Swallowtail caterpillar on parsley ©Janet AllenSwallowtail caterpillar on parsley

For purposes of our edible garden we grow parsley to use as a garnishment in food dishes. But parsley is also one of the host plants for the black swallowtail butterfly. So in our yard it serves a dual purpose.

Black swallowtail butterflies will lay their eggs on parsley (as well as some other plants). Some people call them "parsley worms" and think they're a pest, but we gladly share our parsley and dill with these beautiful creatures! We just plant extras.

(See more about how we raise these butterflies in Our Habitat Garden.)

Besides using parsley in regular recipes, we also make parsley pesto, sometimes mixed with basil, but sometimes just plain parsley.

We also find that it freezes well so we try to grow as much as possible so we have enough for using fresh, for making pesto, and for freezing. And, of course, enough for the butterflies!

Flat-leaf parsley ©Janet AllenFlat-leaf parsley

This is the flat-leaf parsley, but we usually grow the curly variety.

Parsley border ©Janet Allen
Border of parsley

Parsley can be attractive planted in a border. We did this long ago, when we still had some expendable space in our yard. At the time, I wasn't aware that black swallowtail butterflies used this as a host plant, but now I imagine that this little border raised at least a few swallowtails!

Harvest record

YR LB Notes
14 7
13 6 We make parsley pesto and also freeze it for use throughout the winter
12 5
11 0
10 4
09 3