When Do Herbs Bolt?

Herbs typically bolt when exposed to extreme heat, such as sunlight, for an extended period of time. This can be caused by growing them in the wrong area, such as a location that gets full sun all day long. It can also be caused by growing them from seeds that are several years old.

Herbs typically begin bolting once they bloom. While it’s best to harvest them before this happens, many gardeners prefer to let this process happen naturally so that they can get seeds for the next growing season.

What Is the Bolt?

The bolt is the part of the plant that grows after it blooms. It’s not the seed because this part has not yet developed when you harvest your herbs. The bolt can be made up of flowers, leaves, or stems and they can be green, yellow, red, blue, purple, or anything in between. They can also be large or small, which means that the leaves, flowers, or stems might also be large or small.

The bolt will eventually die and fall off the stem, leaving you with a dead plant that you can no longer use. This is why it’s important to harvest your herbs before they bloom.

How To Fix Bolting Herbs

Don’t expose your herbs to too much sunlight, especially direct sunlight. This creates a lot of heat and can cause bolting to occur much faster than normal.

If you don’t have any other choice, then make sure you water your plants often so that they don’t overheat.

Never let the soil dry out because this will cause the herbs to overproduce seeds in an attempt to reproduce before they die.

When Is Bolting Normal?

Bolting is a natural process that occurs in many plants, especially after they bloom. If it’s something that you don’t want to harvest or eat then this can be a great thing because it forces the plant to reproduce quickly so that it can pass on its genes before it dies.

Mint is a great example of this. If you grow it in a pot then it will most likely bloom.

Once this happens it will bolt quickly and the leaves will turn blue before they die. While the seeds can still be used, most people don’t want to eat them because they are not as enjoyable as fresh leaves.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts at

Bolting is not always a bad thing! It can actually be beneficial because it forces the plant to do what it’s naturally supposed to do.

Herbs That Bolt

The best herbs to grow are the ones that will bolt in hot weather, such as:

Anise – This herb has a sweet licorice taste and can reach up to 5 feet in height. It blooms in bright yellow flowers that are shaped like stars.

Basil – This is one of the most popular culinary herbs due to its amazing scent and flavor. The flowers are small and white with purple centers.

Chamomile – This is an annual flower that is used to make tea. It has a very soothing scent and can be used to help relieve stomach pains.

Dill – This herb has feathery leaves with yellow flowers that usually bloom in the summer. It’s also one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed.

Fennel – Fennel has light green foliage with yellow flowers that bloom from tall stems. It has a sweet licorice taste that is used in many Italian dishes.

Lavender – This herb is very fragrant and is known for its anti-bacterial properties. It’s popular for use in sachets and oils and can reach up to 4 feet in height.

Marjoram – This herb has small leaves with spikes on them that resemble oregano. The flowers are white with a purple center and have a strong scent.

Mint – This is one of the most popular culinary herbs. It spreads quickly, has a sweet smell, and is often used to help freshen breath.

Oregano – This herb has small leaves with a spike on them. It has a strong scent but not quite as strong as marjoram.

The flowers bloom in white with a purple center.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts on

Parsley – This herb has flat leafs that are used to garnish food. It has a mild flavor and is also used in many culinary dishes.

Rosemary – This herb has needle-like leaves and is known for improving memory. It has a piney scent and blooms in yellow flowers shaped like umbrellas.

Sage – This herb has a bitter and pungent taste and is often used in meat dishes. It blooms in white flowers that are shaped like stars.

Tarragon – This is one of the hardest herbs to grow, but it has a unique taste that enhances almost any food. The flowers bloom in small pink bundles.

Thyme – This herb is very popular in cooking due to its amazing scent and flavor. It has pink flowers that grow on short stems.

Keep It Fresh!

Now that you know what the best herbs are for culinary purposes, you’ll need to know how to keep them fresh. Most herbs are best if used within two or three weeks of being harvested.

Some can last up to a month if they are kept in the fridge inside of a plastic bag with a slightly damp towel.

Once an herb starts to go limp then it should be thrown away or used immediately because it won’t last long. For example, if you buy a bunch of basil and it starts to go bad within a week then you probably got a bad batch and should get your money back.

Flowers are even more fragile than the leaves so they won’t last long unless they are frozen or turned into a lovely centerpiece. Make sure to keep them away from bright lights because this can make them wilt faster.

Also, don’t wash the flowers because this will shorten their life span as well.

After picking the herbs you wish to use, it’s best to clean them if they need it. You can do this by swishing them around in a bowl of water or giving them a quick rinse with water.

