Learning how to grow celery is a great way to ensure a regular supply of your favorite healthy snack. Celery is packed with health benefits and is a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients. It also helps to reduce inflammation and improves digestion.
Sadly, this healthy vegetable also has a reputation for being difficult to cultivate. If you have tried and struggled in the past why not learn how to grow celery indoors?
Full of nutrients, celery is a popular vegetable. Celery also has a reputation for being difficult to grow. Learning to grow celery indoors helps you to avoid many of the associated cultivation problems. It also allows you to enjoy a fresh supply of celery, a highly popular vegetable.
Growing celery indoors is easier than outside cultivation in the garden because you are better able to provide the constant moisture and heat that the celery craves. This can be difficult to provide if you are growing outside in the garden or in uncontrolled conditions.
This guide will show how to grow celery indoors in two different ways. The first method is a conventional approach, growing the vegetable from seed. The second approach teaches you how to use an old plant to grow a fresh crop.
Method 1: How to Grow Celery Indoors From Seed
When growing celery indoors, USDA zones don’t apply. If you are growing celery outdoors it is suitable for cultivation in USDA Zones 2-10.
Seed Celery Varieties
If growing celery indoors from seed there are a pleasing number of varieties available. Make sure you choose small or short varieties such as the reliable Golden Boy. Taller trench celery varieties require planting to a greater depth. While these are suitable for container gardens they may be too large to cultivate in containers.
Celebrity is a self-blanching variety that produces short, ribbed stems with a pleasing flavor. Similarly Latham Self Blanching also produces short ribbed stalks with a reliable flavor.
Both Monterey and Conquistador are suitable for container growing. They also have a quicker growth habit than many other varieties.
How to Sow Celery Seeds
If you are planning on growing outdoors, plant celery and sow the seeds 10 weeks before your last predicted frost date. This may seem early but it allows the seeds time to grow into strong seedlings before you transplant them.
Indoor cultivation is not dependent on weather conditions. This means that you can sow seeds at any time. With a little care you will be able to enjoy a year round supply of fresh celery.
Whether you are growing celery indoors or outside in the garden, sow one seed per small flower pot. The pots should be clean and have drainage holes in the bottom and be filled with fresh potting soil. The celery pplant has relatively shallow roots meaning an individual celery plant can happily grow in surprisingly small containers. Your chosen container should be at least 8 inches deep.
Sow one seed per flowerpot. Place the seed as centrally as possible in the flowerpot. Cover with a thin layer of rich soil, the seed should be no deeper than a quarter of an inch. Water gently. Using a plastic spray bottle allows you to moisten the rich soil without disturbing the seeds.
You can also sow into a seed tray. Following germination the seedlings thin out the seedlings.
Seeds can be started in individual containers or in a seed tray. Transplanting, if not done with the utmost care, can sometimes cause the celery plant to struggle or fail. Sowing seeds in their final position means that you don’t need to disturb the plant’s shallow root system any more than necessary.
If you have sown the seeds into large flower pots there is no need to transplant. Seeds started in trays or small pots will require transplanting.
Once the seedlings reach 6 inches in height, they can be transplanted into individual flowerpots. As above, the flowerpots should be at least 8 inches deep. They should also have drainage holes in the bottom.
Place the seedling in the center of the container. Don’t plant too deeply. Be careful not to cover the crown of the plant or outer celery stalks.
Place some organic mulch, such as homemade compost, around the celery plant. This helps the soil to retain moisture, ensuring healthy growth. In warmer positions and climates mulching also helps to keep the base cool. This helps to prevent bolting.
As the celery grows, continue to water, keep the soil evenly moist. If the celery begins to flop or lean, gently tie the stalks together. This helps to keep the plants neat and undamaged.
Caring for Growing Celery
Keep the celery well watered. The soil should be constantly moist. Mulching around the base of the celery helps the soil to conserve moisture. When mulching be careful not to cover the crown of the celery plant.
As well as mulching regularly you also need to water the growing celery. Aim to keep the soil moist. Small or dry looking stalks are probably underwatered. If the celery plant continues to struggle despite constant watering try applying a balanced fertilizer as a side-dressing. Apply this once every two weeks.
Tying the growing stalks together helps to prevent them from toppling over. It also helps to keep the plant looking neat. Tie the plant loosely, tying too tightly may damage the plant.
To blanch the stalks tie a piece of cardboard around the stalks about two weeks before you want to begin harvesting celery. Secure the cardboard in place with a piece of string or twine. Blanching helps to give the stalks a milder flavor. However, it is not necessary and can reduce the nutrient content of the stalk.
