How to Grow Celery from Scraps

If you're thinking of tossing your celery heart, think again.


You may already know that celery is the unsung hero of the snack world (it's the perfect vessel for dips like peanut butter, vegetable spreads, and hummus), but did you also know that when you're done with it, leftover celery can also become a windowsill propagation project? All you need is a celery heart, a cup of water, and a little bit of sunshine to give vegetable a second life. We talked to two garden experts to find out everything you need to know in order to take your used celery heart from compost to cultivation.

How to Begin

If you've been thinking about cultivating some fresh celery from your leftovers, Adrienne R. Roethling, director of curation and mission delivery at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, says it's an easier process than you'd think. "Lots of vegetables can regrow from roots or a basil plate," she says. The basil plate is where the roots and stem meet. On your celery heart, the basil plate is the bottom part where all of the celery stalks come together. She suggests inserting toothpicks into your celery heart, approximately two inches above the basil plate, before placing it into a dish of water. It will take a few days, but then you will begin to see your celery start to take root.

Make sure to keep the water in your dish fresh and topped off. Some of it will be absorbed by your celery plant, and some of it will evaporate as well. "In about six days you will see full green leaves (yes) pop out from the middle of the stalk," says Vicky Popat, chief financial officer and tropical plant expert at PlantOGram. "When you see full leaves it's time to plant it in a container of soil!"

When It's Time to Plant

You will want to plant your new celery in soil that is well-drained. "Celery plants don't like to stay wet—they feel like they are drowning," explains Popat. You should keep them somewhere that they will be easy to water and receive a fair amount of sun as well.

Unfortunately, using this method does not mean you will be able to grow an endless crop of celery, explains Roethling. This way of re-growing celery is only good for one more round of produce. While that may be disappointing, it shouldn't stop you from trying to grow celery from scraps. Not only will you get a few extra stalks of celery, but it will be fun to watch your new plant make progress every day. If you find that you enjoy giving your scraps a second life, Roethling says you don't have to stop at celery. Any plant with a basil plate should regrow this way.

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