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How to Grow Celeriac

Grow celeriacCeleriac is a cool-season biennial grown as an annual. It is similar in growth habit and requirements as celery. Celeriac is best when it comes to harvest in cool weather. It is best started indoors and later transplanted into the garden. Sow seed indoors as early as 10 weeks before the average last frost date in spring. Celeriac requires 90 to 120 days to reach harvest.

Description. Celeriac is grown for its large, swollen root that looks something like a turnip. The root develops at soil level similar to a turnip but celeriac is a member of the celery family and has a similar growth habit. From the root, a rosette of dark green leaves sprout atop hollow stems.

Yield. Grow 2 to 3 celeriac plants per household member.

celeriac growing in row
Celeriac grows best in cool weather, especially where nights are cool.

Planting Celeriac

Site. Celeriac grows best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. Plant celeriac in moisture-retentive but well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds before plants and again at midseason. Celeriac is a heavy feeder; give plants a side dressing of compost tea every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season.

Planting time. Celeriac grows best in cool weather, especially where nights are cool. Grow celeriac in spring in cold-winter regions; in warm-winter regions grow celeriac beginning in late summer so that it matures in cool weather. Celeriac is slow to germinate and is best grown from transplants. Sow seed indoors as early as 10 weeks before the average last frost date in spring. Plants can go into the garden on the average date of the last frost. Celeriac requires up to 120 days to reach harvest. A late summer crop can be sown directly in the garden where there is enough time for a second harvest.

Planting and spacing. Sow celeriac seed ⅛ inch deep. Place a seed cloth or burlap over the seeding area to keep the soil moist until plants sprout. When plants are 3 to 4 inches (7.6-10cm) tall thin them from 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) apart or transplant them into the garden at that distance. Space rows 24 to 30 inches (61-76cm) apart. Celeriac is often set into the garden in 3- to 4-inch (7.6-10cm) deep trenches, similar to celery. As the plants grow, soil can be mounded around the exposed root.

Companion plants. Lettuce, spinach, English peas. Do not plant celeriac with pumpkins, cucumbers, or squash.

Container growing. Celeriac can be grown in a container, but not well. Choose an 8-inch (20cm) container for a single plant.

Celeriac in garden soil
Lack of soil moisture will cause celeriac to stop growing.

Caring for Celeriac

Water and feeding. Celeriac is shallow-rooted and requires regular watering. Lack of soil moisture will cause celeriac to stop growing. Keep the top few inches of soil moist at all times.

Care. Keep celeriac planting beds weed-free to avoid competition for water and nutrients. Cultivate carefully to avoid celeriac’s shallow roots. As the root develops, snip off the side roots and hill up the soil over the swollen bulbous root to blanch it. The outside of the root will blanch white but the flesh will remain a brownish color.

Pests. Celeriac has no serious pest problems.

Diseases. Celeriac has no serious disease problems.

Celeriac sliced
Celeriac will keep in the refrigerator up to one week, or store the root in a cold, moist place for 2 to 3 months.

Harvesting and Storing Celeriac

Harvest. Harvest celeriac when the swollen root is 3 to 4 inches (7.6-10cm) across or slightly larger. Cut stems close to the knobby root; use a garden fork to lift the roots. Celeriac will increase with flavor following a light frost but should be harvested before the first hard freeze. Leaves can be used to flavor soups and stews. From seed, celeriac will reach harvest in 110 to 120 days.

Storing and preserving. Celeriac will keep in the refrigerator up to one week, or store the root in a cold, moist place for 2 to 3 months. Celeriac will keep in the ground where the soil does not freeze. Leaves can be used as an herb in soups and stews.

Celeriac Varieties to Grow

Varieties. ‘Alabaster’ (120 days); ‘Giant Prague’ (120 days).

Common name. Celeriac, turnip-rooted celery, celery root, knob celery

Botanical name. Apium graveolens rapaceum

Origin. Europe and Africa

Grow 80 vegetables: THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE

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27 Comments

    • Celeriac or celery root is grow from seed. Celeriac is a biennial which means will shoot up a stalk and flower in its second year. You can harvest some of the roots for cooking the first year and allow some to grow on to the second year and set flowers. Then you can harvest the seed. Just let it dry for a few weeks and it can be sown.

      • I’m one of the chefs here at the 29 Palms Inn in 29 Palms we have a 2 1/2 acre garden and I want to plant celeriac. any pointers and were can I get these seeds cant seem to find them. thanks

        • Hi Charlie: Yes, you will find celeriac seed for sale from these seed companies (you can find them online): The Cook’s Garden, Johnny’s Select Seed, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seed.

        • I bought some from Amazon and paid about 6$ for around 100 seeds. I only planted about 10 and i have a beautiful plant so far. Its my first time growing them. We r in Florida so i planted them in a 5gal bucket with holes punch in the bottom and i move it around so its not getting too much sun. But so far so good.

