Growing Celery

Celery has a reputation for being a fussy, hard-to-grow vegetable. There’s a lot of truth to that, but with the right climate and some care, you can grow large, tender plants. A dozen plants will take up five or six feet of row, and it’s worth trying.

A Long Season Crop

Celery is challenging because it needs a long time to grow – up to 130 or 140 days of mostly cool weather – and it’s quite demanding when it comes to water and fertilizer. ‘Utah 52-70R Improved’ is a good, well-adapted variety. If your soil stays moist and has plenty of organic matter in it, you’re in good shape for growing celery. Shut off the water supply even for a short time, however, and you’re in trouble.

The roots of celery plants are limited, usually stretching just six to eight inches away from the plant and only two to three inches deep, so the top part of the soil not only has to have enough moisture, it must also contain all the nutrients the plants need.

Keep Celery Cool

Celery plants don’t like hot weather at all. The crop will thrive only where the winters are mild, or where the summers are relatively cool, or where there’s a long, cool growing period in the fall.

Getting Started

Because celery takes such a long time to grow, in most parts of the country it’s best to start the seeds in plant boxes or flats indoors to get a jump on the season. Celery seeds are slow to germinate, so soak them overnight to speed up the process. Plant them indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost. When the plants are two inches tall, transplant them to individual peat pots or to another, deeper, flat with new potting soil. If you use flats, put the plants at least two inches apart.


Transplant celery to the garden as early as a week or two before the last frost date. Plants should be four to six inches high when you set them out. Be sure to harden plants off first for a week to 10 days to get them used to spring weather. It the weather turns cold after you set your celery out (night temperatures consistently under 55° F for about two weeks), the plants may go to seed prematurely. But because of the need for a long growing season, it’s often worth the gamble to set at least some plants out early.

To transplant celery, first work the soil, mixing in the fertilizer (about one pound of 5-10-10 per 30 square feet). Remove some of the outside leaves from each plant before setting them in. As with head lettuce, this trimming helps the roots recover from the transplant shock and resume normal growth more quickly.

Space the plants about eight inches apart, setting them a little deeper than they were growing in the flat. Mulch the plants after they’re about six inches tall to help keep the soil moist and roots cool. It will also help to keep down weeds, which is important because celery grows slowly and doesn’t appreciate any competition from weeds. If you don’t mulch, be careful not to weed too deeply near plants. Celery has a shallow root system that can be harmed by deep cultivation.

Fertilizing and Watering

Sidedressings of 5-10-10 or a similar balanced fertilizer or manure tea in the second and third month of growth will help keep celery growing steadily. Use one tablespoon per plant and sprinkle it in a shallow furrow three to four inches from the plant and cover it with soil. Continue to apply manure tea weekly as you water the plants.

Give your plants plenty of water. If celery is short on moisture, or a hot spell hits, the stalks get tough and stringy. They can also develop hollow or pithy stalks in dry spells.

When celery gets big enough to eat, start harvesting the larger, outer stalks as you need them. The center will keep producing stalks. To harvest big plants at the end of the season, simply pull up the whole plant and trim off the roots.


Unblanched celery has a deeper green color and a stronger flavor than blanched celery, and it’s higher in nutrition. If you prefer the taste of blanched celery, try one of the self-blanching varieties, such as ‘Golden Self-Blanching’. To blanch celery, open the tops and bottoms of half-gallon milk cartons and use them as “sleeves.” Set the cartons over the plants a week, 10 days or even longer before you want to harvest. The color of the stalks will lighten, and their flavor will become milder.

Some people place boards close along each side of the row to blanch celery. Others simply bring soil or mulch up around the plant to block out the sun, although this method may let dirt fall into the interior of the stalks, making them hard to clean. Plants should be dry if blanched with soil or else they may rot.

There’s no need to blanch the top leaves, of course, just the stalks.


Celery stores really well – you can keep it for many weeks with no trouble. Dig up the plants carefully, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Replant them in boxes of sand in your root cellar or set them close together in a trench in your cold frame where you can keep them from freezing. As long as the roots stay moist and the stalks dry, they’ll really keep. Temperatures in the range of 35F to 40F are best for good storage.

How to Regrow Celery ~ from kitchen scraps

We have a small backyard garden and we love to grow our own food. Growing celery seems too fussy until I found this post. We always have a celery stalk in the fridge, and until now the base has been simply discarded to the chickens. No longer! Ready to learn how regrowing celery works?

Sustainable Food Scraps ~ gardening with kids

Simply chop the base from the celery stalk, leaving about 2 inches. Place it in a dish of water in a sunny location. Something that easy sounds too good to be true. But that is all you need to do.

Notice how yellow the center leaves are. That is the area that we will be watching for growth.

You will start noticing changes quickly. After just a couple days in the water, you should see the celery’s center leaves starting to grow. No roots will be visible yet.

After just 1 week, the center leaves should change color and starting to poke up a little bit. Still no roots at this point.

Make your own mini green house

Since our house does not have wonderful sunny windows for growing plants. So we resorted to creating a mini green house, and taking the celery outside. The weather is warming up, but it is still cool outside at nights. The inverted plastic box helped to regulate the temperature and keep it moist. Notice all the moisture on the side of the container. This is also a great way to start seeds, but just make sure you are checking on your plants/seeds, so they don’t get too hot or dry out.