Growing celery indoors means that many of the pests that normally target this crop are no longer a concern. This means that all you need to concentrate on is keeping the celery plants well watered and fed.
How to Harvest Celery
When the stalks are thick, green and ready for harvesting begin by cutting the celery stalks from the outside of the celery plant, working your way into the center of the plant. In ideal conditions plants will be ready to harvest within 130 days of sowing the seeds.
You can begin harvesting your celery plants when the stalks are at least 8 inches in length. Remember, the greener the stalks of the plants the richer they are in nutrients. After harvesting, store the stalks of the celery in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Method 2: Growing Celery Indoors From the Base of a Plant
If you don’t want to learn how to grow celery indoors from seed there is another option. You can also grow fresh green stalks from an already harvested base of celery. This may sound complicated but is satisfyingly easy to achieve.
You can easily learn how to grow celery indoors by reusing the base of a celery. Simply cut away the stalks and soak the base in warm water. This encourages new growth to emerge.
Purchase a bunch of fresh celery. This should be a collection of stalks still attached to the base. Local farmers markets and supermarkets will both have a fresh supply. Once you get home cut the stalks away from the base of the celery. Wash and use the stalks as usual.
Preparing the Base
Fill a small bowl with warm water. The warmth of the water encourages the base of the plant to germinate.
Put the base cut side up in the water. Place the bowl near a window so that the base gets lots of natural light.
Soak the base constantly for at least a week. Remember to change the water every day. If the top of the celery base protrudes from the water spray it a couple of times a day. Keeping the base moist helps to encourage new growth to emerge.
After a week you will see tiny sprouts of new growth on the base of the plant. The emergence of these sprouts means that the base is ready to be transplanted. If the base seems healthy but new growth is barely visible, allow the base to remain in water a little while longer.
Don’t worry if the outer stalks appear to dry out or wither. Continue to soak and soon the central stalks will begin to thicken. They will also begin producing new, dark green growth of celery.
New celery growth is often slow to emerge so be patient.
Transplanting the Celery Base
You will now need a clean flower pot with drainage holes in the bottom. The celery flowerpot should be large enough to comfortably hold the celery base. It should also be at least 8 inches deep. Fill the pot half to three thirds full with fresh potting soil.
Remove the celery base from the bowl of water. Plant the celery base in your prepared container and cover with more fresh potting soil. Aim to cover the base almost completely, only the fresh celery sprouts should be visible.
With a spray bottle water the freshly planted base. Watering with a spray bottle ensures that you can keep the soil moist without overwatering the celery plant.
After transplanting the celery base, keep the soil moist or evenly watered. Constant moisture is key to learning how to grow celery indoors and outdoors. Without moisture the plants struggle to produce rich, healthy celery stalks.
Caring for the Growing Plant
Keeping the soil evenly moist encourages the celery sprouts to continue growing. If the celery sprouts remain small or turn brown it is a sign that the plant isn’t receiving enough water.
Placing a layer of organic mulch around the plant helps the soil preserve moisture. As the mulch breaks down it feeds nutrients back into the soil, giving your growing plants an extra boost. If you do decide to mulch be careful not to cover the growing stalks.
After about 5 months the celery sprouts will have grown into celery stalks that are ready to harvest.
This is the easiest way to ensure a regular supply of fresh celery. However it does require a lot of patience.
Once you know how to grow celery indoors you can try growing other vegetables, such as lettuce in the same manner. This is a great way to ensure a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables if you don’t have the space or climate to cultivate outside in the garden.
With a little patience and the constant provision of water or moisture learning how to grow celery indoors is an easy process. With a little time and care, either of the two methods outlined here will help you to cultivate your own, fresh supply of this celery vegetable.
Full of nutrients, celery is a slow growing plant that is easy to cultivate indoors. As well as being a super healthy snack, celery can also form part of a number of easy to make, cheap meals such as stir fries.
Whichever method you chose, the secret is the same. Keep the soil for the celery moist and the plants well watered. If you can do this you will soon master how to grow celery indoors.
Elizabeth learnt to love gardening as a child in her grandparents backyard. Today, she is a trained horticulturist and has maintained a productive allotment for over 10 years. When not growing her own, Elizabeth enjoys helping other people with the plant problems. An experienced writer and editor, away from gardening Elizabeth is also a keen bird watcher, local historian and genealogist, meaning that she can often be found with her dogs exploring an overgrown graveyard.