How to Grow Parsnips in Containers | A Getting Started Guide from Expert


If you’ve never cultivated vegetable roots inside containers, this is the perfect time to grow parsnips in containers. Parsnips belong to the Apiaceous family, the same as carrots and parsley. However, they’re often overlooked in favor of their bright-orange counterpart. But they shouldn’t. Like carrots, we also eat the taproots of the parsnip plants, Pastiness Sativa. In my opinion, parsnips possess an earthy-sweet flavor that is reminiscent of the essence of autumn.

The tutorial on growing and harvesting parsnips includes all the information you need to know about how to grow these root vegetables inside the garden of your garden. In this article, we’ll discuss everything about how to grow parsnips in containers about this biennial plant, which typically grows to maturity as an annual. Are you looking to reduce the space in your backyard and cultivate this delicious vegetable? Let’s get started.

A brief overview of parsnips 

Parsnips thrive in USDA zones 2 to 9. They ideally suit soils with a pH of 6.0 and 7.0, and they prefer loose, loamy soil. When grown annually, one parsnip plant is only spread about eight inches and is 10 to 15 inches high. The taproot is between 12 and 15 inches long and ranges from one to four inches in diameter. Sometimes, they are larger.  But smaller ones tend to be sweeter. The majority of plants produce delicious taproots that are suitable for consumption between 90 to 120 days. Since the time of antiquity, the plant has been in the wild as well. 

Everyone believes that it has originated in Europe or somewhere in Europe and/or Asia.  This condition makes the skin extra sensitive to sunlight. Always use gloves when handling the parsnip’s tops, as phytophotodermatitis can cause swelling, redness, and skin blisters. Avoid foraging for parsnips in the wild since they are considered invasive in certain states and can be mistaken for the poisonous hemlock. If you wish to plant your own in pots, make sure to get seeds from a reputable nursery.

How to grow parsnips in containers

The most significant benefit of growing root vegetables within containers is the simple fact that they do not need to consume space in the garden. Perhaps you have a tiny space, and a traditional landscape isn’t practical. Still, now you can establish a container garden on your deck, patio, or even you’re apartment balcony. Another benefit of growing vegetables in containers is managing the quality and composition of the soil. Parsnips cannot thrive in clay, compacted, or rocky soil; therefore, you can be sure that when you plant them in a container, your roots will develop straight. They won’t be navigating through rocks and become all spindly and twisty. In the end, I don’t really know what you think. If I don’t maintain my garden, weeds grow out in a flash. If you want to grow parsnips in containers helps make the process of weeding shorter and less time-consuming.

Read more: How to grow grass in sandy soil

Choosing the right container 

Because taproots can be up to 12-15 inches or even longer with certain varieties, you can easily grow parsnips in containers that are at least 15 or twenty inches wide. We suggest only choosing varieties that can grow to a maximum of 15 inches in length. Parsnips thrive in pots made from a range of different materials, including resin, wood, and stone are just three choices. The selection is based on your style and preference. You can use terra cotta planters; however, they can break in frost when exposed.

In addition to the depth of the pot, the most important aspect is that the container you select must have drainage holes so that taproots won’t become wet and cause fungal problems. Make sure you select an expansive container so that multiple roots have enough space to spread and grow. The rectangular or square planters are ideal for maximizing the number of plants you can plant in a single pot. For instance, a square pot that measures 20 inches by 20 inches could possibly support 16 plants. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate larger cultivars.

Planting your parsnips

Parsnips are a cool-weather crop that thrives in temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees F. They can also withstand temperatures of up to 75 degrees. Extremely hot weather can hinder their growth and cause bitter, hard roots. The seeds need temperatures of between 59 and 77degF to begin to sprout. It is important to utilize a new pack of seeds when you transplant parsnips because they are only viable for a year.

