Celery

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Botanical name: Apium graveolens

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Any

Soil pH: Neutral


Celery is a long-season crop that can be tricky to grow, some might say, the trickiest of all. It likes fertile soil, cool temperatures, and constant moisture. It will not tolerate heat and can be hard to transplant. Summer crops in the north and winter crops in the south make celery a year-round producer. All the work is worth it when you harvest crunchy, green stalks.

Planting

  • Celery seeds should always be started indoors for the best success rate, 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost date for your area.
  • For summer gardeners, a late summer direct sowing is possible. Be sure that temps will stay between 55 and 70ºF throughout growing period.
  • The National Gardening Association recommends soaking seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting, to reduce germination time.
  • Work organic fertilizer or compost into the soil prior to planting.
  • Harden off seedlings before transplanting by reducing water slightly, and keeping them outdoors for a couple hours a day.
  • Transplant seedlings 10 to 12 inches apart, direct sow seeds ¼ inch deep. These will need to be thinned to 12 inches apart when they reach about six inches high.
  • Mulch and water directly after planting.

Care

  • Celery is a heavy feeder. It also requires lots of water. Make sure to provide plenty of water during the entire growing season, especially during hot, dry weather.
  • If celery does not get enough water, the stalks will be dry, and small.
  • Add plenty of compost and mulch around the plants to retain moisture.
  • Fertilize regularly. Add mulch as needed, to help retain soil moisture and add nutrients.
  • Tie growing celery stalks together to keep them from sprawling.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • The parts of celery that are harvested are mainly the stalks, which will be above ground.
  • Harvest stalks from the outside in. You may begin harvesting when stalks are about 8 inches tall.
  • Celery can be kept in the garden for up to a month if soil is built up around it to maintain an ideal temperature. Note: Celery will tolerate a light frost, but not consecutive frosts.
  • Tip: The darker the stalks become, the more nutrients they will contain. Texture changes with color, dark green stalks will be tougher.
  • Keep celery in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator. It should be used within two weeks.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Utah’ good for gardeners with limited space. Will only reach 18 inches tall.
  • ‘Alfina’ slender stalks, dark green, quick variety (60 days to maturity)
  • ‘Conquistador’ is tolerant of higher temps and watering shortage.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

The ancient Romans believed that celery had healing powers, especially when it came to headaches.

Comments

why is celery so green, and

By ray conrad

why is celery so green, and many times
it is bitter? What causes this? I love good light green celery.

My father had it in the garden. He would cover the stalks with straw and then
shovel dirt against the straw.
This allowed the celery to "ripen"
more and make it tender.

Celery gets bitter from lack

By Almanac Staff

Celery gets bitter from lack of water/drought and high temperatures or being harvested in dry, hot weather. It's very important for celery to have a constant level of available moisture. I hope this helps!

tubular stalks sound like

By RICHARD DOWELL

tubular stalks sound like plants are bolting to a seed head probably caused by letting plants get to dry

I was reading this other post

By Debbie Kesler

I was reading this other post but didn't see the answer. All my celery is tube shape. Two feet tall growing like crazy, I have so much of it, I cut the stalks and tied the rest up. But can we eat this?

Celery can be challenging to

By Almanac Staff

Celery can be challenging to grow. Hollow celery is often due to lack of water, dry spells, age, or lack of nutrients. You can still eat it--or add to stews and soups.  If you bought transplants instead of growing from seed, the issues may have happened at this stage; you can always try growing from seed.

can you eat the celery seed

By lyndi

can you eat the celery seed if they are green,like in a soup?

My celery also grew a big

By Leeigh

My celery also grew a big tube, with a few stalks around the outside. It was a start of Utah celery. I ate the few outside stalks and pulled up the tubular middle and threw it in my compost. It was weird!! I am in Phoenix but this was planted in February.

When we harvest the celery we

By Peter Krzywicki

When we harvest the celery we save the leaves and put them in a plastic bag (vacuum) and freeze them. They are great to add to a chicken broth. The flavor is out of this world. You can't get the same results with store bought celery.

The celery leaves are also

By Adri

The celery leaves are also very good in salads. The bring a lot of flavor to a salad.

