Celery is a great addition to a salad, as a snack to have with dips or even just chopped up and mixed into your meals.
But have you ever wondered if you can regrow this salad vegetable? Celery comes as an entire plant with leaves intact. It already looks like a plant when you get it from the store so is it that hard to imagine just planting it again and watching it grow?
Having a leftover stalk is annoying and you might just be throwing it in the trash without a second thought but you can actually get a brand-new plant, for free, if you know how to replant it correctly.
I’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to grow celery from cuttings. It’s a great experiment to do with your children and show them how the life cycle of a plant works. So, if you’ve ever wondered if it is possible to regrow veggies from cuttings, or how you can do it, follow this article and give it a try yourself.
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WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Celery Stalk
- Shallow Dish
- Potting Soil
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GROWING CELERY FROM AN OLD STALK
What type of climate does celery like?
Celery is a long-season crop that likes lots of moisture and cool temperatures. It needs to be in full or partial sun but with a temperature between 55 and 70ºF.
How long does celery take to grow?
Celery takes about 130 to 140 days to grow fully. This is from seed however so if you’re growing from an old stalk it is actually faster. It does need mostly cool weather though so plant in the fall or early spring for the best results.
What equipment will I need?
You don’t need any specialist equipment, just a sharp knife to cut off the base and a saucer to place your celery in. When it grows, a smallish pot will be fine to put your new vegetable in. Oh, and don’t forget the celery base itself.
Will this work with any celery?
Organic, mass-produced, or grown wild, this growing method will work with any type of celery.
What type of soil suits celery best?
Celery does best in pH-neutral soil. You should also choose a growing medium that retains moisture as celery loves water. You can either buy or mix a special concoction that will keep water in or you could line the pot with mulch to trap the moisture.
How do I feed my celery?
Celery needs nutrients and fertilizer to grow at its best. A crop that doesn’t have enough nutrients can turn out bitter-tasting. It isn’t good for your salads! Make sure you feed your fully grow celery plant every fortnight if it is being grown in a pot or large container. You can just use a balanced liquid fertilizer or even a compost tea if you make your own at home. Once your crop is fully established and thriving, you can add a high nitrogen fertilizer in place of one of the feeds to improve your crops.
What are the common problems with growing celery?
The main issue with growing any vegetables is pests! While you find these vegetables tasty, so do slugs and snails and they will munch their way through your celery if you let them! The way you can spot if these creatures have been around your veg is by looking for the silvery trails they leave behind on the soil and leaves. There are lots of ways to stop slugs and snails including using beer in a saucer as a trap, putting down “barriers” made of sawdust or eggshells, and copper tape.
Celery leaf spot is the most common disease seen on these vegetable plants. The brown spots start on older leaves and then quickly spread to the new growth. You can avoid this by spraying the leaves with a copper-based or difenoconazole fungicide. Fish oil is also a great treatment for this plant.
HOW TO REGROW CELERY FROM CUTTINGS
STEP ONE: CUT THE CELERY FROM THE BASE AND CLEAN
When you buy celery from a store, you will find the stalks that you eat are fused together into one base. This base, although it has no roots and looks generally useless, is what you need to regrow the plant and get more of the edible stalks.
Taking a sharp knife, cut the base from the celery stalks making sure you leave around an inch at least between the base and the stalks. This means you will be left with a round, stubby-looking base which will be the bottom of your new plant.
Once you’ve got your base, make sure it is cleaned and dried thoroughly. Depending on where you buy your celery, it can have dirt and other debris stuck to it.
Using some cold, clean water, rinse off the celery base, and then use a cloth to wipe it clean. Pay particular attention to the bits in between the stalks as you might find dirt (or sometimes even little bugs!) inside there.
Rinsing off your celery is important as it will reduce the risk of cross-contamination from diseases found in the grower’s soil and your soil.
STEP TWO: PUT THE STALK IN WATER
Find a shallow dish and fill it with clean water. You should make sure the water comes about a third of the way up to your celery stalk.
The best dish to use for this is a saucer or the bottom of a plant pot as you want to make sure you have enough water in there so the base can soak it up but you don’t want it to be too deep.
It goes without saying, but the flat base should be placed on the bottom of the saucer and the cut stalks should point upwards
STEP THREE: PUT THE CELERY IN A BRIGHT, SUNNY PLACE
When you’ve got your celery stalk in the right amount of water, place the whole saucer and plant somewhere that will get lots of natural light. Think about putting it on a sunny window or if you have a greenhouse that is protected from frost then you could put your new plant on there.
All plants use photosynthesis to turn food and water into energy. This energy is used to power the plant’s growth so it is important that your new celery plant is exposed to around six to seven hours of natural light every day.
If you don’t have enough natural light available, you can use LED or fluorescent lights to recreate the perfect conditions for the sprout.
STEP FOUR: CHANGE THE WATER REGULARLY
For the first few days, you will see the water will evaporate as well as being sucked up by your new plant. This is why it is really important to keep the saucer topped up with clean water.
The water should also be changed regularly as well. If it is sitting for a while, the water may become stagnant. Take your stalk out every couple of days and tip the water away to replace it with a fresh lot.
You can also use a spray bottle to get water directly onto the base of your new plant without over-saturating it.
You should leave your new stalk in water for about a week but depending on the amount of light it has, and how strong the individual plant is, this could take a longer or shorter time.
Things you need to look for with your celery are the outside stalks drying out and the stalk itself shrinking in diameter.
As the days go by, you should start to see tiny offshoots starting to emerge in the center of the base. The leaves will be yellow, to begin with, but as they get larger and stronger they will turn green.
You should also see the leaves getting larger, the new offshoots get thicker and turning darker and darker green. Growth will be slow but if your plant is successful you should see these changes in around seven to eight days.
STEP FIVE: TRANSPLANT YOUR CELERY INTO SOIL
After about seven or eight days, when the new shoots are strong and dark green, your new celery is ready to be planted into the soil.
Take a pot like a window planter and fill it with soil about two-thirds of the way up. Add your new celery plant into the pot and completely cover it with soil so only the new shoots are showing. After all this careful treatment, you might be worried you are going to smother the plant but don’t worry, it will be fine!
NOTE: TREAT YOUR NEW PLANT WELL
Your new celery plant needs plenty of water when it is first planted. This will help the roots grow and strengthen the plant overall. You should start to see much stronger, greener shoots within about a week or so if it is planted in soil.
If you live in the right climate for growing celery, you might want to plant your new vegetable directly into the garden. Just check the temperatures and soil consistency in your garden to make sure your celery will continue to thrive.
If you still want to keep your celery controlled and protected until it grows larger, you can just move it into a larger pot outside.
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So, follow these steps carefully and you might never have to buy celery again! By carefully using the fresh, new growth and keeping the plant healthy, you can make sure you have a ready supply of this tasty greenery.
Make sure you keep the base of the next celery you buy, place it in a shallow dish of water, and then carefully watch it as it grows and grows.
This is a brilliant experiment to try with your kids or even a way to expand your vegetable crops quickly and easily.
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