Step 1

In Zones 2-6, Parsnips are planted in spring after frost danger. They can be sown indoors before your typical last frost date if you want. In Zones 7 to 9, you can sow seeds outside in September or early October to harvest in the latter part of winter or early spring. You may be able to achieve this if you reside in zone 10 and plant seeds outside in the latter part of November or December. Be sure that the soil is well-drained and loose. Fill the container you have chosen with commercial potting soil or a mixture of one-third topsoil, well-rotted one-third manure, and one-third peat moss. Make sure to leave at least an inch between the line of soil and the top of your container.

Step 2

For sowing the seeds, create half-inch-deep holes in the potting medium, spacing them approximately four inches apart and then dropping up to three seeds into the medium. Parsnip seeds are known for their difficult germination rate. This could help increase your chances of success without taking up the entire container. Then, you can scatter seeds onto the soil’s surface by pressing them down for about 1/2 inch. They’ll require thinning them to approximately 4 inches later. Make sure to water them in and ensure that the soil remains damp until germination occurs. Seeds can take some time to grow. Don’t discourage when you don’t see life indicators immediately. Seedlings can take as long as three weeks to sprout from the soil!

Step 3

When the seedlings have grown, then it’s time to transfer the container to an area that gets the full sun, If you haven’t before. When the seedlings reach 4 inches tall and have at least one set of genuine leaves on them, cut them down until they’re all able to have three or an inch of room between the two. If you see multiple seedlings emerge from each hole, you can pinch or cut off the weaker, smaller seedling. Do not pull it away in case it disturbs the developing taproot.

How to Grow parsnips

Parsnips love to stay wet, but the soil should not be saturated with water. So there are lots of benefits to growing parsnips in containers. Provide them with at least one full watering each week, even if there isn’t any rain. Make sure that the water drains at the top of your container. Do not use overhead watering to keep the plant as dry as you can. Every couple of days, you should check the soil moisture level using your fingers. If it’s dry, just one inch below is the time to give it another round of deep watering.

Keep in mind that soil inside containers can dry out faster than the soil of a conventional garden in the soil. You can also use a moisture meter to get a more precise reading. It is possible to add organic mulch to the plants to keep the moisture. Fertilize using an organic or low-nitrogen fertilizer approximately two months following the time of germination. Over-nitrogen can lead to abundant leafy tops, paired with root systems that are weak or not developed. Take care to eliminate any weeds that have made their way into your planter since they can be a threat to water and nutrients.

Harvesting and preserving

If you’d like your vegetables to be sweet and rich in flavor, make sure they’ve had exposure to at minimum one light frost before you begin harvesting them. Better if you put the plants in pots for a couple of days or for a couple of weeks of sub-zero temperatures. The cold causes the starch inside the roots to change into sugar to give them an additional tasty flavor. The plants will be ready for harvest between 95 and 115 days after germination, depending on the type of plant. The information will be in your seed packet. To harvest your delicious roots, don gloves and wear a long-sleeved t-shirt to shield your skin from sap in the leaves.

Take off any tops leaving a few inches of leaves, then remove them. Use a garden knife to loosen all the dirt around the root. Take the top of the root and gently pull it out from the soil. Clean the dirt from each root, put them in a plastic bag, then place them within your refrigerator’s crisper drawer of the refrigerator, where they’ll remain for three weeks. The roots can be frozen by cutting them into your desired shape. Then, you can flash boil them for three minutes, slamming the pieces with an ice bath to ensure that they cease cooking, and then draining the ice bath. After that, place them in one pile on top of a baking tray and keep them frozen for three hours. Place the frozen pieces in zip-top freezer bags. You can store them on the counter for up to a year.


  • At minimum once per week when there’s no chance of rain and then check the water levels every couple of days.
  • Mulch is a great way to retain moisture.
  • Fertilize two months after germination.


If you’ve never cultivated these distinctive vegetable roots, I’m sure your mouth is gurgling with excitement right now. If you start to grow parsnips in containers, it helps to save space in your garden and lets you ensure they have the proper soil conditions for these delicious, sweet roots. A close-up horizontal picture of parsnips is placed on a wooden floor inside the backyard. Have you ever cultivated these roots previously? We’d love to hear about your stories and questions in the comments section below.

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