Our celery has been growing in only water for three weeks. We are just getting aroung to transplanting it into soil. This step could be done sooner. I am amazed at how little attention our little celery plant needed. Which is perfect for our house:)

Notice the difference between the 3 week old celery plant and the “new” celery base. There is no growth on the new plant yet, but it will happen really quickly!

We finally transplanted our little celery and he is so happy! I am curious how long it will take before our little celery plants are ready to be eaten.

Tips for growing Celery:

  • Celery does not grow well in hot conditions, so make sure you give your celery plant adequate water and shade during the hottest part of the day. If your plant does not receive enough water, it will become tough and stringy. YUCK! So keep your plant hydrated!
  • You can remove only a few stalks of celery at a time. No need to harvest the whole plant. When doing this, make sure you remove the outer stalks first and let the less developed inner stalks continue growing. Take care not to damage the rest of the plant if removing individual stalks.

The kids love snacking on celery, so we are really excited to see how it tastes! They think it will be AMAZING to run out to the garden and “sneak” a celery stalk. There is something about growing your own food that is really satisfying!

You also might want to try our simple tutorial on how to Regrow Lettuce.

For more ways to encourage kids to garden, check out our:

Gourd Surprise

How to Grow Sprouts on a Sponge

27 DIY Garden Markers

Starting Seeds

Regrow Lettuce

How to grow: Celery

At a glance

Ease of culture: Difficult
Where: All regions
Best climate: Cool conditions
When: Cool and temperate – late winter/early spring, late summer/early autumn; Subtropical – April to August; Tropical – April to July
Spacing: 20-25cm
Harvest: 14 weeks
pH: 5.8-6.8


• Celery likes moderate conditions – not too hot and not too cold. It hates frost and extreme heat.
• In cool and temperate regions, sow late winter to early spring, and again in late summer to early autumn.
• In frost-free sub-tropical zones, sow mid-autumn (April) to early spring (August).
• In the tropics, plant seed from April to July.


• Celery will thrive in full-sun or part shade
• Strong winds can damage and dry out plants, so choose a protected spot.


• Celery is a shallow-rooted plant with a high demand for water and nutrients.
• It grows best in a moist but well-drained soil that is organically rich.
• Add a minimum of a half-barrow load of compost or well-rotted manure per square metre and work it into the top 10-15 cm layer of soil. This will help improve drainage and retain moisture around the root zone.
• Spread a handful of balanced organic fertiliser evenly per square and work that in too.
• Mound the soil to further improve drainage and water it well, then leave it for a week before planting out seedlings.


• Raising your own celery plants from seed is slow and fiddly. If you’re new to gardening, buy seedlings from your nursery. This is also a good option for gardeners in warm areas where the growing season is short and you need to get plants in the ground quickly.
• Celery seed takes 2-3 weeks to germinate.
• The ideal temperature for germination is 15-21°C.
• Before sowing, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. This will improve germination.
• The seeds are tiny, so don’t bury them. Sprinkle them over punnets of seed-raising and lightly press them into the surface.
• Water lightly and carefully, and keep the mix constantly moist until the seeds germinate.
• Once seedlings are big enough to handle, prick them out gently and plant them individually into small pots.
• Fertilise them once a week with a weak solution of seaweed and fish emulsion to kick them along.
• Seedlings take about 6 weeks to be big enough to plant out.
• When they’re ready to plant, space them 20-25cm apart in a block.

Watering and fertilising

• Keep celery well watered to avoid stress.
• Celery needs to be fed regularly. Fortnightly applications of liquid seaweed and fish emulsion will keep plants kicking along.
• Water and nutrient stress leads to dry, fibrous stalks.
• Mulch plants well to help hold moisture in the soil and reduce weed competition

Box: Blanching

Dark green celery can be quite bitter to taste. This is okay for cooking, but many people find it unpleasant to eat raw. Excluding light from the stems or “blanching” will produce paler stalks that are much sweeter. When plants are a decent size (close to harvesting), tie the stalks loosely then wrap the stems with thick newspaper, leaving the leaves sticking out at the top. The stalks will be pale and ready to harvest in around 2-3 weeks.


Celery bunches can be harvested whole (after 14 weeks) or, if you prefer, you can harvest individual stalks as you need them. This extends the harvest season.

How to Regrow New Celery from Scraps

Want to try your hand at growing some of your own food? You can start with something as simple as giving new life to an everyday kitchen scrap. I’ll show you how easy it is to regrow celery from the root end of the bunch.

Image zoom Photo by Vanessa Greaves

It’s an edible DIY even apartment-dwellers can do, and it’s a good way to teach kids about where food comes from.

How to Regrow Celery at Home

1. Cut off the end

Slice about 2 inches off the root end of a bunch of celery. Optional: Insert 4 toothpicks equally spaced around the celery, about 1 ½ inches from the bottom.

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

2. Place in water.

Set the celery in a shallow glass bowl or jar. Fill with enough water to submerge an inch of the root end. Place the bowl or jar where it can get good natural light for several hours a day. I placed my bowl near a kitchen window with east light so it wouldn’t get harsh and hot at midday. Change the water every couple of days, making sure the celery root end is always submerged.The optional toothpicks are to keep the celery from touching the bottom of the bowl. I’ve tried regrowing celery in water without suspending the root end off the bottom, but found that the outer stalks rot more quickly.