If they are excessively muddy, then you can put them in a colander and run water over them until they are clean.

After cleaning them, you’ll need to dry them off as the next step. You can do this by hand by taking a clean towel and blotting the water away.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts |

It’s also possible to use paper towels or a clean cloth for this.

You can speed up the process even more by using a fan to blow air on them so that they can dry instantly. It won’t take long before they are completely dry and ready to be stored or used in your favorite recipes.

Most herbs can be stored in an old Tupperware container or even a zip-lock bag. Just make sure they are in an airtight container so that they stay fresh and ready to use.

These are the basics of how to grow and care for your favorite herbs so that you can add them to your meals anytime. Most of these plants don’t take much work to maintain and will provide you with great tasting food for years to come.

Happy cooking!

Quick List of Herbs

Basil – One of the most popular herbs. It has a distinct anise scent and is great in Italian dishes such as tomato sauce and pesto.

Bay Leaf – This shrub is native to West Asia and the Mediterranean. The leaves are used in soups, stews, and meat dishes.

Chervil – This herb is closely related to parsley and has a light anise flavor. It is commonly used in French cuisine.

Chives – A popular member of the onion family. The hollow green stalks are great in potatoes or on sandwiches.

They also have a mild onion flavor and can be dried to make them last longer.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts on

Cilantro – The seeds of this plant are commonly called coriander and the leaves are called cilantro. It has a hint of lemon flavor and is often used in Asian and Mexican dishes.

Dill – The seeds are called dill seeds and the leaves are called dill weed. Both have a distinctive taste that is similar to caraway but weaker.

It is commonly used in fish and dairy based dishes.

Marjoram – Not as popular as thyme or oregano, marjoram has a more subtle flavor that blends well with other herbs and spices such as chili and tomatoes.

Mint – Without a doubt the most popular garden herb. It comes in many different varieties from the common spearmint to the exotic pineapple mint.

Many varieties are great for different recipes, some are even good by themselves.

Mustard – The spicy seeds are called mustard seeds and they have a distinct flavor that is not found in other herbs. Great in sauces or with meats.

Oregano – Also known as wild marjoram, this herb is commonly used in Italian dishes such as pizza and spaghetti.

Parsley – This popular herb comes in two varieties: flat leaf and curly leaf. They both have a fresh flavor that is great in sauces and meat dishes.

Rosemary – Native to the Mediterranean, this shrub has pine-like flavor that is great with beef and lamb or as a simple garnish for roasted meats.

Sage – This gray-green leaf is one of the three ingredients in traditional stuffing along with salt and bread. It has a slightly peppery flavor and is great with poultry and pork.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts |

Savory – This herb is a bit hard to find but its unique flavor blends well with beans, cabbage, and other hearty vegetables.

Thyme – One of the most popular herbs due to its versatility. It has a slightly mint flavor and is great in sauces, vegetables, or as a simple garnish.

Tips for Growing Your Own Herbs

If you don’t have the room for a full herb garden, many herbs can be started easily from seeds inside and then transplanted into your garden.

Seeds should be soaked in water for at least 12 hours before planting to help them break down and germination will usually occur faster if the seeds are crushed or bruised.

You can put several seeds in a small pot to encourage fast growth of your own personalized “kitchen garden”.

Herbs grow best when the soil is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings and fertilizers should be used sparingly.

Some common herbs and their uses:

Basil – Popular in Italian cuisine, it goes well with tomatoes and most sweet peppers.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts at

Bay Leaves – This evergreen is popular in soups, stews, and beans. Crush or break off leaves to release flavor.

Chervil – A slightly milder cousin of parsley with a hint of anise. Great with fish.

Chives – These tubular green leaves are a bit stronger than onions but have a great onion flavor. Great in potatoes, soups, and salads.

Coriander – The seeds are popular in Mexican and Indian dishes. It can be a bit bitter so hold back the amount used until you get familiar with it.

Dill – The feathery green leaves and yellow flowers have a slight hint of lemon flavor. Great in fish and potato dishes.

Fennel – The feathery leaves and greenish-yellow flowers have an anise-like flavor. Great in fish and vegetable dishes.

Mint – There are many varieties of mint, all with different flavors. Most popular is peppermint, which is great in desserts.

Parsley – The flat leaf variety is popular in Italian cooking. Great in sauces, with eggs, or in fish dishes.

Rosemary – This woody evergreen is a key ingredient in many meat dishes. It is very flavorful so use it sparingly.

