How to root parsley?

Herbs – A primer on Florida herbs

Herbs are plants cultivated for their special flavor, their fragrance, their medicinal uses, for landscaping and to add flavor and graciousness to the richness of life.
History is filled with the magic traditions of their uses. Some serve as food and shelter for butterflies. The aromatic plants have played an important part in the development of world commerce and industry.
From some herbs we use the seeds, leaves, flowers, bulbs, rhizomes and roots.
Ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome knew and used a variety of herbs. Garlic bulbs were found in the tomb of Tutankamen. Badianus translated an illustrated Aztec manuscript about Mexican herbs into Latin in 1552.
There are an enormous variety of herbs. Here we will refer to those most compatible with Florida’s climate and ever more heterogeneous cultures.
Herbs generally need sunshine, water, light and fertile, well-drained soil. Herbs can be annuals, biennials and perennials. They can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and by bulb and tuber division. Some spread by creeping and reseeding themselves.
Perennials should be grouped together and away from vegetables in order not to be disturbed. Insecticides and herbicides should never be used on herbs. You can buy small pots of growing herbs at nurseries and garden stores and later transplant them to larger pots or to the ground.
Indoor herbs can be grown in pots on sunny window sills at any time of the year, provided they get enough warmth, light and moisture. It is best to grow each kind in a separate pot, rather than try to grow a complete indoor garden in one large box. Individual pots of herbs can be moved and used without disturbing the others. Herbs also may be grown in small bottle gardens.
Most herbs can be grown from seeds that should be planted 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Improve the drainage of clay or plastic pots with a layer of broken earthenware. Suitable potting mixtures are made out of sand, composted material of cow manure. The plants should be kept moist as they grow.
To grow well outdoors, herbs should be planted during the spring, when there is no longer danger of frost. Perennials planted in a box should be moved to the ground with other plants, according to the requirement of soil, water and light. We know some of the more pungent and aromatic herbs flourish in the impoverished soil of the Mediterranean area.
We should plant evergreen perennials alternating with deciduous types to keep landscaping attractive all year-round. Most herbs are harvested before they reach the blooming stage. Leaves are more aromatic at the budding stage. You can group together parsley, chervil, dill, basil, oregano and chives. Sage, rosemary, thyme and bay tree require moist, sandy soil. Some Ñ such as garlic, chives, onions, leeks and parsley Ñ like cool weather. Planting basil or parsley near tomatoes will improve the tomatoesO flavor, and can help to prevent attacks from aphids, beetles, and other pests.
To preserve fresh herbs grown in your garden, place a few sprigs of your favorites between two paper towels and microwave for one minute. Store them in airtight container and they will be ready for use when you need them.
Sweet basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is a half-hardy annual, growing to a height of about a foot. The leaves have a strong spice scent. There are many types, with leaves that range from green to purple; some are variegated. It grows well in containers. Basil is known as the “Royal herb.” It probably came from Africa. It was known in Egypt, Greece and Rome, and was introduced to Northern Europe during the 16th century. It is used in medicine, food, perfume and as a fly and mosquito repellent. After picking early in the morning, the leaves can be washed, dried and frozen. Use them later without defrosting. The principal property of basil is to give a more pleasing and savory odor and taste to the accompanying foods.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) has dark green, firm, narrow leaves with a fresh piney fragrance and a warm savory taste. The compact, perennial evergreen shrub has mauve-blue flowers. Legends says the Virgin Mary, while resting, spread her cloak over a white flowering rosemary bush; the flowers turned the blue of her cloak and from then on the bush was called “Rose of Mary.”
Greek scholars wore rosemary in their hair to help remember their studies, and the association with memory still persists in some countries. It grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet, but pinching out the growing points keeps the plant compact. The blue-pink flowers form during the second or third year.
It is best grown from 6-inch cuttings. The small, narrow, dark-green leaves have a spice aroma, and dry or fresh they add to the flavor in cooking. It is used in potpourris. Rosemary grows in shade with well drained, acidic soil. It has more fragrance when grown in alkaline soil, but has less growth.
Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) is a thick, very slow growing, hardy, evergreen tree popular for its decorative appearance and fragrant, dark-green leaves. During Roman times, laurel wreaths of bay leaves were used to crown heroes. Bay trees are natives to the Mediterranean area. For centuries, the leaves has been used as strewing herbs because of their antiseptic qualities and their fresh, sweet, and spicy aroma. Bay leaves are an important ingredient of bouquet garnish. They make a splendid tub plant, growing 10 or more feet tall if unchecked. It needs pruning twice a year to keep an attractive shape. They can be grown in small pots and boxes from cuttings, and can be propagated easily. It prefers dry, light, sandy soil.
Bay leaves are used in cooking and as insect repellent. All laurels except sweet bay are poisonous; do not confuse sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) with cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) the decorative tree of our gardens, which is poisonous.
There are two kinds of parsley grown in Florida: Petroselinum crispum or curled parsley; and Petyroselinum satinum hofman, plain leaf or Italian parsley. The curly leaf is grown as a border or in boxes, with its well-known bright green frills of foliage. The Italian, has larger, flatter leaves with a mild celery flavor and is mostly found in vegetable gardens. Parsley is propagated by planting seeds spaced from 6 to 12 inches apart, in rich, loamy soil in the sun. The seeds should first be covered with water and soaked for 24 hours. They can be grown decoratively in a pot such as a strawberry pot.
The Greeks used curly parsley as horse feed and as a garlanding herb. Charlemagne, the 9th century emperor, was fond of cheese flavored with parsley seeds.
Parsley is used in medicine and as a universal garnish. It blends well with other herbs and seasonings. Parsley should be in every butterfly garden. It is a good breath freshener. Frozen parsley is superior to home-dried.
Dill (Anethum graveolens), a native to Mediterranean countries, was considered a charm against witchcraft during the Middle Ages. It grows well in Florida, reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet. It is an annual plant, and seeds should be sown outdoors. November through December is the best planting time, but it can be planted during the spring.
The leaves can be used fresh or dried to flavor pickles and vinegars as well as fish dishes. The yellow flowers are used in landscape for herb gardens. It is an annual.