3. Watch it grows.

After a few days, you should start seeing small leaves emerging from the very center of the top. In about a week, you may see small stalks and leaves. The cut stalks around the outer base may start deteriorating and turning brown. Don’t panic—this is normal. But if you leave the celery in water for too much longer, the outer stalks will get serious rot, so it’s best to plant before that happens.

4. Replant in soil.

You can plant the celery in potting soil or directly into your garden. If you use potting soil, choose a mix without pesticides, and suitable for vegetables and herbs. Make a hole deep and wide enough to hold the plant from the root end up to the cut end. Set the celery into the soil, making sure there’s no air pocket below the root end. Gently fill in and tamp the surrounding soil so a bit of the cut end and all of the emerging leaves and stalks are above the soil. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Celery thrives in cool weather and rich soil, so give it shade in the hottest part of the day and feed it to replenish nutrients. Rodale has great tips for growing celery in your garden.

Image zoom Celery Growing in the Garden

Update: The experiment worked! This scrappy little guy grew into a full-size, deeply flavorful celery plant with long stalks and large leaves. I harvest stalks by snapping off the outer ribs and letting the inside grow. I also harvest leaves to use in salads, soups, etc. I have to tell you, it’s just so satisfying to regrow something I used to throw away.

Must read: 5 Smart Ways to Use Up Celery Leaves Instead of Throwing Them Away


Learn how to grow an endless supply of fresh green onions from scraps.

Get more cooking tips and awesome food finds.

Regrowing Celery: How To Plant Celery Bottoms In The Garden

When you use celery, you use the stalks and then discard the base, right? While the compost pile is a good place for those unusable bottoms, an even better idea is planting the celery bottoms. Yes indeed, regrowing celery from the previously useless base is a fun, economical way to reduce, reuse and recycle what used to be waste. Keep reading to find out how to plant celery bottoms.

How to Plant Celery Bottoms

Most plants grow from seeds, but some grow tubers, stem cuttings or bulbs. In the case of celery, the plant will actually regenerate from the base and regrow new stalks. This process is called vegetative propagation and it doesn’t only apply to rooting celery from the base. Although the process is a little different, beets, romaine, sweet potatoes and even herbs like garlic, mint and basil can all be vegetatively propagated.

A cool weather crop, celery (Apium graveolens) often fails to thrive in the hotter zones of USDA 8-10. No worries though; you can begin growing celery bottoms indoors on your windowsill until late in summer when they can be moved outdoors for a fall harvest. At that time, you can harvest only the stalks or pull the entire plant up, use the stalks and then replant the base again.

To begin regrowing celery, cut the bottom root from the stalks, about 2-3 inches. Put the base in a jar and fill it up partway with water. Put the jar in a window that gets good light. Soon, you will see small roots and the beginnings of green leafy stalks. At this point, it is time to get it in the garden or into a pot with some soil.

If you’re using a pot for planting the celery bottoms, fill it to an inch from the top with potting soil, make a hollow in the center and push the celery bottom down into the soil. Pack additional soil around the base of the root and water until it is damp. Put it in an area with at least six hours of sun per day and keep it moist. You can continue to grow the celery in the pot until the weather cooperates and then move it into the garden.

If you are going to move the rooting celery from the base directly into the garden, work some compost into the soil prior to planting. Choose a cool area of the garden if you are in a warmer region. Celery likes it cool with very fertile and wet soil. Set the celery 6-10 inches apart in rows that are spaced 12 inches apart. Pat the soil up gently around the bases and water in well. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, throughout its growing season. Side dress the rows with additional compost and work it gently into the soil.

You can begin to harvest your celery when you see stalks that are about 3 inches long appearing appear from the center of the root. Cutting them actually encourages new growth. Keep harvesting just stalks or allow the stalks to mature and then pull the entire plant. Cut the stalks from the root base and start all over again for a continuous supply of crunchy, delicious celery.


Regrowing celery from stalks in the fridge is a fun and productive way to use the stem ends of celery. You’ll see remarkable results in days and if you want, you can transplant the celery outdoors and have a great harvest at the end of the growing season.

Celery ends are another kitchen scrap that you can regrow quite successfully just like green onions and romaine lettuce. If you’re like us, you go through a few celery bunches and can have a whole collection like we do here – a fresh cut stalk, one that’s been in water for couple of weeks and one that’s been potted.

Step by Step Instructions for Regrowing Celery

1. Eat celery stalks, cutting the stalks at about 1 to 2 inches from the bottom.

2. Place remaining stem in a shallow dish of water (about 1/2 inch).

3. Place on a window sill or under grow lights.

4. Change water every 1 to 2 days.

5. Watch the celery grow new shoots. Also notice that the color of the celery deepens to a lovely green. As the center grows, you’ll want to peel back and discard some of the outer layers as they start to decay.

6. If you look at the bottom of your celery, you may see roots develop as well. A good sign that you can transplant your celery to a pot or into the garden.

How cool is that? I’ve done this several times and am always impressed by how quickly the celery turns green and starts sprouting new shoots. If you don’t want to go any further than this step – that’s fine. Use these greens in soups or salads for a fresh flavor burst.

