They told me it couldn't be done. The naysayers said, “Your growing season is too short and celery takes too long to fully develop.” But I have proved them wrong, as my windowsill celery is nearly a foot tall and thriving.
Why Regrow Celery?
About a year ago, the price of celery skyrocketed to as high as $8 a bunch due to a celery juicing trend. I still wanted to cook with celery, so I started looking for economical solutions. As an avid vegetable gardener, my solution to this price hike was to try to grow our own.
I was in the planning stage of preparing the vegetable garden, and looked into growing celery in our region. Most of the information that I found indicated that our zone (zone 6) was not well suited for it because our growing season is relatively short, and very dry. Celery needs 3 to 4 months to fully mature, and plenty of water. I had been seeing posts on social media on regrowing celery from the root end of a bunch, and despite the chance that it might not grow to full size, I decided to try it out.
Unfortunately, I did not get a garden sitter when I was away on a camping vacation last summer, and my celery dried up. This year I started my windowsill celery near the end of February, hoping that a few months of slow growing in the kitchen would give my plant enough of a head start to be planted out in the garden and mature before the scorching days of summer arrived. I’m happy to report that after two full months, my celery is a foot tall and ready to go in the garden as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
How to do it
Regrowing celery from the end of a bunch is easy if you have the patience and the right conditions. Ideally, you want to have a south facing window with a wide sill. I am fortunate that my kitchen window faces due south and gets sunshine almost all day long. I suspect that it also could be done with good quality grow lights, or in a window that faces east or west, but I have not tried that myself.
Cut off the bottom of the celery bunch so you have about an inch and a half to two inches with the root end.
Place the celery end, root side down, in a shallow bowl or cup of water, so that at least half an inch is submerged in the water. I prefer to use a clear glass bowl, but you could even use a plastic container. You will see in my pictures that I have used wooden skewers on one of my growing ends. I’ve since learned that this is not necessary, as it will grow just as well if it’s sitting on the bottom of the bowl or container.
Place the bowl on your windowsill, or under grow lights if you don’t have a window that gets enough direct sunlight.
Change the water at least every other day, and change or wash the bowl every few days.
Within a few days, you will start to see new growth in the centre of the celery end.
The outer stalk portions will begin to decompose. Leave the decaying portions attached when you go on to the next step.
Once the new growth reaches about 3” tall, plant it in a container of potting soil, place the container on a saucer, and water daily. Celery plants are thirsty! Keep the soil damp, but not swampy.
When the new celery plant starts to get too big for the small container, re-pot it into a larger container, or plant it out in your garden if the danger of frost has passed. If you are not sure if it is big enough to replant yet, look at the bottom of the container and see if any roots are peaking out the bottom. If they are, its likely time to plant in a bigger pot. Another sure sign that it needs to be “up-potted” is yellowing or browning of the leaf edges.
- For advanced tips on how to grow celery in your garden, I recommend reading more here: https://www.almanac.com/plant/celery
You will notice that your growing celery plant has many more leaves than a store-bought bunch. You can trim off a few leaves, once the plant is well established, and use them in any recipe that you would like a bit of subtle celery flavour. You can also dehydrate the leaves and use them as you would use dried parsley or similar herbs. I like to add mine to spaghetti sauce and even to fancy macaroni and cheese.
I now have four plants at various stages of development.
Do not be discouraged if your first attempt does not grow to be a full-sized celery plant. Of the four that I started this spring, one is failing to thrive and will likely have to be composted. You can read all the books and webpages in existence on gardening, but as most gardeners come to realize, you learn the most from trial and error. Keep trying!