It’s fall — let’s grow some herbs! | Miami Herald

Bonnie Beal sniffs spearmint as she shops for herbs in a farmers market. PATRICIA BECK MCT

As gardening in most of the country slows down for fall, South Florida is waking up. Now we can plant some of the temperate herbs our northern friends and family have enjoyed all summer long. Here’s how to get started, whether you have a big garden or like to keep things small by sticking to containers.

▪ Start at the bottom. The best soil for your plants is the one that meets the plants’ particular needs. Many herbs prefer soil that has neutral to acid pH levels. That means we may need to amend our alkaline Florida soils to raise acidity and lower pH. Adding sphagnum peat moss to the upper layer of soil increases acidity, or add ammonium sulfate to cover larger areas. Follow the label instructions if you add ammonium sulfate — more is not better and can burn tender plants. I avoid using it in pots, as salts can accumulate.

Raised garden beds are the best way to contain and control soil nutrients. Make them from wood or cinder blocks, or buy them in kit form.

▪ When to plant. Exactly when isn’t easy to answer, particularly given the last couple of years of wet, warm winters and drier than usual springs. Wait until the temps cool off a bit and heavy storms subside, probably this month.

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▪ Starting out. You can buy seed starter trays or improvise. Toilet paper cores placed upright (easy to write on) and clear plastic cherry tomato containers make perfect seed starters. The seedlings will be very delicate and can burn easily from too much sun and insufficient water. Or buy transplants from a nursery and get a headstart.

▪ Container life. Herbs are traditionally grown for seasoning or other uses involving small quantities, so you don’t need many plants. Many herbs thrive in small containers in which they can be situated for best sun exposure, as well as to accent your garden, patio, balcony or nearly anywhere with sufficient light.

Remember that containers will heat up in the sun without surrounding soil to dissipate the heat, so pay special attention to the soil’s moisture. I generally mix potting soil, compost, perlite for drainage and maybe some sphagnum moss. Prepackaged potting soil alone gets clumpy, which starves roots of oxygen and makes it difficult for seedlings to penetrate the soil.

Frequent watering washes nutrients from pots, so eventually, adding a general fertilizer might help, or better still, add compost.

Many of these plants prefer cool summer conditions, which we need to replicate during the winter. Growing herbs is just like growing vegetables — the plants don’t care what we call them, as long as we meet their horticultural needs.


Mint tea, anyone? This cute perennial is easy to grow and attractive with serrated olivey green leaves and reddish stems. Mentha species include spearmint (M. spicata), peppermint (M. piperita) and varieties that hint of chocolate or citrus. Plant in bright shade to get some sun. Mint likes damp soil but isn’t picky. Harvest leaves at midday when mint oils will be strongest. After flowering, leaves will taste bitter, but the flowers can be consumed as well. Watch out for runners, which may overtake a garden. Mint is nice in pots, which will reign it in and grows to about 24 inches tall. Pinch mint back to encourage bushy growth.