I live in NW Mississippi and

By rosalind

I live in NW Mississippi and successfully grew celery for two straight years from the same plant. I mixed the stalks and leaf tops into a number of foods such as tuna salad, pasta, dressing, and soups. I planted it in a composted fertile location that receives only morning sun. The nearby tansy helps keep pests away. Now I can't remembered where I found the bedding plant and have failed to locate any locally. I don't know if it was a heat tolerant variety or even if it was started from seed. Perhaps it was a highjacker from another bedding plant. I also grew, parsley, lettuce, and Swiss Chard successfully in that same bed.

This is our first time

By Rebecca Quigley

This is our first time growing celery and they are about 18" tall and really only have one main "round" stock with a few other small "limbs" coming out. It looks nothing like the celery stocks we purchase at the store. Meaning it doesn't have that crescent shape to it, it's solid and round. Did we do something wrong?

Hi, Rebecca: Without more

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Rebecca: Without more info, it's tough for Inspector Celery to tell what is going on here. Since you already have this long-season grower once this year, you may be in a climate where you can try again. Make sure your celery gets lots of water and that you follow the seed packet directions exactly. Get a couple of different types. Plant in a couple of different areas if you can -- not much, but enough to test. Most likely you didn't do anything wrong, but perhaps just didn't do everything exactly right. Keep us "posted"! We'll get the peanut butter.

Hi, I wanted to know how long

By Melaine

Hi, I wanted to know how long it takes for celery to grow? It is spring now so do you know how long it takes?

Celery will often taste

By Ken Whitten

Celery will often taste bitter right from the garden. The flavor does improve with refrigeration, sometimes for up to a week. Peeling can help stringiness. Expect a more flavorful celery when you grow it yourself.

I have a celery plant from

By Linda KBB

I have a celery plant from the local garden center. I was going to transplant into a bigger pot and leave through the winter and see how it goes. Do I have a chance? I live in Spain, Palma de Mallorca, we don't get snow, but it can get down to 10C.

Utah Celery stalks in my

By Anders

Utah Celery stalks in my garden are growing well but they are tubular. Is there a reason for this condition?

Newsflash...all you posters

By Chromaticman

Newsflash...all you posters are too talented and ambitious for me but I can say this: juice 60lbs of celery over the course of a month and drink ice cold and say goodbye to stress and nearly all your high bloodpress meds

I have planted Celery for the

By Rik Nelsonn

I have planted Celery for the first time, and everything was going well. But when I looked at my plants yesterday I saw that the stalks that are growing in the middle are turning black and rotting on the tops. It's only the ones in the middle. everything else looks fine. Can you tell me how to fix this? thanks.

This problem is called

By Almanac Staff

This problem is called Blackheart and associated with soil calcium deficiency. Usually, this happens when there's inconsistent moisture such as a drought and not enough water or rainy times with too much water. There's not a lot you can do at this point except to water consistently and mulch to conserve moisture. To avoid this problem in the future, test your soil and add gypsum or limestone if soil is calcium deficient. Also, you can plant disease-resistant varieties. Your local cooperative extension can provide a soil test.

Incorporate eggshells into

By sunnysideup85

Incorporate eggshells into the soil regularly.

I live in south mississippi

By Kenneth hollingsworth

I live in south mississippi can I grow celery here

You can also grow it indoors.

By Jessica Bateman

You can also grow it indoors. I was surprised to hear this! Here is a link on how you can, it actually works, I've done it. http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/growing-celery-indoors-never-buy-celery.html?spref=fb

I would think it might be

By Almanac Staff

I would think it might be challenging in Mississippi. Celery needs a long time to grow in mostly cool weather—usually up to 130 to 140 days. Celery enjoys cool nights around 50 degrees F and moderate daytime temps of about 60 to 70 degrees. In Mississippi, perhaps you would want to plant in late fall for harvest during mid-winter. Also, you could start the seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks (2-1/2 to 3 months) before your last frost so the plants do not need that much time out in the garden. There are varieties that mature quicker and can take the summer heat. See Johnny's Seed link below for a variety which is 80 days to maturity: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-7524-tango-og.asp 

Not true . . . I live in the

By VLizzle

Not true . . . I live in the Northeast, don't plant outside until mid-May and by August I have the best celery you can imagine and I have been growing it for years.

I live in the northwest. 40°

By darrellg

I live in the northwest. 40° north lat.
What is tour trick? Ours are skinny. Avg temp 54-72 on the coast. Not enough water? Not enough sun?

Hi... As the celery is

By Helenna Forrester

Hi... As the celery is growing, can you use the above stock leaves, as the plant is growing ?
Thank you.

