Read on to find out exactly what celery companion plants will work best for you in your vegetable garden or flower bed.
Celery can be a tricky vegetable to grow from seed or even from transplant! Give your celery the best possible outcome by paying close attention to the vegetables, flowers, fruit, and herbs that you grow around it. This guide for companion planting celery will encourage your home grown celery to thrive bug free and to grow to its fullest potential.
Find out what plants make great companions for celery and what plants to avoid growing nearby.
Celery can be grown anywhere from zone 2-10 and likes a mix of sun and shade throughout the day. It thrives in soil with a PH of 6-7.5 and requires a great deal of growing time!
Check out my growing guides for March, April and May to plant your seedlings, and to determine the best time to start your celery! For me, in my cold zone 3 garden, late March was the right time to start!
To give your celery a nutrient boost and to ensure the PH is at optimum levels, consider amending your soil with garden lime. The calcium deposited by the lime will also help your home grown celery to thrive. Celery’s flavour can also be enhanced by planting certain crops nearby!!
Another action that you can take to optimize your celery harvest is to make sure that you are taking celery companion plants into consideration– plants that will encourage each other’s growth, help to deter pests, and even enhance it’s flavor!
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is an easy way to get the most out of your garden. Gardening with companion planting in mind can help you to improve the nutrients in your soil, attract beneficial insects and pollinators, provide shelter or a space to climb and even repel unwanted pests. Companion gardening should be taken into consideration when vegetable gardening, establishing orchards, trees and shrubs, grains, grasses, and other field crops.
What Are The Benefits of Companion Planting
Pest Supression: Strong scents from neighbouring plants can help to repel insects (mostly small, egg laying flies) from laying on plants close by. Certain herbs such as mint and oregano, and flowers such as marigolds can prevent pesky worms, nematodes, and other fungi. The oil from Marigolds has been proven to be a great deterrent for many different pests!
Nutrient Provision: One appeal of using a polyculture type of approach and planting different plants next to each other is that the plants wont be competing for the exact same nutrients. Certain plants add needed nutrients into the soil and help neighbouring plants to thrive- they give rather than take. Legumes are considered “givers” and include plants like peas, beans, clover and alfalfa. They have deep roots that fix nitrogen into the soil. Planting nitrogen fixers next to heavy or light feeders that use up nitrogen will create the perfect growing conditions for your crops to thrive.
Trap Cropping: Placing certain bug-appealing plants near other susceptible plants can help to attract pests away from fragile crops and allow them to feed on others that won’t be harmed or aren’t as important. This method is not as popular but definitely worth noting. Planting the trap crop ahead of your target crop will ensure the pests stay away from delicate seedlings. Once the trap crop is infested, you can remove it along with the pests.
Weed Prevention: Certain crops like cucumbers and pumpkins provide fast growing ground cover that help to suppress surrounding weeds. Try to alternate upright crops with sprawling plants to keep weeds at bay in your garden.
Protective Shelter: Fragile plants or plants with very specific needs can be benefitted from the shelter that surrounding plants may provide. Companion plants can provide shade, a wind barrier, and a canopy to protect lower plants from rain, hail, and even frost.
Natural Supports: Strong, tall plants such as sunflowers and corn offer trailing plants or low growing plants like peas and cucumbers a strong trellis-like support to climb and spread.
The BEST Celery Companion Plants
Plants that serve as a good companion to celery include:
Strong Smelling Herbs- Strong, aromatic herbs serve three purposes when planted alongside celery: attracting pollinators, repelling pests, and providing shade. These strong scented herbs include oregano, marjoram, thyme, mint, dill, hyssop, rosemary, and tansy. Celery is very attractive to rabbits and deer and these herbs can deter them from midnight snacking on your celery bounty! Certain herbs can grow quite tall which helps to shade celery from the sun, helping it to succeed in the garden.