Petroselinum crispum likes it cool, so wait until late fall or winter to plant seeds shallowly in pots or in the ground. Thin out seedlings to about six inches apart. Parsley can yellow for numerous reasons, one of which is crown or root rot. Give parsley morning sun exposure, which is a good time to water, allowing the soil to thoroughly drain, but not completely dry out, in the sunlight. Avoid crowding parsley, which inhibits air circulation. P. crispum is known as “curly leaf” while P. crispum neopolitanum is the “flat-leaf” parsley preferred for cooking. When harvesting, you may have to compete with black swallowtail butterflies.


Rosmarinus officinalis sends up 2- to 3-foot-high stems with short, narrow leaves resembling juniper. This bushy perennial grows best from cuttings. Plant in full sun. Likes slightly moist, but very well-draining soil with some added sand. Good candidate for containers. The leaves can be harvested any time, and their smell is enjoyed by simply walking past them.


Silvery soft leaves are characteristic of Salvia officinalis, which normally does not like high heat and humidity. Start it in fall in a very well-draining clay pot with sandy, loamy soil, with lots of sun. It’s best to start sage from cuttings or transplants. Keep young plants moist, but let them drain well between watering. Mildew may be a concern with sage, so a layer of pebbles around the plant can help.


People often ask if a ginger plant can be grown from the “hand” of ginger available at supermarkets — and yes, it can. Zingiber officinale grows from a tuberous rhizome. Pick one that is nice and firm, not mushy or shriveled, and plant a couple of inches deep right in the garden or in a deep pot with rich soil. Ginger prefers filtered sunlight and lots of humidity, but not soggy soil; frost will kill it. Compost mixed with sandy potting soil works well. You may not get intense growth until spring, but you can harvest the rhizome and separate its “fingers” just about any time. They can be used in food or planted for more ginger.


Exotic for most regions, easy for us. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is in the ginger family and grows similarly to ordinary ginger. Used for the intense orange yielded by its rhizome and in curry, turmeric is finally being recognized for possible medicinal qualities. It has proved quite hardy in my garden in pots and in the ground. The rhizomes have sprouted with green, even when stored on my patio. Morning sun is fine, but shelter turmeric from direct exposure otherwise. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, especially in a pot. While the tropical foliage and flowers are extraordinary, the rhizomes are the only part consumed. When the foliage eventually dies back, dig up the rhizome; divide it to eat and/or grow more plants.


My wife successfully grew basil on a fire escape in New York City. But I’ve had trouble with it in Miami. Ocimum basilicum is a short-lived annual; its leaves can be used fresh or dried. Basil prefers direct morning sun tempered with afternoon shade. Fall temperature doesn’t seem to be our problem; drainage does. I’ve germinated basil seeds easily, only to have the tender seedlings wither and die. It seems basil hates wet feet. Try it in large clay pots using potting soil mixed with lots of perlite and sand to encourage draining. Once it is established, try adding compost and mulch to the top of the soil. If the leaves yellow, the soil may be too wet; repot the plant to save it. Pinch its inconspicuous flowers to encourage more leaf production.


Melissa officinalis is in the mint family of Lamiaceae, so it should thrive in South Florida. Lemon-scented leaves are fragrant and flowers are attractive to bees. Pinch it back to keep it bushy; it grows to about two feet tall. Keep it in pots and deadhead flowers before they set seeds to avoid lemon balm taking over. Lemon balm doesn’t mind a good haircut and responds with dense bushiness. Besides possessing many medicinal qualities, lemon balm supposedly repels mosquitoes, but does anything really? In the kitchen, make tea from lemon balm, sprinkle it over salads or use it to flavor vinegar. Grow it from seeds, cuttings or transplants.


The refreshing taste of cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), also known as coriander, always reminds me of great Mexican food. Warm weather speeds up cilantro’s life cycle, so fall and winter here should be ideal, giving more time for you to harvest the delicate foliage. Provide excellent drainage and be wary of overwatering; grow it in pots to ensure soil is loose. Cilantro is susceptible to mildew. Even in fall, direct sun may be too harsh for the cool, bright shade cilantro prefers. A completely different species is culantro (Eryngium foetidum), which tastes like strong cilantro and is adapted to the Caribbean. If you can find culantro, it should fare well in our climate.


Anethum graveolens leaves produce the herb dill, while its seeds can be employed as a spice. Dill prefers neutral to slightly acid soil, lots of sun and soil that is loose and drains well. Adding compost for nutrients and sand and perlite for drainage will help keep your potting mix airy and loose. Dill does not like its deep roots disturbed, so transplants may not survive. Grow it from seed in a deep pot. It can grow to 2 or 3 feet tall, with feathery green foliage topped with mustard-yellow umbels of flowers.


Origanum vulgare, sometimes called wild marjoram, is also in the mint family and can be grown from seed or cuttings. Pinch it back to keep it short and bushy. Oregano likes it warm and dry (think “Mediterranean”), with lots of sun but some protection from the harshest late-day light. Make sure that soil drains well, and water oregano only when the soil feels dry. Lots of sweet and spicy cultivars are available that go beyond the jarred, dried herb we are used to.