      • I bought celeriac bulb from the store and planted it in my garden. It rooted and grew beautifully. I wish I would have let it go to seed, but we ate it. So yes you can re-grow it and let it go to seed without the long waiting period.

  1. hi I have just recently tried Celeriac and would love to grow some in my veggie patch .. is it possible to grow them here , we are in Devonport Tasmania thank you …

    • Celeriac is a member of the celery family and has many of the same growing requirements. Celeriac grows best in cool weather and especially enjoys cool nights. Start celeriac in spring in cool summer regions and in late summer in very warm summer regions. In cool regions start from transplants–the seeds are very slow to germinate. Celeriac can tolerate light shade and prefers rich soil high in organic matter. Celeriac requires constant moisture and needs plenty of fertilizer to keep growing.

    • You can continue to grow your celery plants through the winter in a cold frame or plastic tunnel–as long as you can keep temperatures inside the cover at 55F or slightly warmer. Or you can lift the plants and put them in containers and keep them in a frost-free place until next season. It might be simpler to start celery seed indoors early next spring and set the seedlings in the garden a week or so before the last frost.

    • Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is a variety of celery (Apium graveolens) but the two are not the same. You can place the celery crown in water and it will grow new stalks but it will not grow the bulbing root of celeriac.

  2. I’ve grown celeriac for about 15 months. Harvested some. Very disappointing. No flavour. I think originally we bought seedlings. We have no frost and live in kulnura. Is it too warm to grow here? Sue

    • Celeriac does best in cool weather and especially likes cool nights–in the mid to high 50s and 60sF. However, celeriac can tolerate warm weather. Celeriac needs constant moisture; it actually grows well in wet soil that is well-drained. Add aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to the planting bed; these will hold moisture. Celeriac is shallow-rooted; lack of moisture will interrupt growth which can affect flavor. Keep the top few inches of soil moist at all times. Don’t let the soil go dry. Celeriac is also a heavy feeder; use a balanced organic fertilizer; fertilize at planting and again at midseason. Moisture and nutrients will ensure quick growth and should improve flavor.

  3. GOOD AFTERNOON i GREW CELERIAC FROM SEED LAST YEAR AND I WAS MOST DISAPPOINTED IN THE SEEDLING STRENGTH,4CMS TALL VERY WEAK. can YOU ASSIST ME IN ACHIEVING A BETTER RESULT as i did not plant any seedlings

    • Sow celeriac indoors in small pots. Use a commercial organic seed starting mix. When the seedlings are about 4 inches tall, pot them up into the next size pot and use a commercial organic potting soil. (These mixes will be rich in nutrients.) If you are starting seed in the garden, amend the soil in advance of sowing with aged compost or a commercial organic planting mix. Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Seedling strength is directly related to soil nutrients and soil moisture.

  4. I’ve grown two celeriac plants from seedlings in large pots. When I pulled one after many months the entire pot was filled with a network of fine roots and the plant had “budded” sideways and I was able to divide it into 7 seperate plants. No bulbs though just a skinny root on each. I was going to plant these out in a garden bed but I’m not sure what went wrong. We live in a sub-tropical area and the celeriac was growing throughout summer. It’s now late autumn. What did I do wrong?

    • Plant your celeriac roots now that it is autumn where you live; celeriac grows best in cool weather, not warm summer weather. Space the roots or young plants at least 12 inches apart. If temperatures remain cool, the plants should reach harvest in about 120 days.

    • You can harvest celery cut-and-come again; you can slice off the stalks you need, and let the others continue to grow to harvest; the plant may produce new stalks at the crown of the plant where the stalks were harvested.

    • The browning of the bulb may be the start of a fungal or bacterial disease. If the browning spreads, remove the bulb and place it in the trash. Fungal and bacterial disease can be the result of too much soil moisture; soil that is not well-drained. Add aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to the soil and water after the soil surface dries; do not overhead water. There are no cures for fungal or bacterial diseases once they take hold; prevention is the best you can do.

  5. I planted 2 75′ long raised beds of strawberries, mulched them nicely and they were blooming like crazy last year giving me hope for a bumper crop of fruit. As soon as some strawberries appeared and got red I harvested a few and waited a few days to check again hoping to get a few bowls full like in the past. But what I saw was shocking – every single berry red or green was gone☹️. I couldn’t believe it!!!
    After investigating we found out that we have one or more turtles living at our farm feasting in our strawberry patch. I also found out that turtles love strawberries.
    Now I am looking for a solution but didn’t come up with one yet. I am open to any suggestions because the whole strawberry season was down the drain.

    • A barrier will keep turtles from entering the strawberry patch. You can use chicken wire and stakes to create a turtle fence. Bury about 12 inches of the chicken wire in a trench so that the turtles do not tunnel under.

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