Yes, you can eat celery

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can eat celery leaves--usually, people use them in soups and salds. The leaves have a slight bitter taste so they're often used as a garnish for a sharper taste. Sometimes they are substituted for parsley.

i would like ask., how do i

By Michael John C. Lozano

i would like ask., how do i apply in terms of pesticide to celery about 1 month old and above.thank you.

Michael, I grow celery every

By John M

Michael, I grow celery every year in my green house all summer and throughout winter, then outside during summer. In the greenhouse aphid and white flies are bad without treatment. I started using Bonide Eight and Pyretherine by Bonide. This has done excellent in controlling both. With most Bonide products, you can harvest the next day. Regimen is spraying twice a week.

As pesticide usage is

By Almanac Staff

As pesticide usage is different everyone, we advise you to call your county extension agent for the latest recommendations. It's important to know which pests need to be controlled. Pests of celery include aphids, leafhoppers, carrot weevils, flea beetles, leafminers, armyworms and loopers. For aphids, just use insecticidal soaps.  It is most important to control leafhoppers, a common carrier of viruses. Use floating row covers early in the season, too, and collars if cutworms are present. 

I have tried three

By fairbam

I have tried three consecutive celery plants from the base of a bunch bought at the store. They start off growing beautifully - they get tall and leafy and pretty, and then within a week after potting them (indoors), they suddenly just start falling over limp and then basically rot free from the base. What am I doing wrong? Thank you!

We've learned that celery

By Almanac Staff

We've learned that celery plants from the grocery store will not *usually" grow into a healthy, productive plant. What happens is just what you describe: Some small stalks sprout from the nutrient reserves in the basal tissues, and then the experiment comes to an end because the mother crown starts to rot. It's best to grow celery from seed as this is most natural, even though it takes a while.

Just wanted to respond. I

By sheepgal

Just wanted to respond. I grew a celery plant from the root left from a grocery purchase. I left it in a little water until the roots started then planted it outdoors. It grew well and I harvested some of the stalks but being a lazy gardener, left it in the ground over the winter. It sprouted 4 plants off the original and grew fine. I am wondering if I can divide it and replant and then do it all over again this winter. The stalks on the new plants are about 10 inches tall and 1 cm thick. I have harvested off the new plants lightly.

I am a first-time celery

By Lyndsay Haggerty

I am a first-time celery planter and after following my mother's advice, I have thriving celery plants.
Questions though: 1) Do I have to use mulch in my vegetable garden to keep them moist or would frequent watering during dry times be enough?
2) I used Miracle Grow in my water while watering the garden during the first two weeks after planting. Should I continue to mix Miracle Grow in the water?
3) Are elastics safe to use for keeping celery stalks together in the garden?
Thank you!
Lyndsay

Celery needs lots of water

By Almanac Staff

Celery needs lots of water during the hot summer months. Mulch will help keep the moisture in the soil. Celery is a heavy feeder and needs fertilizer. You can also add some compost to the soil. Elastics or rubber bands are ok to use if they are not too tight.

So if I have the second

By Nique

So if I have the second season seed stalks, do I need to do anything to them, or just let them grow and wait for next season to produce edible celery?

In response to your first

By Almanac Staff

In response to your first question ("Do I need to do anything"), you need to give them the care they need AS they grow, such as frequent irrigation--but not excessive water that might cause the roots to slow growth. And fertile muck or soil with high organic matter.
Our sources suggest that you can harvest these second-year stalks about 90 days after transplanting.
Good luck—most sources indicate that this is a challenge to grow.

Is it a perennial or should

By woody stalks

Is it a perennial or should it be replanted each season? Our second year produced nice stalks but the texture was woody - had a good taste but not very palatable.

Celery is a "biennial." It

By Almanac Staff

Celery is a "biennial." It produces edible stalks in its first year and seed stalks during the second year. It has a fairly long growing season and gets harvested about 90 days after transplanting, but if the plant were left to grow for the second year and were exposed to low temperatures, it would produce a longer stem and a seed head.

Thank you for this comment. I

By Diana Parker

Thank you for this comment. I grew a celery stalk from a store bought one last year and left it out all winter. We had a very cold winter and it stayed green all winter. This year is is full of seeds. Very bushy and pretty in my flower garden.I will let it continue to grow, and harvest the seeds and see what happens next year.

