Are you ready to embark on a journey of growing celery in a pot? Just like a chef who adds a pinch of flavor to a dish, you can add a touch of freshness to your meals with homegrown celery.
No need for a sprawling garden – all you need is a pot and a sunny spot. In this article, we will walk you through the process of growing celery in a pot, step by step. From selecting the right variety to caring for your plant, we’ve got you covered.
1. Pick a suitable celery variety for the pot
When selecting a celery variety for container gardening, consider factors such as growth habit, size, and maturity time.
Some suitable celery varieties for pots include ‘Tall Utah,’ which is a stringless variety with 12-inch stalks and a 100-day growing season. Another option is ‘Golden,’ a quick-growing variety with thick, stringless stalks and a light color.
‘Pascal’ is a frequently cultivated variety in North America, growing up to 12 inches in height and tolerating some shade. For a disease-resistant option, consider ‘Ventura,’ which has tender stalks and a mild flavor.
Tango’ is a compact variety that’s ideal for container gardening and matures in 85-100 days.
2. Choose the best time to grow celery
The best seasons to grow celery in pots are fall and spring. For locations with a brief cool season, it’s advisable to plant celery in mid-winter or mid-to-late summer.
Start celery indoors during the early season and shift it outside for the rest of the cool period. It’s important to consider the duration of the cool season and choose the appropriate planting time.
3. Find out how long it will take to grow celery
Growing celery in a pot will typically take between 90 to 130 days from germination to harvest. The duration can vary depending on factors such as the celery variety, growing conditions, and climate.
Celery is a slow-growing vegetable that requires a long growing season to reach maturity. It needs cool temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 16 weeks. Higher or lower temperatures can cause the celery to bolt and stunt its growth.
Starting celery from seed indoors is recommended, about 10 to 12 weeks before the last expected frost. Once the seedlings have reached a height of around 3 inches, they can be transplanted into a larger container.
4. Pick the right pot to grow celery
Choose a container that’s at least 8 inches deep and 8-10 inches in diameter. Opt for plastic or glazed containers to retain moisture, as terracotta or clay pots tend to dry out quickly.
Consider using a long planter if you’re growing multiple celery plants. Make sure that the container has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging. This is important because celery requires consistent moisture levels, but overwatering can lead to root rot.
5. Prepare the pot for planting
Fill the pot with a potting mix suitable for growing vegetables. The texture should retain moisture but drain out excess.
I would suggest mixing 1/3rd compost into the potting soil so it adds organic matter and beneficial organisms. This will come in useful once the celery plant has grown into a seedling and needs nutrients.
Fill the pot up to an inch from the rim. This helps spilling out the soil and water when you are watering the plant.
6. Plant the celery seeds in the pot
To plant the celery seeds in the pot, follow these steps:
- Start by filling the container with a well-draining potting mix.
- Moisten the soil before sowing the seeds to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
- Place the seeds evenly on the soil surface, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
- Gently press the seeds into the soil to secure them.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, approximately 1/4 inch deep.
- Mist the soil surface with water to keep it moist.
- Place a clear plastic cover or plastic wrap over the container to create a greenhouse-like environment.
- Keep the container in a warm location with indirect sunlight until the seeds germinate, which usually takes about 2-3 weeks.
7. Plant the celery seedlings in the pot
After the celery seeds have germinated, it’s time to transplant the seedlings into the pot.
Choose a container that’s at least 8 inches deep and 8-10 inches in diameter. Plastic or glazed containers are recommended to retain moisture. Ensure the container has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
Fill the pot with rich soil amended with aged compost or organic matter.
Dig a hole in the center of the pot and carefully remove the celery seedling from its original container. Place the seedling in the hole, making sure the roots are spread out and not crowded.
Gently firm the soil around the seedling to secure it in place.
Water the seedling thoroughly to help it establish in its new home.
Place the pot in a sunny spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
Monitor the soil moisture levels and water the celery regularly to keep the soil consistently moist.
8. Provide the required sunlight
Make sure you provide at least six hours of direct sunlight per day for your potted celery plant. Sunlight is a crucial factor in the growth and development of celery.
Insufficient sunlight can lead to weak and spindly growth, as well as a decrease in the overall quality of the celery.
9. Provide the required water to the plant
Celery requires consistent moisture levels and should receive at least 1-1.5 inches of water per week. It’s important to maintain soil moisture to prevent the plant from drying out. Mulching can help retain moisture in the soil for potted celery.
You want to avoid overwatering the celery plant. So, always check the moisture in the potting soil before watering.
Stick your finder 1-2 inches into the potting soil. If the finger comes out dry, that’s the time to give the soil a good watering.
10. Thin the celery seedlings
Celery seedlings should be thinned when they reach a height of 3 inches. Thinning is necessary to ensure that each plant has enough space and resources to grow properly.
To thin the seedlings, carefully remove the weaker or overcrowded plants, leaving only the healthiest ones. This can be done by gently pulling out the unwanted seedlings, being careful not to disturb the roots of the remaining plants.
Thinning the celery seedlings allows for better air circulation, reduces competition for nutrients and water, and helps prevent diseases.
11. Provide nutrients to the celery
Celery is a nutrient-hungry plant with a shallow root system, so it’s important to provide it with the necessary fertilizers.
Start by adding compost or aged manure to the soil during planting to enrich it with organic matter.
Supplement with organic fertilizers every 2-3 weeks to ensure a steady supply of nutrients. Fish emulsion or aged compost can be used as effective fertilizers for celery.
For optimal nutrient absorption, consider foliar spraying with diluted fertilizer.
12. Harvest and store the celery
Harvest and store your celery by cutting the stalks at the base when they reach the desired size and crispness. Use a sharp knife or garden shears to make a clean cut, ensuring that you don’t damage the plant.
It’s best to harvest celery in the morning when the stalks are most hydrated and crisp. Start by removing the outer stalks first, as they tend to be tougher. Leave the inner stalks to continue growing and develop more flavor.
After harvesting, it’s important to store celery properly to maintain its freshness. Wrap the stalks in a damp paper towel or place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Celery can last for up to two weeks when stored this way.