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts at

Sage – The gray-green leaves are a bit bitter and should be paired with a sweetener unless used in meat dishes.

Tarragon – The narrow leaves have a hint of anise and pair well with chicken, egg, or fish dishes.

Thyme – The tiny purple flowers are popular in many recipes and have a minty flavor. Can be used as a “crush and sprinkle” herb or added whole to long-braised dishes

Tips for Temporary Storage of Fresh Herbs

If you can’t use fresh herbs right away, you can store them temporarily in the refrigerator. Wash the herbs, wrap them in a damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator.

Do not wash herbs before storing because the moisture will cause them to spoil much faster.

Remove leaves from the stems and store the leaves in a jar of water in the refrigerator as an easy way to store lots of herbs for a short period of time.

Use the leftover stems and flowers to make a simple herbed vinegar that can be used as a durable seasoning for many dishes.

To make herbed vinegar, wash and pat dry the leftover herb stems. Chop roughly.

Cover with good vinegar and add salt, a sweetener like sugar or honey, peppercorns, sliced garlic, sliced chile peppers, and any other herbs or spices you desire.

Cap tightly and store in a cool dark place for at least a month before using; the longer it ages the more pronounced the flavors will become.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Growing Herbs

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts at

A lot of herbs are very easy to grow because they thrive in warm moist conditions which most people provide for their houseplants. If you want to grow them outdoors great, but don’t worry if you don’t have a yard.

Even a sunny windowsill or piece of sidewalk brick provides an ideal location in most cases.

Pick a sunny location – Most herbs need at least six hours of full sun a day. If you don’t have a place that gets that much sun, choose an alternative such as a north facing window or under grow lights.

Use good quality soil or growing medium – Soil should be loose, porous, and free of stray roots and other debris. It is best to use sterile potting soil or a soilless mix that is free of fertilizers and pesticides.

Use a container with good drainage – Herbs need room for their roots to spread out. A good container is roughly the same size as the root system of the plant with one or more holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out.

Water and feed your herbs – Water liberally and then wait until the soil is dry before watering again. Use a mild fertilizer at half strength when you first plant the herbs and then use it sparingly afterwards.

Make sure the plants get enough oxygen – Herbs do not do well when they are smothered by a thick layer of mulch. Use mulch, but do not pile it more than an inch deep around the base of the plant.

Protect young plants from pests and disease – It’s much easier to prevent invasion by pests such as aphids, spider mites, and snails than to try to get rid of them once they are entrenched. Many herbs are susceptible to fungal diseases, so keep the leaves as dry as possible, especially during humid times of the year.

When to Plant

Bolting Parsley Plants: What To Do When Parsley Bolts |

Most herbs can be planted either at the beginning of the season or early in the year (April through May). The exception is basil which is best planted in mid to late summer (July through September) because it tends to go to seed if planted in early spring.

Be Prepared for Emergencies!

A lot of herbs are fairly easy to grow, but they are susceptible to damage from insects, molds, and fungi as well as from various diseases. It helps to be prepared for emergencies.

Keep these supplies on hand to treat problems as they arise:

Neem oil is a natural pesticide that is nontoxic to people and animals but deadly to most insects and molds.

Sources & references used in this article:

Cotton-chopper. by SE Parsley – US Patent 1,045,431, 1912 – Google Patents


En. Chervil; Fr. Cerfeuil; Ge. Kerbel; Sp. Perifollo Chervil (Anthrescus cerefolium Hoffm.) is a summer annual plant, native to southern Russia and western Asia. It is … by E Fennel, F Fenoiil, G Fenchel… – Handbook of Flowering …, 2019 –

1998 Muck Crop Cultivar Trials: Dry Onions, Green Onions, Leeks, Lettuce, Parsley, Radishes by WB Evans – 1999 –

The Arabidopsis thaliana 4-coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL) gene: stress and developmentally regulated expression and nucleotide sequence of its cDNA by E Pressman, M Sachs – CRC Handbook of Flowering, 1985 – CRC PressI Llc

Specialized generalists: constraints on host range in some plusiine caterpillars by D Lee, M Ellard, LA Wanner, KR Davis… – Plant molecular …, 1995 – Springer

Chemical stimulants of leaf-trenching by cabbage loopers: natural products, neurotransmitters, insecticides, and drugs by R Tune, DE Dussourd – Oecologia, 2000 – Springer

Inheritance of annual habit in celery: cosegregation with isozyme and anthocyanin markers by DE Dussourd – Journal of chemical ecology, 2003 – Springer



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