UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA


Garden Help > Vegetables

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How to grow: Celery Production in California

Pest management: Celery pest management

The Basics

Celery is challenging to grow in most of Santa Clara County. It grows best at 60–65ºF though it will tolerate temperatures from 45–75ºF. But it is difficult to find a four-month growing period in Santa Clara County that stays within that temperature range.

Many gardeners who have tried growing celery here report that they get loose stalks rather than dense heads like store-bought celery. They also say the flavor is very strong, better for cooking than eating fresh.

When to plant

  • Transplant in February–March for harvest in May–June.
  • For transplants: Celery seeds are very small and difficult to germinate. Allow 1–2 weeks for germination. Grow seedlings for 10–12 weeks before transplanting (so sow seeds in November–December for February–March transplants).

Harvest window

  • Harvest when (if) head forms and before stalks crack or turn pithy, typically 3–5 months after transplanting.
  • Trim outer stalks and excess foliage.

Care overview

  • Celery is shallow rooted and needs frequent irrigation as well as plentiful nitrogen. Lack of water or fertilizer may result in tough, bitter stalks.
  • If long periods of cool temperatures occur during growth, seed stalk development (bolting) may happen.
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