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Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) gives the food the decisive aroma - especially if it comes from your own cultivation. The tasty herb can be cultivated both in beds and in pots on the windowsill. Unfortunately, the plant is considered to be very idiosyncratic in terms of location and care. What to do if the parsley suddenly turns yellow and the leaves are still edible?


If the parsley turns yellow out of the pot, this is often due to care errors. The herb places high demands on compliance with the right conditions and reacts very sensitively to even the smallest discrepancies. If the gardener notices a change in color of the leaves, he should check the following factors and improve them if necessary:

  • unfavorable site conditions
  • wrong watering behavior
  • diseases and pests

The right location

Unlike Mediterranean herbs, parsley does well in partial shade. Too warm and sunny locations quickly cause sunburn on the leaves. This could be a reason for the yellow color of the parsley. Especially when the gardener cultivates the plant in a pot on the windowsill, the glass pane intensifies the heat of the sunlight.

Tip: The gardener should remove parsley from the supermarket from the plastic tray and transplant the herbs into a larger pot. This guarantees longer freshness. Alternatively, he places the plant directly in the bed.

The right substrate

The kitchen herb does not tolerate waterlogging. The soil should therefore be as loose and permeable as possible. In addition, humus-rich substrate promotes growth by optimally supplying the parsley with the necessary nutrients that the plant needs in large quantities. The gardener must take this feature into account, especially when keeping it in the balcony box. If he replants it every year, crop rotation is highly relevant. If the gardener grows umbellifers in one and the same flower box for years, the soil will soon be exhausted. After harvesting the parsley, he therefore has to replace the pot from scratch before planting Petroselinum crispum the following year. In addition to parsley also include

  • carrot
  • dill
  • and fennel

to the umbellifers.

Notice: If the gardener can rule out a wrong location as the cause, a lack of molybdenum or magnesium in the substrate often causes the parsley to turn yellow. A special indication of this reason are white spots on the leaves at first, before the plants turn completely yellow. The gardener can get fertilizer specially designed for this deficiency in specialist shops.

Adequate watering

Watering requires a lot of finesse. It is important to find the right balance between soil that is not too dry and not too wet. Finger testing can help with this. Only when the top layer of substrate has completely dried does the next watering take place. However, a dry period that is too long must not occur either. Gardeners often forget that the irrigation water accumulates in the saucer despite the drainage. When cultivating on the windowsill, the gardener must necessarily pour off excess water.

Warm tap water is best for watering, in order to do justice to the preference for calcareous soil.

diseases and pests

It is not uncommon for parsley leaves to turn yellow and it even has its own name. Botanists also speak of the parsley disease. Umbellifers are particularly susceptible to pests such as

  • root lice
  • nematodes
  • fungal spores
  • maggots

Most of the time, the bugs nest in the substrate and feed on the roots. The tiny pests are barely visible to the human eye. If there is also no adequate crop rotation, the parasites multiply even more.

Such a case of disease can be prevented if the gardener does not sow the parsley until August. At this time of year, the pests have long since retired. Plants that the gardener has grown in pots are usually more resistant to the parasites.

Notice: A compost heap in the garden is all well and good, as the gardener can always get fresh, organic fertilizer from it. In this case, however, he should only use potting soil from specialist shops for his pots. Decomposed material from the compost heap could contain pests in the first place.

Different types of yellowing

The leaves do not always turn yellow all the time. Stains or color nuances are also possible. These provide important information about which disease or which care error it is.

  • Leaves turn completely yellow: drought, waterlogging or crusted soil, measure: change care habits
  • yellow spots or light green or white mosaic pattern: infection with the parsley Y virus caused by aphids, action: remove yellow shoots, do not dispose of in the compost
  • Slight yellowing or white coloring of the leaves, sometimes with a red tinge: Infection with various types of viruses, often necrosis, can lead to the death of the entire plant if treated too late. Measure: generously remove all affected shoots, do not dispose of in the compost

Is yellow parsley still edible?

Although discoloration of the leaves also reduces the visual impact, the gardener usually grows the herb for consumption. So the question arises whether yellow parsley is still edible.

In general there is no health risk. First and foremost, only the taste suffers. The leaves lose their fresh aroma and taste bland and dry. If pests are the cause, the shoots can also begin to rot. In this case, consumption is not recommended.

However, once the plant has faded, it is no longer suitable for culinary use. After flowering, parsley forms the toxic substance apiol, which not only makes the leaves inedible, but also has health effects.

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