How to Grow a Celery Plant From a Stalk in 10 Easy Steps (Plus Growing Tips for How to Make It Thrive) by Elisa Schmitz
I had so much fun learning to grow an avocado plant from a seed! That’s why I started experimenting with other plants I could grow from food scraps. Learning to grow a celery plant from the base of celery stalks took a try or two before I got it right. But now that I know how to grow a celery plant from a scrap, it’s easy. Plus, it’s so much fun do it yourself – and the new plant yields usable celery!
Whether you’re looking to save money on food, you want a fun family activity or you’d like to do something good for the environment, there are so many reasons why growing your own celery from a scrap is a great idea. Growing your own celery ensures that it’s pesticide-free and close at hand when you want some fresh celery. Growing celery at home is also a great mindfulness activity, especially if you already enjoy gardening (as I do).
This DIY approach to growing your own food is great for experienced gardeners and beginners alike because it’s so simple and requires very little space. You don’t need a backyard garden – even apartment dwellers can grow their own celery in a pot. It’ll make you feel good to stop throwing away your celery scraps. Instead, give them a new lease on life by allowing them to grow again!
Here’s how you can grow your own celery plant from the base of a stalk in 10 easy steps:
1. Cut off the base end of your celery bunch. Grab a bunch of celery and slice off the bottom, about 2 to 3 inches from the end, to create a scrap. This is easy because the scrap is the part you’d normally compost or throw in the garbage anyway!
2. Insert four toothpicks into your celery scrap. Pierce the celery scrap about a quarter of the way down with four toothpicks, at equal distance from each other, angles slightly downward, to form a steady base from which to suspend your celery scrap in water. The toothpicks keep the celery suspended from the bottom of the glass you put it in, which is important for healthy growth.
3. Place your celery scrap in water. Fill a glass or small jar with water (I used a clear plastic cup then transferred it to a small glass vase after it started sprouting), as close to the top as you can without causing overflow. Put the celery scrap on top, with the toothpicks serving as the base. At least an inch of the base should be submerged in the water, without causing water to overflow.
4. Put your glass, jar or vase in a sunny spot. Your celery should be bathed in sunlight for a good part of the day. I put my celery scrap by the kitchen window, where it not only got lots of light but also was easy for me to remember to water it every morning.
5. Water your celery (and check your plant for growth) every day. Add water daily to ensure that your celery’s root end is always submerged at least one inch in water. You will be amazed to see growth begin quickly! After only a couple of days, you should start to see new celery leaves sprouting from the center of your plant. This will encourage you to keep on growing!
6. Change the water every couple of days. Your celery plant’s water may get cloudy and murky, so be sure to change out the water every couple of days to keep it fresh. If you notice mold or other growth, change the water as frequently as once a day (you may need to wash the glass that it’s in, if it gets too dirty). Make sure the water level remains constant, so the celery bottom is always submerged.
7. Within a week or so, the magic begins. After about a week, you may start to see some serious sprouts growing from the top and some fine roots growing from the bottom. Your plant is starting to really come alive, so exciting. Continue the watering process, and get your gardening supplies ready!
8. Keep an eye on the roots and the edges. As your plant grows, the outer edges of the base may start browning. Don’t worry, your plant isn’t dying! But the outer base may eventually start to rot, so keep an eye on it and plan to plant your celery before too long. You can plant your celery base in soil any time after the roots are at least a couple of inches long.
9. Put your celery plant into good potting soil. Although you can plant your celery directly into an outdoor garden, I planted mine in a pot because I need to be able to bring it indoors when it’s cold outside (because, Chicago weather). Choose a pot that has enough room for the roots to grow, and that provides drainage. I used a nourishing potting mix specifically for growing vegetables. Make a hole in the soil big enough that it accommodates all the roots. Place the plant into the soil, then fill in more soil around it and tamp it down gently. The entire base and all the roots should be below the soil, while the emerging leaves and stalks should be above the soil. Water your plant until the soil is moist.
10. Place your potted celery plant in a partially sunny spot. Put your new plant in a partially sunny location that gets about six hours of sun a day (some shade is fine because celery is a cool-weather plant). Monitor the soil to ensure it is moist but not soaking wet. We check ours once a day because it’s in a sunny location and can dry out. Within a couple of months, we had a thriving celery plant with large leaves and tall celery stalks that we could harvest for use in our cooking recipes!
A few notes about growing a celery plant, plus tips for how to use your celery plant while it grows:
- For drainage, we put several small rocks at the bottom of the pot before we added the soil. This allows water to drain to the bottom, without the roots having to sit in water.
- You can take your celery plant outside as long as the weather stays above 50 degrees F or so. I take mine outside sometimes during the warmer-weather months, then bring it back inside during colder-weather months because, Chicago weather.
- If you plan to leave your celery plant outside, keep in mind that it will draw the attention (and appetite) of all kinds of critters. Because we have a backyard full of chipmunks, squirrels, deer and other creatures, I mostly keep my celery plant indoors and keep it in a screened garden planter when it’s outside.
- You can cut off a stalk of celery any time you want to use it in your cooking – or just to have a fresh, home-grown snack. Cutting the stalks encourages new ones to grow. You can use the celery leaves in your cooking, too. From soups to appetizers and everything in between, celery is a vegetable you’ll appreciate always having on hand.
Watching my celery plant evolve from a food scrap to a bountiful bunch of celery has been amazing! I absolutely love the aroma of fresh celery growing in my home and, even more fun, cutting off a stalk of celery and using it in my cooking. We have already started growing another celery plant because, can you ever have enough celery? You won’t believe how satisfying it is to regrow a plant from something you may have used to compost or just toss into the garbage!
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