After about 20 days, take the celery out of the water, strip off some of the yucky outer layers that don’t have any growth and plant the celery in a pot of soil. I’m actually not sure how long the celery would continue to grow in just water, I’ve always put it in soil after at around 20 days figuring it must need nutrients at some point.

Transplanting Celery Outdoors

Last year, I transplanted two celery plants I had regrown from stalks outside.

They grew into giant plants, I was so impressed! Here’s a look at mid-summer.

Here’s one of the plants at the end of the summer.

Whether you grow celery from seed, from fridge scraps or from greenhouse transplants, celery needs a lot of consistent watering to turn into crunchy, delicious stalks. If it doesn’t get enough water as it is growing, it will be tough and taste quite sharp. So water your celery frequently and deeply for best flavor, if not the celery will still be quite tasty in soups and other recipes.

Growing green things on my windowsill from kitchen scraps brightens the long winter days. Here’s our latest fridge grown romaine lettuce head.

I’d love to hear your experience regrowing things from the fridge.

Other posts on regrowing kitchen scraps including my earlier, less successful attempts:

How to Regrow Romaine Lettuce from the Stem

Growing Green Onions from the Fridge

Will you try regrowing celery from the stalk end? Let me know how things go if you do.

Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.

Celery First Used as a Medicine

Celery (Apium graveolens) is believed to be the same plant as selinon, mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey about 850 B.C. Our word “celery” comes from the French celeri, which is derived from the ancient Greek word. The old Roman names, as well as those in many modern languages, are derived from the same root word and sound remarkably similar. This indicates a rather recent wide distribution and use of celery.

Smallage, a plant now cultivated in gardens for flavoring purposes, is apparently “wild” celery, the plant that has been known as celery in the Mediterranean countries for thousands of years. Wild celery grows in wet places over Europe, the Mediterranean lands, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and southeastward toward the Himalayas. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area. Chinese writings of the 5th century after Christ mention it.

Europeans “Tamed” the Wild Celery

The oldest record of the word celeri is in a 9th-century poem written in France or Italy, giving the medicinal uses and merits of the plant. When its culture in gardens was begun in the 16th century in Italy and northern Europe, it was still a primitive plant, like smallage, and was used for medicinal purposes only.

In France in 1623 use of celery as food was first recorded. For about a hundred years thereafter its food use was confined to flavorings. In France and Italy, by the middle of the 17th century, the little stalks and leaves were sometimes eaten with an oil dressing.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, in Italy, France, and England, were seen the first evidences of improvement of the wild type. Gardeners also found that much of the too-strong flavor could be eliminated, making the stalks better for salad use, by growing the plants in late summer and fall, then keeping them into the winter.

By the mid-18th century in Sweden, the wealthier families were enjoying the wintertime luxury of celery that had been stored in cellars. From that time on, its use as we know it today spread rapidly. We do not know what group of European colonists brought it to America, or when, but four cultivated varieties were listed here in 1806.

All through the 19th century in America, England, and much of Europe, it was believed necessary to blanch the green edible portion of celery to rid it of unpleasantly strong flavor and green color. This was done by banking the plants with soil. Some kinds, like Pascal and Utah, that remain green when ready for eating, are now considered to be of the finest quality.

Many so-called “easy-blanching” or “self-blanching” varieties have appeared in the past 50 years. Generally, these self-blanching sorts are inferior in quality to the best green varieties, but can be grown successfully under less favorable conditions of soil and climate.

Celeriac, or turnip-rooted celery, is a kind that forms a greatly enlarged, solid, more or less globular body just below the soil surface. It is not used raw, but is especially suited for use in soups and stews.

Celeriac was developed from the same wild species as were our present improved varieties of celery, and at about the same time. About 1600, Italian and Swiss botanists gave the first descriptions of it. A hundred years later it was becoming common in Europe, but was hardly known in England. It has never become highly popular in England or the United States, but is a common vegetable all over Europe.

Parsley Was Thought To Prevent Intoxication

Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) belongs to the same family as celery, and its Latin name reveals a relationship to the very old Greek selinon mentioned above. In the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. the Greek word definitely meant “parsley.” The Latin Petroselinum means “rock parsley,” referring to its habit of growing in rocky places. The plant is native to the same area as celery.

In contrast to celery, parsley has a long and definite ancient history as a food plant. It was well known as a flavoring and garnish by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who even used it in festive garlands. Eating it was supposed to ward off intoxication!

Both the crowded, dense-leaved type and the broad open-growing type were described by Theophrastus in the 4th century 13 B.C. The curled and plain types were common to the Romans in the 1st century or before and in northern Europe in the 13th century.

Parsley supposedly was introduced into England from Sardinia in 1548. European colonists brought it to America in the 17th century.

Parsley, like celery, produces a “turnip-rooted” form, commonly called Hamburg parsley, which is used in the same way as celeriac.

Food Articles, News & Features Section


See also: Celery Facts ; Celery Root or Celeriac ; Celery Trivia ;
Celery Kitchen Tips ; Celery Quotes

Common Types of Celery Worldwide:

CELERY, Apium graveolens L. var. dulce, Other names: Stalk celery.
Grown in North America and temperate Europe for it’s succulent petioles.
CELERIAC, Apium graveolens L. var. rapaceum
Other names: Celery root or knob celery.
Grown in Northern and Eastern Europe for it’s enlarged root or hypocotyl.