Today we thought we’d share with you an interesting question we received from mom Debbie in Florida, USA.

Debbie had been reading through this page on our website where we discussed the merits of one of our favourite veggies… the parsnip.

Debbie had never tried cooking parsnips before, for either her baby or herself, and decided to give them a try.

Here’s what she told us…

I went to a local specialty market and found parsley root, which looked like parsnip. But I’m not sure if it’s the same thing and neither was the assistant. I thought I’d check before buying it for my baby.

And it’s a good thing you did, because parsnip and parsley root are NOT the same thing… even though they look incredibly similar!

There shouldn’t usually be any confusion when trying to buy parsnips because the store should be able to tell you which is which (ahem!). But if you’re in any doubt, here’s a quick guide to the differences between parsnips and parsley root…


Parsnips …

  • are creamy, almost yellowish in colour
  • have a fairly pungent smell, which some people find unpleasant (don’t worry, they don’t taste like they smell!)
  • have a carrot-like shape, but tend to be more bulbous
  • have a sweetish, nutty taste that’s hard to compare to anything else
  • are usually used to make purees, roasted with other root veggies or used in place of carrots
  • are rarely sold with leaves attached

Parsley Root

Parsley root (also known as turnip rooted parsley, Dutch parsley, rooted parsley, Hamburg parsley and – confusingly – parsnip rooted parsley)…

  • is pale – almost white – in colour
  • has a clean, fresh aroma
  • tends to have a long, slender, tapered shape
  • has a parsley-like flavour which some compare to celery
  • tastes good mixed with mashed potato and can be used in the same way as parsnips or carrots
  • is sold with the leaves (parsley) attached

Because parsnips and parsley root are two distinct veggies, they should be introduced separately to your baby using the four day rule. This will help you identify if either of them causes any type of reaction or digestive discomfort.

Parsnips are not considered to be highly allergenic and can be introduced to your baby from 6 months (or earlier if your doctor has recommended introducing solids prior to 6 months of age).

But there is not much data available on parsley root as it is not widely used as a vegetable for babies. For that reason, we’d recommend waiting until your little one is AT LEAST 6 months of age and already enjoying a wide range of other veggies before introducing it. And you should also check with your doctor, just in case there is any family history of food allergy that would make the introduction of parsley root inappropriate for your baby.

If you DO feel like giving parsley root or parsnips a try, please note that they can be used interchangeably in recipes (with different results in flavour, of course) – or can be used instead of carrots.

More information about introducing parsnips

Homemade baby food recipes to try…

Chicken, Parsnip and Pear Puree

Easy Sweet Potato, Pear and Parsnip Puree

Creamy Fish Pie with Parsnip and Carrot Mash

Parsley Root: The Herb’s Dirty Little Secret

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: Parlsey root is more well-known in Central Europe than it is in the U.S., but not for long — it deserves an introduction into your kitchen.

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We know what you’re wondering, and yes, parsley root is exactly what it sounds like: the root of the herb parsley. This is a variety grown for its large taproot though, rather than its leaves (although its leaves are edible too). It belongs to the carrot family, along with fennel, celery, cilantro, and the very similar-looking parsnips. Confused about what you’re looking at? The parsley-like leaves should give it away, but if not, take a bite. Elizabeth Schneider breaks it down: “Parsnip is sweet; parsley root is not — its flavor contains elements of celeriac, parsley, and carrot but it is more aggresive and aromatic.”

Selection and Storage
Parsley root’s season is just beginning, so if you aren’t quite ready for autumnal vegetables, you’ll still be able to find them through the spring. Look for firm, uniformly-sized roots that are a pale beige. The greens are best eaten within a couple of days, but the roots will store well for a week or two — treat them just like carrots. Cut off (1) the greens and store the roots and greens separately in plastic bags or reusable containers. When you’re ready to use the roots, they’ll need a good scrub to get the dirt off, but they don’t need to be peeled — unless you just really like your peeler.

More: Not sure where the nearest farmers market is? Find one on Real Time Farms.

