Celery Leaf (Also known as Chinese Celery, French Celery)
Leaf celery is the type that is used in Europe. It looks similar to parsley but tastes exactly like regular stalk celery, but with a slightly stronger, herbier taste. It is a darker green, with thin, rounded, flexible stalks and curly, aromatic leaves; it is much easier to grow than its "big brother".
Great for container gardens and small herb gardens, Leaf Celery is used and taste just like its giant cousins but only gets 20 to 25cm (8 to12in) tall and very leafy. It is a cut-and-come-again plant and grows back beautifully. No blanching is required.
The leaves are best eaten while tender it can be used like an herb. Great in dressings garnish soups. Stews and salads, pies and stuffings or any recipe where celery leaves are used.
There are three different kinds of celery plants; normal (sometimes called blanched or bleached) celery, leaf celery and celeriac (sometimes called celery root). These are all three related, and will cross pollinate if grown next to each other.
Leaf celery is a bit finicky to get started but once transplanted into the garden it is very easy to grow.
Sowing: Sow in Spring from February to June.
- Germination can be erratic and the seed is best surface sown February indoors or in a greenhouse. The maincrop can be sown as late as mid April. Outdoor sown seed rarely germinates satisfactorily.
- Start the seeds indoors no sooner than 2 to 3 months before your last frost date.
- Sow into flats or modules containing a good quality well drained soil do not cover as they need light to germinate.
- Water from the base of the container, never directly on top of the seeds
- Germinates in 2 to 3 weeks at 15°C (59°F).
- The seedlings should be transplanted when they have their first set of true leaves and are still small
- Leaf celery is not frost tolerant so only plant outdoors once all risk of frosts has passed.
- Full sun or partial shade suit them equally well, and although they are fairly tolerant of drought, don't plant them in very dry places and water when dry.
- Leaf celery takes a little while to germinate and grows somewhat slowly, but once you get it going you can keep cutting from the same small patch all season. A couple square feet is plenty for a small family.
- It will take around 85 days from sowing to first harvest.
Suitable for the garden, allotments and containers.
Be prepared to water well and supplement feed with high-potash feed during season. Regular feeding is recommended.