Common Disease Problems
Bacterial Leaf Spot: This causes brown water soaked spots on the foliage which eventually makes the foliage turn yellow. It thrives in cooler temperatures. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Do not work around plants when they are wet.
Celery Mosaic Virus: This causes yellowing of foliage, mosaic and or mottling pattern on leaves. Veins become clear, leaves curled and crinkled or otherwise distorted. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Eliminate weed hosts such as wild celery and wild parsnip.
Early Blight: Small yellow spots appear on both sides of the leaves. Later they become gray, circular lesions. Spots dry out and crack and grey fuzzy growth occurs. Burpee Recommends: Do not transplant infected plants.
Fusarium Wilt: This fungal disease causes yellowing and stunting of older plants and yellowing, stunting and death to seedlings. The plant will exhibit signs of wilting frequently and the lower leaves turn yellow and dry up. Burpee Recommends: Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops.
Pink Rot: The first symptom of pink rot is that brown lesions appear on the petioles. Lesions rapidly expand into soft, watery, areas of decay. Plant tissue can turn pink around the lesions. Profuse white mycelia are present in severe cases. Plant base can collapse. Burpee Recommends: Maintain adequate air movement. Do not water overhead.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Beet Army Worm: Nondescript brown moths. Young worms feed on celery leaves. Larvae may be found in the petioles. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies such as parasitic wasps. Remove surrounding weeds, as eggs are often found on them.
Cabbage Looper: These worms are green with a white stripe on either side, about 1-1.5 inches long. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick. Floating row covers can help prevent their laying eggs on the plants.
Leafminers: These insects bore just under the leaf surface causing irregular serpentine lines. The larvae are yellow cylindrical maggots and the adults are small black and yellow flies. They do not usually kill plants, but disfigure the foliage. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected foliage.
Root Knot Nematodes: Microscopic worm-like pests that cause swellings (galls) to form on roots. Plants may wilt or appear stunted. This is a serious problem in many Southern states. Burpee Recommends: Do not plant into infested soil. Grow resistant varieties. Try planting ‘Nema-Gone’ marigolds around your plants.
My celery isn’t growing upright and dark green. Why? Probably the plant is not tied together into an upright bundle of stems. This is called blanching. This must be done to turn the inner stems pale and to keep the plants from sprawling.
Can the root be left in the ground and grow again next year? Roots left in the ground will not produce anything harvestable the following year, although the plant is a biennial and may sprout from the roots.
Why does my celery taste bitter? Celery may become bitter from lack of water or high temperatures. Celery prefers cool and constantly moist growing conditions.
Why are my celery stalks tubular? This can occur when the plants experience a lack of water or nutrients. It is still edible but mostly to add to soups and stews.
My celery stems are cracked and striped brown, and the center is blackened, what’s wrong? Your celery may have a boron deficiency. Test your soil, and grow boron deficiency resistant varieties.