How to Use
Try parsley root baked in a gratin, pan-fried in fritters, or deep-fried as chips. It pairs well with other roots and tubers too, so try them roasted, mashed, or puréed together. Add parsley root to soups and stews (this is an especially good choice for any roots that have started to get a bit flabby). Parsley root can also be substituted in recipes calling for celeriac, carrots, parsnips, and turnips. It is almost always eaten cooked, but it can be eaten raw too: add it, sliced, to a crudité platter, a coleslaw, or a salad, like Diane Morgan’s salad of parsley root, apple, and watercress found in Roots. Ready to introduce parsley root into your dinner line-up? We’ve got you covered for the week:

Friday: Parsley Root and Lady Apple Soup
Saturday: Parsley Root Fries with Roasted Tomato Ketchup
Sunday: Chicken Fricassee with Parsley Roots and Chanterelle Mushrooms
Monday: Couscous Tabbouleh with Parsley Root and Preserved Lemon
Tuesday: Jerry Traunfeld’s Root Ribbons with Sage
Wednesday: Brussels Sprouts with Parsley Roots
Thursday: Chicken with Parsley Root, Parsley Cream, and Fresh Hazelnuts

Photos by James Ransom

Roots like parsley root, celeriac, sunchokes and even the more familiar parsnip can seem intimidating, but given our familiarity with carrots, they shouldn’t be, especially since they can be prepared in much the same way.

Root vegetables such as these give a much broader flavor profile to our culinary escapades, while also giving our gut biome a big treat. Roots, particularly sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes as they are also called), are particularly high in inulin, which is a long-chain oligosaccharide that acts as a prebiotic, which is essentially food for your gut biome. This is important, particularly because a healthy gut biome, (which I talk more about on my other site at, has been shown to prevent all sorts of diseases. As a matter of fact, the cells that make up our gut are numerous. Up until last year, it was often cited that our body’s bacterial cells outnumbered our own cells 9:1 or 10:1, but a newer study finds that they’re equal in number to one another. Whatever the case, that’s a lot of bacteria, and therefore A LOT of mouths to feed, so might as well make them happy.

This particular recipe, White Roots Soup, came out of my desire to use all those luscious, overlooked white roots and tubers that line farmers market rows in the late autumn and winter. So if you build up some gustatory gumption, try this out! There are subtle undertones of the sweeter roots, like parsnip, parsley root and celeriac, but the nutty flavor of the sunchokes really stand out, so if you’d like something less nutty, then opt for smaller sunchokes. 🌿

Plant Root Stimulators: To Use or Not to Use

Many plant root stimulators claim that they can boost, promote, enhance, and stimulate root growth. There are a lot of scams out there. It can be difficult to find a product that will work and not one that will work for an affordable price. How do you know which ones are worth spending your money on? You do not want to just throw all your hard-earned money away. You want to make sure that you are spending your money on a product that works. There are plant root stimulators that you can purchase that will work. It is important that you know what to look for before you spend your money on a product that doesn’t work just because the packaging looked good. You should also pay attention to product reviews and look at the ingredients. Once you know what root stimulators are supposed to do and the key ingredients found in each one and what they are supposed to do, you will have an easier time selecting the right plant root stimulator.

Why Should I Use a Plant Root Stimulator?

Before determining what you should look for when shopping, it is important to understand the benefits of using a stimulator. Many plant growers, form those who grow plants for income to those who do it as a hobby, use plant root stimulators to enhance the growth of their plants. Plants have evolved over time and have a root system all their own, so why do you need a stimulator?

Plants have evolved and do have their own root system, however, the vast differences in plants come with a variety of variables and conditions that the plant may or may not encounter. The natural plant, without a stimulator, can form symbiotic relationships with flora and fauna that will benefit their growth. However, this also means that they are only growing on their own timetable. They may not grow as fast as you may want them to. There are different types of root promotors. Individuals can use growth aides, hormones, or stimulators to promote the growth of their plants. No matter what you are using, these products are developed to aid a plant in meeting it’s needed so that it can quickly develop a healthy root system and, as a result, grow much faster.

A plant root stimulator works by encouraging roots to develop. They specifically encourage the development of fine root hair. Fall applications work to limit excessive nitrogen because it can interfere with the tree’s natural cycle of going dormant in the winter. Deep root fertilization and roto stimulators are different. Stimulators do not use much nitrogen or iron. There are some situations that a stimulator can be more effective. Fine root density is promoted by using root stimulation. It also adds mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungus that assists plant growth and helps trees as they make the transition from fall to winter. This fungus forms symbiotic relationships and promotes healthy growth of a plants’ roots. If trees get too much fertilization during the fall months, it can cause the tree to continue to grow during the winter. This can result in the tree being left vulnerable during the freezing temperatures.

What Types of Plant Root Stimulators are Available?

There are numerous types of plant root stimulators available for you to choose from. Knowing a little information about each one can help ensure that the product you select is legitimate. Most of these stimulators are some type of plant hormone and/or chemical agents that are responsible for encouraging the growth of the plant.