SMALLAGE, Apium graveolens L. var. secalinum
Other names: Leaf celery
Grown in Asia and Mediterranean regions for its leaves and seeds.

What’s in a name?

Apium: from the German Eppich. Graveolens: from the Latin Gravis “grave, heavy” and Olens “smelling” from the verb olere. The Greek writer Homer referred to celery as “selinon”. The Latin name was “selinun” and the French name “celeri” is similar to the name we use today.

Eat Some History:

Celery is believed to be originally from the Mediterranean basin. Ancient literature documents that celery, or a similar plant form, was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C. It’s claimed medicinal purposes were probably attributable to it’s volatile oils, contained in all portions, but mostly the seed. During ancient times Ayurvedic physicians used celery seed to treat the following conditions: colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, various types of arthritis, and liver and spleen ailments. Woven garlands of wild celery are reported to have been found in early Egyptian tombs.

Celery was considered a holy plant in the classical period of Greece and was worn by the winners of the Nemean Games, similar to the use of bay leaves at the Olympic Games. The Nemean Games were conducted every second year, starting in 573, in the small city of Nemea in southern Greece in the Poloponnes peninsula.
The Romans valued celery more for cooking than for religion although much superstition was connected with it. The celery plant was thought to bring bad fortune under certain circumstances.

Although celery is thought to be from the Mediterranean, indigenous “wild” relatives of celery are found in southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California and southernmost portions of South America. However it is doubtful that it’s center of origin was that extensive.
The Italians domesticated celery as a vegetable in the 17th century resulting in selections with solid stems. Early stalk celery had a tendency to produce hollow stalks. After years of domestication, selection eliminated this characteristic as well as bitterness and strong flavors. Early growers found that the naturally strong flavors could be diminished if grown in cooler conditions and also if blanched. Blanching is the practice of pushing dirt up around the base of the stalks to prevent sunlight from turning the stalks green.
There are two types of stalk celery varieties, self-blanching or yellow, and green or Pascal celery. In North America green stalk celery is preferred and mainly eaten raw although it is also eaten cooked. In Europe and the rest of the world self-blanching varieties are preferred. Celeriac is very popular in Europe where it is eaten cooked or raw. Smallage is grown in Eastern Europe and Asia for it’s seed as well as to use the aromatic leaves to flavor cooked food and to garnish plates. In some areas celery and celery seed is consumed to treat high blood pressure. Celeriac is becoming popular as a part of trendy American gourmet eating.

Currently California harvests about 23,500 acres per year, Florida 3,500 acres per year, Texas 1,200 acres per year, Michigan 3,000 acres per year, and Ohio less than 50 acres per year. California harvests year-round, Florida harvest from December to May, Texas from December to April, Michigan and Ohio from July thru September. Per capita consumption of celery is about 9 to 10 pounds per person annually. (2004)
California Celery Research Advisory Board –

Celery Seed
© Denzil Green

Celery Seed doesn’t actually come from the same celery plant that we eat.

The ancestor of celery is a plant called “Smallage” or “Wild Celery.” It is still grown in its own right in Asia, where they prefer the stronger flavour. From Smallage, two descendants evolved with the help of man. “Stem Celery”, the celery that we eat for its stalks, and “Celeriac”, the celery that we eat for its roots.

The seeds are taken from Smallage. Smallage produces white flowers in its second year, and then seeds. One acre of plants will produce around 500 pounds (225 kg.) Reputedly, it takes 760,000 seeds to weigh 1 pound (450g.)

Very little seed is produced in North America; most is imported from Asia.

Celery seeds are brown and very small in size. They have a powerful celery flavour with a tinge of bitterness, so use sparingly.

Celery seed is used in a lot of pickling mixes.

The seed can be purchased whole or ground. When ground, it can be purchased on its own, or mixed with salt to become celery salt.


Instead of buying and using celery seed or salt, consider the tip on frozen celery in the main entry for celery. Or, try lovage seed (though that’s pretty much impossible to get hold of these days, unless you grow it yourself.)

History Notes

The seed was used as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It wasn’t used for any cooking purposes until the 1600s.


What vegetable is nicknamed “Pie Plant”?

Rhubarb is nicknamed the “pie plant”, I just adore the attractive succulent rose red color of the edible stalks that actually look like red celery. They say the redder the stalk, the sweeter the rhubarb!

Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit, but sometimes mistaken as a fruit because of the way it is often used in cooking, especially when it is stewed and sweetened.

The “pie plant” can grow just about anywhere and can live for about 10-15 years once established. Do not harvest the rhubarb in its first year of growth, as the soil needs the nutrients to go back into the ground from the plants. When it’s time to harvest, use only the stalks and discard the leafy top, as the leaves contain poisonous substances such as oxalic acid. Instead, use the leaves to make an environmentally friendly bug spray for those garden pests.

Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is important to help support a healthy immune system. It is high in dietary fibre, which is great for the digestive system and is a good source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. One cup of cooked rhubarb contains as much calcium as a glass of milk! Rhubarb is also low in sodium and saturated fat, which can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart related diseases. Rhubarb dates back to 2700 BC where it was grown and used in China for medicinal purposes. People have claimed that rhubarb cured constipation as it is high in fibre, enhanced the appetite when eaten before meals in small amounts and promoted blood circulation, relieved injury pain and inflammation. Researchers have discovered that rhubarb contains natural chemicals called polyphenols that may help destroy cancer cells. To best utilise these polyphenols, rhubarb needs to be exposed to heat by being stewed or baked. Did you know that it was very common in the 1930’s for actors to repeat or mutter the word “rhubarb” continuously to provide radio sound effects? Try making a strawberry rhubarb salad with mint and hazelnuts. Toast the hazelnuts until golden brown, meanwhile tossing the rhubarb, sugar, Cointreau and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let this mixture sit for about 30 minutes until the rhubarb is slightly softened and releases its juices. Toss with strawberries, mint, and hazelnuts. The raw rhubarb plays a tart counter to the sweet strawberries.

Learn and love the origin of your food.

Join Louise on a journey through the seasons with salad ingredients, old traditions and popular, exotic or unusual vegetables. From Paddock to Plate founder, author, food writer, radio journalist & yoga teacher.

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Unless you have someone in your house that gobbles up celery, chances are you have some left over after all the holiday cooking. Don’t let it rot in the vegetable drawer. Use it to view the parts of a plant stem.

Place water in a glass and add red food coloring.

Cut a few stalks of celery. You can even use some with the leaves still attached.

Place the cut stem of celery into the colored water. Let this sit for at least 24 hours.

Celery at 1 minute in colored water

Remove the celery from the colored water.

Celery after 24 hours in colored water

Cut a cross-section from one stalk. The colored ovals near the edge are the xylem, the system a plant uses to get water from the roots to the leaves.

Cross section of celery

If you cut along the length of the stalk, you can view the plant’s water highway as long, colored streaks.

Mess Around

Try different shades of food coloring.

Try to check on the celery at time points during the 24 hours.

What would happen if you put the ends of one stalk into two different cups tinted with different colors?

If you have a microscope, slice a thin cross-section and view it under magnification. Or use a magnifying glass.

Cross section of celery at 4x magnification. The reddish/purplish spot is xylem.

Celery stalk split at the base and inserted water with two different colors. The blue tinted water is seen in the celery easier than the purple tinted water. A cross-section of the celery with the differently colored xylem showing.

Do you enjoy the fresh, crisp taste of celery? I mean, nothing makes a better snack than a piece of celery coated in peanut butter, homemade pimento cheese, or some delicious veggie dip.

But are you aware that celery offers a ton of health benefits too. You actually burn more calories chewing celery than what it contains so it is considered a negative calorie food. Plus, it is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory food which is very important for our health. It can help fight cancer and chronic disease.

So with all of this in mind, wouldn’t you love to know how to grow it yourself?

It is known as being a difficult plant to grow. But with these two methods of growing it, hopefully you can find success with it and enjoy as much celery as you’d like.

Celery Plant Info

  • Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Soil: Loam, clay, sandy, fertile, PH between 6.0 to 6.8, thin layer of compost before planting
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
  • Planting:
    • Start Indoors: 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date
    • Start Indoors (in fall): 20 to 26 weeks before the first frost date
    • Hardening Off: At least 7 to 10 days before transplanting
    • Transplant Outdoors: When the weather has settled after the last frost, when seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves
  • Spacing: 6 to 12 inches between plants and 18 to 40 inches between rows
  • Depth: ¼ to ½ inch seed depth
  • Best Companions: Beans, onions, cabbage, leek, cauliflower, spinach, tomato, cucumber, garlic, lettuce
  • Worst Companions: Corn, carrots, irish potato, parsley, parsnip
  • Watering: Heavy, at least 1 inch per week
  • Fertilizing: Apply balanced fertilizer 2 to 3 weeks before planting, side-dress after every 10 to 14 days
  • Common Problems: Bacterial blight, soft rot, celery mosaic, dumpin off, early blight, downy mildew, late blight, fusarium yellows, powdery mildew, pink rot, armyworm, aphids, nematodes
  • Harvest: 100 to 130 days after seed starting, when the stalks are at least 8 inches long

Here is how you grow celery:

Method 1: Growing Celery Indoors

via David Wolfe

I love the idea of growing celery indoors. I think it is neat to have your vegetables readily available and growing fresh right on your counter or windowsill.

Also, most people don’t preserve celery. So you don’t need a ton of it at once usually. Which means having it on hand for a recipe or a snack is much easier when growing indoors.

Here is how you grow your own celery right in your kitchen:

1. Buy Celery from the Store and Use the Base

This method does require that you start with celery that is already grown. You’ll need to purchase a bunch of celery from your local supermarket or farmer’s market.

Then you’ll want to cut the base of the celery off of the bunch. You will wash and store the celery stalks as usual and use them at your convenience.

However, you’ll want to save the base because this is your new celery plant.

2. Give it a Spa Day

After cutting the base off of the bunch of celery it is time to soak it. You’ll want to fill a small bowl with warm water. The warm water helps germination take place so that is an important step.

Then you’ll place the base of the celery in the warm water and leave it for one week. Be sure that the cut side of the base is facing up in the bowl. Also, you’ll want to be sure that the bowl is near a window for natural light.