Flowers- marigolds, nasturtium, geranium, chamomile, and cosmos. Marigolds have a strong, off-putting smell for pests. Marigolds can also serve as a trap crop for slugs! Both nasturtium and geranium have a peppery scent that helps to ward off different worms, beetles, and even cabbage loopers. Cosmos can attract helpful predators such as wasps which feed on many of the pesky insects that harm celery. Chamomile is known to enhance the flavor of celery.
Brassicas- Celery makes a great companion for all members of the brassica family including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Celery helps to deter the infamous white cabbage moths that normally plague brassicas, chewing through their leaves and causing damage to the vegetables.
Alliums- Alliums are said to enhance the sweetness of celery, enhancing the strong flavour of this stocky vegetable. Alliums include leeks, onions, garlic, and shallots.
Bush Beans + Cucumbers- Celery benefits bush beans and cucumbers because it’s strong scent deters whiteflies.
What NOT to Plant With Celery
Plants that you should avoid growing alongside celery include:
Corn- Corn is a heavy feeder. If planted next to celery, it could potentially draw nutrients away from the celery and into its own root system… leaving celery depleted of important nutrients. Corn also grows tall with large leaves that may block too much sunlight from developing celery plants.
Parsley + Cilantro- Parsley and cilantro are in the same family as celery and can be both tricky to distinguish at early stages, make them more susceptible to pests, and compete for the same nutrients. Try to give these parsley and cilantro a little bit of space and clear labelling in the garden. For more information about what plants work well with parsley, check out this Parsley Companion Planting Guide.
Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes, and other root crops- Celery has a very shallow root system- be mindful not to plant it next to root crops that may disturb celery if harvested at different times.
Frequently Asked Questions About Celery
Celery is a long season crop, taking about 4 to 4 1/2 months to reach full maturity. You can harvest some of the outer stocks earlier if they are a desirable size! Celery leaves can also be harvested and eaten or preserved early on. Younger leaves will be more tender. See my post about edible vegetable tops for more information about how to harvest and store celery leaves! If you are starting celery indoors, it will need to be started in March or April. Alternately, celery can be direct seeded in May for a later fall harvest.
Celery can be a tricky plant to start from seed. It enjoys soil with a PH of 6-7.5. If you are starting celery indoors, it will need to be started in March or April. Alternately, celery can be direct seeded in May for a later fall harvest.
Celery will continue to grow back stocks for several months if harvested correctly. Cut the outer stocks of the celery, being sure not to harvest more than 50% of the plant at a time to allow it to regenerate.
Celery are considered biennial plants- they can be harvested and regrown for up to two years. After two years you will have to replant your celery.
Harvest celery before blistering summer temperatures if possible. Hot temperatures combined with dry conditions can cause celery to become woody. If you live in a very hot zone, consider planting celery where it will have a bit of shade at some point in the day. Continue to water it well if you plan on doing a late season or fall harvest.
Celery thrives in full sun; however, hot and dry conditions can make it bolt and become woody. Celery will tolerate a bit of shade and if you are in a warm zone, it may be a necessity to keep it cool. Keep it well watered and cover surrounding soil with mulch or a ground covering companion plant.
Blanching celery in the garden helps it to become sweeter and less woody. It involves covering the outer leaves and stems 2-3 weeks before harvesting, limiting exposure to sun. You can use newspaper and twine or a 2L cardboard milk container. Gardener’s Path has an awesome tutorial.
Celery Recipes Ready for Harvest Time
Mirepoix- Soup is a lunchtime staple in my house! Create this traditional french soup base with three garden staples: carrots, celery, and onions. The vegetables are finely diced and sauteed with butter in order to create an aromatic combination for any soup. Check out this recipe from The Forked Spoon with fun variations at the bottom.
Creamy Celery Soup- Warm up with this fresh and creamy celery soup- serve it with some hot whole grain sourdough and you have yourself the perfect meal!
Stuffed Celery With Cream Cheese Filling: Trade out your traditional peanut butter and celery or Cheese Whiz and celery for this adult version! Fun as an afternoon snack or a party appetizer, this celery with cream cheese filling is sure to be a hit.