Auxins are the most critical plant hormones found among stimulants. They are produced naturally by plants. The most common Auxin is indoleacetic acid or IAA. IAA promotes cell elongation and alters the plasticity of the cell wall to regulate growth. It is also the chemical that the terminal buds produce. IAA inhibits growth from occurring further down and produces apical dominance. Apical dominance is when the central stem is dominant over the side stems. Synthetic auxins are sometimes sold as weed killers. Examples would be Agent Orange and 2, 4-D. Mass amounts of auxins can result in plants producing a lot of ethylene. Too much ethylene can kill the plant because it prevents the cell from elongating and can cause leaves to drop. Grasses are less susceptible to being overdosed by auxin. For this reason, synthetic auxins are often used as weed killers.

Auxins are often used to encourage root production and cut stems. Nearly every rooted cutting produced is done so using auxin compounds for assistance. These compounds normally come as a powder and the cut stems are dipped into it. IAA is hard to handle according to many manufacturers because it is not water-soluble. This means that synthetic auxins were created for use in the horticultural world. Indolebutyric acid, or IBA, napthalacetic acid, or NAA, are the most common of these. Research has shown that some plants are able to produce these Auxins naturally. IBA and NAA are not approved for certified organic crop production because they are synthetics. Many, however, choose to use it because they believe it does not have a negative impact on the quality of the plant.

Gibberellic Acids

Another class of plant hormone found in plant root stimulators is Gibberellic acids. The chemicals found in a gibberellin complex are known for growth stem encouragement and for germinating seeds. These chemicals are used in root stimulator mixtures because it is believed that root growth is promoted by stem growth.


Thiamine is another chemical that plants produce to help in growth production. Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1. Human bodies also produce this chemical and it is used in numerous vitamin therapies. Vitamin B1 migrates to the root zone in plants from the leaves. It is in the root zone that it promotes growth. Vitamin B1 products are normally a mixture and typically include IBA and either gibberellins or NAA. Many garden centers have begun selling brands of their own Vitamin B1 mixtures.


There is no shortage of mycorrhizae in the root and soil systems in plants. However, there are nurseries that use methods that can result in less mycorrhizal levels being found. There are numerous companies that are offering spores of packaged mycorrhizae. Plant root stimulant manufacturers have begun to include mycorrhizae in the mixture.

Willow Water

Willow water is a rooting stimulate that is both homemade and pragmatic. Those who use willow water do so on the theory that willow branches root easily when they are stuck in the soil. There are even those who will cut the willow branches in the water and then use this as a root stimulant for each of their plants.

So How Do I Use a Root Plant Stimulator

Using a plant root stimulator isn’t difficult. You will need a stimulator and some water. You may also want some tape and a marker, so you can create a label. The first thing you want to do is choose a product that contains the ingredients you want for the results you want. Some products contain a mixture of ingredients and others contain only one or two ingredients. The next thing you want to do is mix the stimulator with water. You can do this using a plastic bottle or even a bucket. The instructions should be specific on how much water to use. Different brands need a different amount of water. Finally, water the plants using the solution. You water them the same way you would without the solution. Make sure that you do not over water the plants.

Where Can I Find A Plant Root Stimulator?

You can find plant root stimulators in many stores. Amazon also has many options available. Here is a list of stimulators you can find on Amazon:

Product Image Plant Root Stimulator Price
1. Fertilome 10645 Root Stimulator Check Price on Amazon
2. Garden Rich Root & Grow Check Price on Amazon
3. Manna Nutrients Liquid Roots Check Price on Amazon
4. CANNA Rhizotonic Rooting Stimulator Check Price on Amazon
5. House & Garden Roots Excelurator Check Price on Amazon
6. Plagron Power Roots Check Price on Amazon
7. Hydrodynamics Clonex Mist Root Stimulator Check Price on Amazon
8. Direct Output Dissolved Oxygen Check Price on Amazon
9. Hydrodynamics Green Fuse Root Concentrate Check Price on Amazon
10. Blue Gold Check Price on Amazon


Plant root simulators are used to help the roots of plants grow quickly and to make them stronger. Root stimulators differ from powder hormones because they are created to support the roots that already exist. There are many different hormones that are included in the mixtures, and each one is used to strengthen the root. Plant root stimulators are easy to use and there are many options available.

Soil Preparation for Root Crops

This part of gardening is the key to healthy root crops – you need to prepare a foundation for your plants just as you would for a house. If your foundation is weak, your house falls down. Your plants can fail, too, but you won’t have to worry if you get your soil into good shape before you plant. Here’s the formula for success:

First . . . pH

You should check the pH of your garden soil at least every couple of years. The most accurate reading is taken in the fall. pH is the measure of soil acidity or alkalinity, with 7 indicating neutral on a scale from 1.0 (most acid) to 14.0 (most alkaline). Root crops and most vegetables prefer slightly acid soil, with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.