3. Transplant the Base

After the one week has passed, you should begin to see tiny sprouts of new growth. This is when you’ll know that the base is ready to be transplanted.

So you’ll remove the base of the celery from the warm bowl of water. Then you’ll need to fill a flower pot with potting soil. You will want to cover the celery base completely.

However, it is important to note that the sprouts should be left sticking up out of the potting soil. Then you’ll need to water your new plant.

It is recommended that you use a spray bottle with water in it. That way you don’t over water the plant. You want it to be moist and remain moist without drowning it.

So using a spritzer bottle should help you to accomplish that. But if you aren’t seeing growth or if your stalks begin to look small or brown, then know that you aren’t watering the plant enough.

4. Enjoy Your Celery

The final step in this process is to harvest your celery. It will take the plant about 5 months to regenerate growth.

Obviously, this is the easiest method (in my opinion) but is not the fastest. Yet, you can have a constant celery source right on your kitchen counter using this method.

Also, it is really great that after you have more celery grow, you can repeat the same process and grow even more celery right in your own kitchen.

Otherwise, you’ll wait until a stalk becomes large enough to eat, and gently cut it from the plant. Remember that the more green the stalk is the more nutrients it provides to you.

Method 2: Growing Celery Outdoors

Growing celery outside is rather complicated. It doesn’t like heat and love constant moisture. It is also very difficult to transplant. Yet oddly enough, farmers say that is how you get your best success rate.

1. Start Your Seeds

It is important to start your celery seeds indoors about 10 weeks before the final frost. This will give the seeds time to germinate and become stronger for the transplant.

If you decide to direct sow your seeds make sure not to sow them until the temperature is going to be between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Celery will begin to wilt if planted during a time when it will get hotter than these temperatures, and it won’t produce if the temperatures are any lower.

This is why in the North celery is grown during the summer and in the south it is a late fall or winter crop. Be sure to use the almanac to know when is the best time to grow celery in your area.

2. Plant Your Seedlings

Celery loves to eat. This means that you need to work fertilizer and compost into your soil before planting your seedlings.

When planting your seedlings, make sure they are planted 10-12 inches apart. If you are sowing the seeds directly into the soil, they’ll need to be planted a quarter of an inch deep, and then you’ll need to return to thin them out after germination has occurred. You want a 12 inch space between them after they have reached 6 inches or greater in height.

3. Mulch Your Seedlings

Remember when I mentioned that celery is a heavy feeding plant that loves moisture? Well, it needs to be mulched in order to retain the moisture and the food that it so desperately desires.

So after your seedlings have been planted (or your seeds have become seedlings if you directly sowed them) be sure to mulch around each plant. This extra step can help give the plant what it needs and give you a greater chance of being successful at raising celery.

4. Water, Feed, and Tie

You will need to add mulch and compost regularly to your celery. This will help with food and moisture. Then you’ll need to be sure to water the celery regularly throughout the entire growing period. If your stalks are looking small and dry, then you know they aren’t being watered enough.

After you have the food and water part covered, you’ll need to remember to tie the stalks together. When your celery begins to take off, instead of letting the stalks lay everywhere, it is important to tie them together neatly. This will keep them from crawling all over the ground.

5. Be on the Lookout for Pests

Celery has pests that will naturally impact them if you grow celery outdoors. You’ll need to look for pests such as cutworms, whiteflies, aphids, and mosaic virus. If you can keep your plants fed, watered, cool, and pest free, then you should hopefully end up with a good crop.

6. Harvest and Store

Celery is harvested at the stalks. You’ll want to cut the stalks from the outside and work your way in. The greener you allow the stalks to become the more nutrients it should provide for you.

So after you harvest the stalks of celery, you’ll want to place them in a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge for no more than two weeks.

Recipes to Use Your Celery

If you love celery, you might be ecstatic to learn how to grow it. But if you are someone that likes to grow as much of their own food as possible, but just can’t see yourself utilizing all of this celery, then you might need a few recipes to point you in the right direction.

Here are 5 recipes that will help you to use your celery in functional but unique ways:

1. Braised Celery

This recipe shows you how to use celery as a delicious side dish. It requires only a few basic ingredients and would accompany most meat dishes well.

So if you are looking for all of the healthy vitamins and minerals that celery can provide in a different way, then you’ll want to give this recipe a try.

Make this celery dish.

2. Cream of Celery Soup

This is another super simple recipe that will allow you to use your fresh grown celery. You might be wondering when you would use a cream of celery soup.

Well, it could make a great base to some cream soups, or you could use it with crock pot chicken recipes to give it a different taste.

Make this celery dish.

3. Green Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad

Do you like different crunchy salads? Well, if so, then you will probably love this recipe. It has a ton of fresh ingredients that all offer a lot of crunch with it.

Plus, it also shows you how to make a delicious vinaigrette dressing to accompany this very appetizing salad.

Make this celery dish.

4. Frozen Celery

I told you earlier that most people don’t preserve celery. Just because they don’t commonly can it, doesn’t mean it can’t be frozen.

So this tutorial shows you how to freeze celery so it is easy to use for different recipes or even a quick snack. Plus, you don’t lose any produce this way.

Make this celery dish.

