Question: Can you grow celery in pots? I want to see if I can grow it without taking up current space in my garden. -Lee R.
Answer: Whether you are growing celery in the garden or in a container, it is a tricky plant to grow. Celery requires a long growing season, typically up to 140 days before it is ready for harvest. Native to the Mediterranean, celery performs best in areas with mild summers and winters. Since celery doesn’t have an extensive roots system, it doesn’t need a container that is incredibly large, but you should use pots that are at least eight inches deep for celery plants. If your area has mild winter weather, you can plant your celery in containers in the early spring or late summer and place your containers outdoors in a location that gets full sunlight exposure.
First, select a container that is at least eight inches deep and fill it about halfway up with potting mix. Add a scoop of compost to the mix and blend the mediums well. Then, set the celery seedling in the center of the container on top of the potting mix. Add more container soil around the outside of the seedling’s root ball, filling the pot to about one inch below the top. Don’t cover up the crown or the outer stalks of the plant with soil and take care not to bury the roots too deeply.
Just after planting, pour a tablespoon of compost tea into your watering can and fill the remainder of the can with water and water your celery plants to help get them established in their new homes. Water the celery container regularly, never letting the soil dry out or become soggy, but maintaining a slightly wet consistency at all times. Celery needs a large amount of water or it will not grow healthily. Underwatered celery plants develop stalks that are stringy and pithy. Adding a one inch layer of mulch to your container will help with moisture retention.
Mix in a handful of compost to the container once per month for the first three months. Add a tablespoon of compost tea to the watering can once per week as well. Harvest either the entire head of celery at once or cut off individual stalks. Chop the head off just below the soil line when it’s about 3 inches in diameter. If you want only individual stalks, cut the stalks from the outside of the plant first and work your way in as stalks mature.