To test your soil pH, you can buy an inexpensive testing kit at a garden center, or send a soil sample to your County Extension office if it offers that service. The test may indicate that you need to add lime to raise your pH or sulfur to lower it. Just follow the recommendations accompanying the test results.

The Wonders of Organic Matter

Root crops are harvested for what grows down, not up, so they really need the best possible growing quarters – preferably soil that is loose, rich and loamy.

To achieve this ideal soil condition, work into the soil plenty of organic matter such as leaves, compost, grass clippings, garden residues or easy-to-grow cover crops like buckwheat, cowpeas or annual ryegrass.

Most of us have less than perfect soil, ranging from light, sandy soil that drains too quickly all the way to heavy clay soils that take forever to drain and warm up in the spring. Whether you work on a garden-wide basis or just improve the spot where your root crops will be, here’s how adding organic matter to the soil will help:

Organic matter feeds the soil life that will in turn break it down into nutrient-rich humus. In sandy soil that doesn’t hold moisture, organic matter will make the soil act like a sponge, holding moisture to nourish the expanding taproots. On the other hand, with a heavy soil that doesn’t drain well, the particles of organic matter wedge themselves between the tight soil particles so that air and water can circulate better.

A word of caution about adding manure to your soil: try to get dehydrated or well-composted manure, because even aged manure contains some weed seeds. By spreading it over your garden, you may be planting extra weeds, and that just doesn’t make sense! The heat process of dehydrating or thorough composting kills most of the weed seeds. If you can’t get well-aged manure, use what you have, but stay on the lookout for weeds.


Root crops taste better if they grow at a steady pace, and they need certain nutrients for this smooth growth. These nutrients are available in commercial fertilizers, which you can broadcast over the planting area and mix into the top two to three inches of soil.

The best time to add fertilizer is on planting day. If you wait more than a few days between fertilizing and planting, some fertilizer is bound to leach away or lose its potency.

Apply two to three pounds of a balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-10 for each 100 square feet. The numbers 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 refer to the percentages by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the bag of fertilizer, and they’re always listed in the same order: N-P-K.

These three major plant nutrients are essential for proper plant growth. Nitrogen aids in leaf and stem production, phosphorus promotes strong roots and potassium also helps in root development by conditioning the entire plant.

Seeds are sensitive, and they can get burned by the nitrogen in any fertilizer that touches them. By mixing the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil, you can prevent that kind of accident.

The easiest way to avoid fertilizing mistakes is to always mix the fertilizer completely into the soil, and with root crops, to go easy rather than overdo it. Don’t be tempted to add that extra handful of fertilizer. You may end up with no carrots at all – just lots of bushy tops!

You can aid root growth, however, by adding a little extra phosphorus in the form of bonemeal or superphosphate (0-20-0). Sprinkle it directly onto the rows just before planting the seeds, raking the bonemeal into the top inch of soil so it can be used by the young seedlings when they come up. A handful is about right for every four to six square feet.

Phosphorus won’t burn the seeds, but the plants will only use as much as they need. So don’t overdo it because excess will just go to waste.

You can also work a light coating of wood ashes into your soil before planting to ward off root maggots. Wood ashes can raise the soil pH because they are very alkaline, so don’t overdo it. As with lime, the best time to add ashes is in the fall, but they may be added in the spring – they just won’t have as much time to work. The right amount is four to five pounds per 100 square feet, mixed into the top two to three inches of soil.

Parsley Root

Parsley root (also called Hamburg parsley, Dutch parsley, and turnip-rooted parsley) is the root of the herb parsley variety grown for its large taproot though, rather than its leaves (although its leaves are edible too – large Italian parsley-like leaves — finely cut, flat, and dark green.). It belongs to the carrot family, along with fennel, celery, coriander (cilantro), and the very similar-looking parsnips. The parsley-like leaves should give it away, but if not, take a bite. Parsnip is sweet; parsley root is not – its flavour contains elements of celeriac, parsley, and carrot but it is more aggressive and aromatic.


Parsley root was first used in cooking in 16th century Hamburg, Germany. It is found in dishes around Russia, Poland, and Germany. Though cultivated varieties are grown throughout the Northern Hemisphere in both the New and Old World, Parsley root remains commercially relevant as a culinary crop primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. The tuber can be found in markets catering to predominantly Polish, Jewish and German populations.



Parsley roots can be sliced or cubed and prepared as a cooked vegetable in the same way as carrots, celery roots, parsnips and turnips. The roots become tender in about five minutes, but the flavour is not reduced by lengthy cooking. Use parsley root in soups or stews, combined with carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions or meat. It can be roasted or baked with beef or poultry, sautéed or fried with tofu and added to lentil dishes. Parsley root can be steamed, creamed or puréed, or you can boil parsley root and potatoes to create a flavourful variation on traditional mashed potatoes. Roots also can be dried and used for flavouring.


