Don’t you hate when you can’t grow a certain vegetable no matter how you try? And then one day, it magically grows? Well, welcome to my life with celery. Germination is a b*tch. Some years we had a great relationship and others years it was spotty. This on and off again relationship was haunting me. What had I done to deserve to be rebuked by celery? Well, this year I figured out. This is the year you will learn how to germinate celery seed. Let’s get growing.
How to Germinate Celery Seeds:
For many years, celery and I had a wonderful relationship.
Celery needs light to germinate. I happily gave it overhead grow lights. Plus despite the seed package instructions, I never barely cover the seeds. This method never worked for me.
I would sow the seeds on the top of the peat pods. (Note, the seeds are really small and it is really hard to only plant one in a pod.)
I lovely ever so gently tamp downed the seeds into the peat. (Tamp means to press lightly so the seeds makes contact with the substrate, which is the peat pod.)
Always keep the pod nice and moist. Be careful when watering that you don’t wash away the seeds. A heat mat helps as well.
In about 14 to 21 days, my celery seeds would germinate. Even though I often times planted more than one seed in a pod, they are so easy to tease apart and re-pot.
The Shoe Drops:
When other gardeners complained how hard it was to get celery to germinate, I simply smiled and nodded my head as if to say, “I got this.
I never had a problem…
Last year. I sowed a bunch of seed pods and only a few germinated. I figured I pushed my luck on the age of the seeds. Generally celery seed viability is about 5 years.
My seeds were probably older than 5 years.
This year I bought completely different celery seeds. I sowed them using my usual method. Seed on top and keep them moist.
I was stumped. Nada? That just can’t be. I didn’t want to join the celery germination failure club.
Not me. I have a reputation.
So I tried again. Twenty one days of keeping the pods moist, under a dome, and with a heat mat.
This can’t be, as I shook my head. If I didn’t figure out something quick, I wouldn’t have celery this year.
Or my beloved celery leaves. (Read here how I use celery leaves.)
The Solution on How to Germinate Celery Seeds:
I decide to soak the seeds in a weak chamomile tea, and left them on my kitchen countertop. When the tea water almost evaporated, I simply added water.
Since I had to clean up my kitchen, I decided to put the soaking seeds in a cabinet.
So much for light germination.
Then I forgot about them for a week.
Or two. I lost count.
When I remember a couple of weeks later, thankfully, the water hadn’t evaporated.
And guess what I saw? Little tails coming out of several of the celery seeds. Maybe I had a 50% germination? (See the video above.)
Oh Happy Day!
Although I now had several germinated seeds, I was dumbfounded. How was I sowing those little seeds with their equally little germination tails into a soil medium?
Honestly, I didn’t think they would survive the transfer to soil. So, I grabbed a spoon and gently took some seeds with the water and sprinkled them on top of the soil.
I did this several times. See the picture above to see how they look now. There are quite a few bunched up together so I will try to save as many as I can. Honestly, as I mentioned above, I didn’t think any of them would survive.
Moral of the Story
If you seeds just don’t germinate, try soaking them for 24 to 48 hours. Just make sure they don’t dry out.
Join the Conversation:
What are your tips on how to germinate celery seeds?