Growing Celery in a Container Garden

While slow-growing celery may be overlooked in a plot, it can be the star of the show when put in a container

Credit: Carol Pope

When planted in close bunches, celery can be quite stunning in a container

With its appealing looks and eat-as-you-go nature, celery is a wonderful fit for container gardening

When I learned that celery was on the Dirty Dozen list of the 12 fruits/vegetables most contaminated with health-harming pesticides, I decided I would not buy it from the supermarket again unless it was organic.

While growing lovage and parcel, both of which have a celery-like taste, helped to make up for the loss of this green staple, I had to admit I missed having real celery in the kitchen.

When I’ve sowed celery from seed in the garden in past years, I found it slow-growing. Because I lean to filling my raised beds with speedy growers like kale, garlic, scallions, Oriental greens and lettuce, there is often not much room left for less vigorous choices.

Celery is the Perfect Edible for Your Container Garden

At a local nursery recently, I realized that a six-pack of celery starts would be a very attractive and efficient filler for a mid-sized pot in my container garden. I simply spaced the six clumps out equally in the container and they’ve grown beautifully in tight bunches, looking very handsome in a snazzy pot.

The planting has remained pest free too, despite using absolutely no pesticides of any sort.

When I want a sprig for a salad or stir fry, I simply slice off a stem or two just above ground level. By taking a bit here and a bit there, I still leave enough of the planting to keep it looking nice and going strong.

Growing Celery

Celery is a heavy feeder and needs rich soil (preferably with some compost added) and frequent watering. And here are some great growing and harvesting tips from West Coast Seeds:

  • For best flavour and longer storage, water celery the day before harvest.
  • Stalks on the outside of the plant can be harvested at any time.
  • The entire plant may be harvested once the desired size is reached, but the home gardener should leave the plant in the garden and take only what is needed, leaving the root intact.
  • If winter is not too cold, celery will stand in the garden until spring, allowing for light pickings for soups and salads.