Parsley Leaves Turning Red (Causes and Their Solutions)

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Indoor gardeners plant Parsley for spicy green vitamins or their fragrant roots. Often, they are planted because of their bright leaves, which are green in color. Sometimes parsley leaves lose their bright color and turn red. This should not make you worried as it is a normal thing.

On some occasions, you find leaves change their color from bright green to red. This article explains the various causes and measures taken to combat Parsley leaves turning red and ways to prevent it. If the leaves turn red, it signals something is wrong, and you need to act immediately. Below are various reasons why the Parsley leaves turn red.

Parsley Leaves Turning Red (Causes and Their Solutions)

1. Inadequate phosphorousParsley Leaves Turning Red

Phosphorous is a very important nutrient for any plant to grow healthy. Inadequate phosphorus can lead to symptoms like leaves turning red. Parsley does well in organic-rich soils.

When plants lack phosphorus, they produce a pigment known as anthocyanin, which brings the reddening parsley leaves. However, other times the plant roots cannot absorb phosphorus through their roots, and in this scenario, the leaves turn red.

How to fix

You should apply phosphorous after confirming the deficiency, which means you need to do a soil test. If you supply phosphorus in excess, it may cause damage to your Parsley.

If you get inadequate phosphorous, then you feed Parsley with phosphorous. Bone meal can be a good source of phosphorous for your plant though it may be slow. Sometimes you may consider NPK fertilizers, which are readily available at your local market, or one can get them online.

2. Excess watering of the Parsley plantExcess watering of the Parsley plant

Applying excess water can change the way roots of parsley function. This makes the roots not to uptake necessary nutrients. The excessive moisture makes the roots rot. This makes Parsley roots not to uptake phosphorous even when they are abundantly found in the soil and other required nutrients for the healthy growth of the plant.

How to fix

After confirming you have applied excess water, you need not worry since it’s easy to fix. To fix this problem, you need to wait until the plant pot becomes dry for a few days. The next step is to remove the plant and look at it carefully. Take out enough soil and observe them keenly. In case you find symptoms of any rot root, cut off the affected part of the roots. After that, you disinfect them by sprinkling charcoal. Once done, change the soil and put it in a clean container which you will have cleaned using hot water.

3. Use of compacted soil Use of compacted soil

Over some time, your soil container may compact; this makes the permeability of air decrease. Also, infiltration of water becomes hard. 

When Parsley fails to get adequate oxygen and water through its roots system, then roots end up suffocating due to lack of oxygen which is necessary. The roots also fail to absorb the available nutrients. Lack of essential nutrients will make the leaves change their original green color to yellow, brown, or red.

How to fix

Make the soil loose and make sure you don’t go deeper than 1-1.5 cm. you also try to ensure that you do not damage the roots that happen to be close to the surface. Continuous loosening of soil in the pot does away with the compactness in the top part of the soil.

Evaporation of water from the top layer of soil goes down. As a result, water infiltrates into the root area. By doing this, your Parsley will be able to absorb the available nutrients.

4. Lack of enough waterLack of enough water

Lack of enough water makes the plant not function normally, and then it will show some symptoms. If it lacks water, the plant will not be able to trap nutrients from the soil. This is because the nutrients are available in a water-soluble form.

How to fix

This means that an adequate supply of water will solve the problem. Ensure that no water is stagnant. For Parsley, stagnant water is not good. Settle for tap water or water that is filtered for irrigation. The soil should be left to dry then water again. During the summer season, there is a need for more frequent watering than at other times. In the winter season, watering should be reduced.  During this season, Parsley remains at rest.

5. Soil pHSoil pH

Acidic soil is quite best for Parsley. The recommended PH for Parsley growing ranges from 6.0 to 7.0. In this range, absorption of necessary nutrients is properly done. When there are no sufficient nutrients, the parsley leaves will turn red.

How to fix

Soil PH is fixed by first testing it. A PH test kit is used to carry out the test. Each plant has its preferred PH ranges. If you realize that the soil is too acidic, there is a need to increase the PH. A simple way of doing this is using wood fire ashes spread on the soil. We can also call this liming of the soil. Deoxidizing the soil can also be done using limestone.

6. Excessive lightExcessive light

For photosynthesis to take place, the light will be required. Though, intensive direct light will make the leaves of parsley turn red. This will be observed during the spring on the old leaves.

How to Fix

In such a case, a Parsley pot should be kept under a shade. When the weather is sunny, water the Parsley more often. Ensure that the soil does not get dry. Fertilizer will also be essential for the provision of nutrients.

7. Parsley DiseasesParsley Diseases

There are various fungal and bacterial diseases and can usually cause serious damage. These diseases can cause leaves to turn red or cause stunted growth. The two diseases that cause damage to Parsley are stolbur phytoplasma and root rot.

How to fix

These diseases can be prevented in different ways. First, if some parts of the plant are already infected, they should be removed. Second, fungicides are also useful, and they are available in the market.

Diseases can be avoided by ensuring that proper care is applied and ensuring that there is good drainage. The plant should be inspected often to remove the damaged parts so that they do infect others. Parsley should be kept in a place that has proper ventilation.

Moreover, crop rotation will help reduce diseases and pests. The containers should be disinfected before planting. It will also be important to fertilize the soil with phosphorus and potash.

Thinning of the plant will also reduce the likelihood of major diseases. Parsley should be treated with soapy water. This normally destroys pests and aphids that make the plants weak.


Just like any other plant, Parsley needs to be well taken care of. All the causes of the leaves turning red, as discussed above, have different ways of being fixed. Therefore it is quite necessary to apply the principle of prevention is better than cure. Providing adequate water, checking on the PH of the soil, adequate phosphorus, and avoiding excess watering will help Parsley not turn red at any given time.

Various other solutions could include checking and ensuring that the plant does not get direct sunlight, loosening the soil to avoid compaction, and dealing with preventive measures for diseases. When the plant is well-groomed, receives all the nutrients required, Parsley will rarely get sick. When leaves get redone, you should not panic but find a way of fixing the problem.