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Apium graveolens (Celery)

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Plant description

apium graveolens celery 734

Celery is an annual plant, grown for the tasty, nutritious and useful stems and seeds. It can be difficult to grow well, but is worth a place in the vegetable garden.

Celery prefers a friable loamy, slightly acidic soil, but will grow in a wide range of soil types if given proper care. Sandy or heavy soils should have plenty of compost added to improve them for celery growing. Celery has a shallow root system, so needs regular feeding and watering. These will ensure good, healthy growth, with better tasting stems. It grows best in mild weather, very cold weather or hot weather will set back the plant growth, and hard frost will kill it. Fertilise with a complete type of fertiliser that is high in nitrogen and potassium. It likes a sunny position, but some shade will be appreciated for the hottest part of the day.

Tough and slow growing conditions, such as irregular watering and insufficient feeding can lead to bitter, thin and/or tough stems. Celery can be blanched to form white stems by hilling soil around the plant, or by wrapping around the stems with newspaper or cardboard. Once celery begins to flower and set seed, it will also become bitter to eat. 

Propagation of celery is from seed. This seed is small, so is best sown in seed trays in spring, and also autumn. Sow on the surface of the seed raising mix, and just cover with a fine sprinkling of sand or seed mix. Keep moist, and transplant seedlings when large enough to handle. Space the plants around 15-30 cms apart.

Celery can be harvested at various times- outer stems can be pulled off the plant for use, and the plant left to grow on. The whole plant can also be cut when large enough, and if conditions are right, the root system can reshoot again. The leaves are also good for soups and stews, and can be harvested at any time. Seeds can also be harvested and used for flavouring.

Celery is subject to pests such as aphids, snails and slugs, and very wet conditions can bring on fungal rotting.

Celery is a useful vegetable, being good for salads, soups and stews, and also for eating just as it is. It is high in fibre and potassium, and is a good source of vitamin C, also vitamin A, B1 and B6. It is a rich source of flavanoid antioxidants.

Additional plant information

Flowers

Flower colour: not specified
Flowering season: summer autumn winter

Plant size

Maximum height: 1 metres
Minimum height: not specified

Maximum width: not specified
Minimum width: not specified

Sunlight, frost & salt tolerance

This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Light frost tolerance.
Plant is salt tolerant.

Fauna attracting?

Not specified.

Climate

This plant species will grow in the following climates: cool, temperate, subtropical.

Soil types & conditions

Loam: moist.

Clay: moist, well-drained.

Sand: moist.

Soil pH: 5.3-6.8

Diseases

Fungal rots

Pests

Slugs, snails, aphids

Miscellaneous information

Planting season: Spring, autumn.

Types of fertiliser: General purpose fertiliser, high in nitrogen and potassium.

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