Raw parsley root, with its intense parsley taste, can be used whole, grated, sliced or diced to add an unusual flavour to winter salads. You can shred the crisp-textured parsley root along with other root vegetables to make a raw salad or slaw. Parsley root leaves can be chopped and used for garnishing and flavouring foods.


Parsley root is available year-round with a peak season during the winter and spring months. It can be very difficult to find, but the best bet is to try farmers markets. Feel free to share any location you find this product in the comments section below.

Grow your own

  • According to Burke’s Backyard : “This variety is easy to grow anywhere in Australia, and does best in a sunny, open position in well-drained, moist soil.”
  • To get seeds try this online Seed Merchant.

Selection and Storage

  • Look for firm, uniformly-sized roots that are a beige-white.
  • The greens are best eaten within a couple of days, but the roots will store well for a week or two — treat them just like carrots.
  • Cut off the greens and store the roots and greens separately in plastic bags or reusable containers.
  • When you’re ready to use the roots, they’ll need a good scrub to get the dirt off, but they don’t need to be peeled.


  • Celeriac or Carrots or Parsnips or Turnips

Health Information

Medicinal Usage

The leaves, root and seeds of parsley have been used in traditional Greek medicine to treat flatulence, indigestion, spasms and menstrual disorders. Parsley root extract is useful for treating chronic liver and gallbladder diseases because it has diuretic, blood purifying and hepatic qualities. The dried root and essential oil are used in Indian Ayurvedic healing.


Parsley root and parsley are high in vitamins A, C and K and contain copper, iron and iodine. Parsley root is high in sodium, folic acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, protein and fibre. It has a substantial amount of flavonoids and is a strong antioxidant.


Avoid excessive quantities of parsley root during pregnancy because its oils can stimulate the uterus, cross the placenta and increase fetal heart rate (uterotonic effects). Parsley root contains natural substances called oxalates, which can cause health problems by becoming too concentrated and crystalizing in your body fluids. For this reason, individuals with kidney or gallbladder conditions should be cautious about consuming parsley root.

Learn About Parsley

Common Disease Problems

Alternaria Leaf Spot: Small, round reddish brown spots with white to gray centers form on the upper surface of the leaves. The lesions may encircle the stems and cause wilt. This disease is worse in warm, wet or very humid weather. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage. Remove infected plant parts and do not work around wet plants. Provide plenty of air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Cercospora Leaf Blight: Small flecks which develop a yellowish halo appear on the leaves and turn brown and coalesce. They cause the leaves to wither and die. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and destroy all plant debris. Rotate crops.

Damping Off: This is one of the most common problems when starting plants from seed. The seedling emerges and appears healthy; then it suddenly wilts and dies for no obvious reason. Damping off is caused by a fungus that is active when there is abundant moisture and soils and air temperatures are above 68 degrees F. Typically, this indicates that the soil is too wet or contains high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Burpee Recommends: Keep seedlings moist but do not overwater; avoid over-fertilizing your seedlings; thin out seedlings to avoid overcrowding; make sure the plants are getting good air circulation; if you plant in containers, thoroughly wash them in soapy water and rinse in a ten per cent bleach solution after use.

Powdery Mildew occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Septoria leaf spot: Small, angular, gray-brown spots appear on leaves. Spots have defined red margins. Black fruiting bodies may be visible. Leaves will eventually become chlorotic or necrotic. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops, avoid overhead watering. Plant to allow for good air circulation and keep weed free. Remove and destroy affected foliage.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Armyworm: Holes in leaves can be singular or clumped together. Leaves can become skeletonized. Egg clusters may be evident on foliage with a cottony or fuzzy appearance. Young larvae are pale green and adults are darker with a light line along the sideand pink underside. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies to the area.

Cutworms: These insects cut off the seedlings at the soil level. Burpee Recommends: Place a paper cup collar (use a coffee cup with the bottom cut out) around the base of the plant. They are usually mostly a problem with young seedlings. You can also control by handpicking and controlling weeds, where they lay their eggs.

Leafhoppers: Leafhoppers cause injury to leaves and stunt growth. They also spread disease. Burpee Recommends: Remove plant debris. Use insecticidal soaps. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations.

Parsley Worms: These colorful yellowish-greenish caterpillars with dotted black stripes can grow 2 inches long, will turn into black swallowtail butterflies. They feed on the foliage of parsley, carrots and dill. Burpee Recommends: Handpick. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations. There is no need to destroy all of these worms as they do not do a great deal of damage, and they turn into important pollinators for your garden.

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