I planted celery this year in

By Richard Deschamps

I planted celery this year in my little garden for the first time. One plant is going to seed while the others are not and I was wondering why. Now I know. Thank you.

celery

By Anonymous

Thanks..enjoyed reading up on celery as I am going to plant it for the first time this season :)

delicous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Anonymous

I type I buy is almost sweet tasting.
I usually eat the stalks raw but every once in awhile steam them and then add a bit of grapeseed oil........just wonderful

seeds wont sprout

By Anonymous

I have planted about 12 peatmoss pods with celery over a month ago and the temp is at 68 and not one has even sprouted. What am I doing wrong?

celery

By Almanac Staff

You are not necessarily doing anything wrong; celery is not an easy crop to grow. You do not indicate where you are, but a temp of 68°F seems a little high, based on our sources. You also do not mention your soil conditions; celery likes lots of organic matter, which means good compost. Peat holds moisture but also brings a certain amount of acidity, which could be too much for celery, which prefers soil of neutral pH. You might consult your local extension service for specific advice for your area. We hope this helps.

growing celery and other cool weather plants

By Anonymous

I would love to grow celery and collard greens, kale and rhubarb. But all these plants don't toleerate heat and drought well, both which we will have more of with global warming. Those climate change deniers must not be gardeners.

I am an avid gardener in an

By FarmerJan

I am an avid gardener in an area where we have heat waves and then cool weather. I have successfully grown kale, celery, broccoli, and other plants that "don't tolerate heat and drought well". I also believe global warming is a farse. There goes your theory.

I'm with you on the global

By Ruby Bennett

I'm with you on the global warming lies Farmer Jan.

Belief isn't science, and the

By Aquaria

Belief isn't science, and the science is solid on global warming.

The "farse" is that our school systems are so utterly bereft of education thanks to believers rather than the reality-based that nobody knows how to distinguish science from fiction anymore.

Which is just how the deluded like it.

Hole in your ozone?

By Freddysplay

Hole in your ozone?

as a child my mom says she

By Anonymous

as a child my mom says she recalls her mom wrapping the celery with newspaper! Is this a good idea?

I wrap the top 6-8" of mine

By Elizabeth Berman

I wrap the top 6-8" of mine with a doubled over sheet of newsprint and tie it off with a piece of twine. This is called "blanching" the celery, and it works beautifully. I like newsprint best of all because it is compostable.

celery and newspaper

By Almanac Staff

Some people prefer to blanch celery because it makes it taste milder. It also turns the stalks a paler green to white, but makes them less nutritious.

To blanch, you can wrap the stalks with newspaper when the plant is about 11 to 18 inches tall, or about 10 to 20 days before harvest. Allow about 6 or so inches of the leaves to pop out of the top of the newspaper. Tie the newspaper with twine to secure it, and cover the bottom edge with black plastic and then cover with soil. (Direct contact of soil on the stalks may cause them to rot.)

Other gardeners use boards or other materials to block the light from the stalks.

Nowadays, there are self-blanching types of celery. These usually have more leaves, which, if the plants are planted in blocks, are enough to block out light to the stalks for a milder taste.

Older varieties, that offer more intense flavor, might require some form of blanching, such as the above or trenching, to reduce the bitterness.

Celery seeds

By Anonymous

Where can I purchase celery seeds?

You can find any kinds of

By Laurie Hampton

You can find any kinds of seeds at your nearest Walmart. I got mine from where my husband works.

try stems

By Anonymous

If you want to you can also buy store bought celery, cut the stalks just above the white base, then take the base and soak it in water in a sunny window. You will see shoots within a week.

try stems

By Anonymous

What do you do after the stalk grows? Can you plant it ?

try stems

By Anonymous

yep, just plant it after it start showing some roots. I have onbe in my garden coming along nicely, planted it in January, just to see what it would do, It's just loving it out there.

I have 'started' three plants

By first time grower

I have 'started' three plants of celery using the stub of previous stalks. Read an article that said this is possible. They're currently planted in a planter outside (not directly in the ground), and thus far are doing great! It didn't cost me anything to try, and I'm having fun watching them grow. They're about 4 inches high right now, so figure maybe harvestable in another couple months? Thanks for all the growing advice, now if I can just remember it all. :-)

Try talking with someone at a

By Almanac Staff

Try talking with someone at a nearby local coop or gardening center. They should have what you need to get started!

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