Question: Why is my celery flowering? Is it done for the season and can I still harvest it? -Lena W.
Answer: Celery flowers, also called “bolting” or “going to seed,” at the end of its growth period as a natural part of its life cycle. Once celery has flowered, the stalks are likely too tough to enjoy, although you can use them to flavor simmering soups or sauces as long as you remove them before serving. The flowers produce seeds, which is how celery plants reproduce. However, if your celery is flowering too soon, while it’s still in its active growth period or the plant is not yet mature, there are reasons this could be happening. Plants can go to seed because of consistently above average temperatures or in response to stress due to other problems.
The weather can be responsible for early bolting when temperatures are too cold when the celery is in its early stages of growth or when the weather gets too hot when plants are almost mature. A sudden cold snap can cause celery to put out a flowering stalk as a last-ditch attempt to reproduce before it’s killed off by the freezing temperatures. You can use cold frames or a soil warming blanket, or simply harvest early when possible, if a frost or freeze threatens your celery while it’s still maturing.
If you live in an area where summer comes early and temperatures are high, consider choosing a variety of celery that’s specifically designed to be slow to bolt to counteract the heat. If temperature isn’t the issue, check to ensure that plants receive the six hours of sun they need each day and have a consistent supply of water. Their soil should be rich, sandy and well draining with lots of organic material, and it should be loosened to a depth of eight to 10 inches.