5. Buffalo Chicken and Celery Appetizer

I really like this celery recipe. The reason is that I love celery with all kinds of different items on it. Since I’m a huge buffalo chicken fan, this would naturally be a great topping for me.

So if you like to enjoy celery with yummy goodness heaped on top of it, then you’ll want to check out this recipe.

Make this celery dish.

Now, you not only know how to grow your celery both indoors and outdoors, but you are also prepared to use the celery in 5 different ways.

Hopefully this will help you to enjoy a fresh harvest of celery when you want it and save a little money along the way as well.

But I’d love to hear what you think. Have you ever grown celery? What challenges did you face? Was it easy or hard for you? And how did you utilize or preserve your harvest?

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Celery is another cool season crop, growing best between 60° and 75°. While all parts of the celery plant are edible, in North America it is mostly grown for the crunchy, crisp stalks that grow in a tight bunch from a central point. One drawback to growing celery is that it takes longer than other hydroponic crops: up to 140 days, so start you crop early. A little patience and planning leads to a big pay out.

There are two ways to propagate celery. Starting from seed is the better choice if you want to grow several pounds (or one Thanksgiving Days’ worth) of celery. Unlike other seeds, these could take up to 2 weeks to germinate in plugs. Once you see roots poking out the bottom of your plugs you’ll want to thin out the weak sprouts and move the stronger ones. The second, faster alternative is to grow it from the base of the last bunch you got from the grocery store. Without removing any of the outer stalks, cut the celery 1.5-2 inches from the bottom. Set this base, flat side down, on a plate of room temperature water. You should start seeing new growth in about a week. Once your roots are long enough, you can transplant into soil or into your hydro system.

When choosing nutrients for your celery, consider adding a mineral supplement of calcium and magnesium or humic acid. Calcium and magnesium will help the strength of the stalks while humic acid will increase the speed of nutrient uptake for nutrient density.

Learning how to grow celery is simple. The main features this crop requires are rich soil, plenty of water, and protection from hot sun and high temperatures. Grow celery as a winter crop in the South, a summer crop in the far North, and a fall crop in most other areas.

Planting Celery

Dorling Kindersley/getty

You can buy transplanted crops from nurseries, but cultivar choices expand enormously when you grow celery from seed. You can choose standard varieties such as ‘Ventura’, experiment with self-blanching types such as ‘Golden Boy’ and ‘Tango’, or try red-stalked varieties such as ‘Redventure’. For a late-summer crop, sow seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last average spring frost. Soak the tiny seeds overnight to encourage germination. Fill a container with a mix of ½ compost and ½ sand, and plant in rows 1 inch apart. Cover the seeds with a sand layer ½ inch deep, then cover the flats with damp sphagnum moss or burlap until seeds sprout.

Place in a bright spot out of direct sun, and keep the temperature at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and about 60 degrees at night. Provide plenty of water and good drainage and air circulation. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 2 inches tall. At 6 inches, harden off the plants for about 10 days, and then transplant them into the garden in a bed that’s high in organic matter (from a cover crop or added compost).

Space the plants 6 to 8 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Set them no deeper than they grew in pots. Water in each seedling with compost tea.

For a fall crop, also known as a second harvest, sow seeds indoors in May or June, and follow the same directions, transplanting seedlings in June or July. Provide shade in hot, humid weather.

Cora Niele/getty

Apply several inches of mulch, and provide at least 1 inch of water a week. Gently remove any weeds that might compete for nutrients with celery’s shallow roots. Feed every 10 to 14 days with compost tea or a balanced fertilizer. If night temperatures are consistently below 55 degrees, protect plants by covering them with cloches; otherwise, the stalks become weak.

Blanching celery destroys some nutrients but prevents stalks from becoming bitter. It also protects fall crops against heavy frosts. You can grow a self-blanching variety, such as ‘Golden Self-Blanching’, or blanch conventional varieties by one of these methods:

  • Gradually pull the soil up around the plants as they grow, keeping the leaves exposed.

  • Two weeks before harvest, tie the tops together, and mound soil up to the base of the leaves.

  • Cover the stalks with large cans (remove both ends first), drain tiles, or sleeves made out of paper or other material.

  • Water carefully after setting up your blanching system, avoiding wetting the leaves and stalks, or they may rot.

  • Line up boards, secured with stakes, along each side of a celery row to shut out the sun.

Celery Growing Problems


Celery’s main enemies are parsley worms, carrot rust flies, and nematodes. Celery leaf tiers are tiny yellow caterpillars marked with one white stripe; control by hand picking. Attacks of tarnished plant bugs show up as black joints or brown, sunken areas.

Common diseases that affect celery crops, as well as other vegetables, include early and late blight, which both begin as small dots on the leaves, and pink rot, which shows up as water-soaked stem spots and white or pink coloration at stalk bases. Crop rotation is the best control.

Distorted leaves and cracked stems can indicate a boron-deficient soil; correct by spraying plants with liquid seaweed extract every two weeks until symptoms disappear.

Harvesting Celery

Cora Niele/getty

Cut the plant off just below the soil line, or cut single stalks of unblanched celery as needed. To preserve a fall crop, pull up the plants and place them in deep boxes with moist sand or soil around the roots. Store in a cool place; they will keep for several months.

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