How to grow celeriac in the garden

The union between celery and turnip results in the one known as celeriac , a horticultural of the apiaceae ( Apiaceae ) or umbelliferae family, scientifically known as Apium graveolens  var. Rapaceum.

Both celery and turnip are crops that have their value in the underground roots it produces, so the mixture of both results in a symbiosis between the taste of celery and the rounded fruit of the turnip. At the crossing level, it is something similar to the kohlrabi we saw earlier, a mixture of cabbage and turnip.

This type of crops is characterized by developing in several cycles , at the end of winter and the end of summer, in loose and hilled soils. All this information is very valuable if we want to try alternatives in the garden compared to the traditional cabbages, broccoli or turnips.


The perfect mix between celery and turnip produces a plant with an aerial part very similar to that of celery , with serrated leaves that form a bunch with a characteristic bright green. However, the part of the tuber or root is exact to that of the turnip, with a fruit with spherical geometry, brown or whitish color and white flesh.

As for flavor, it is very similar to turnip , but with all tastes that remind us of celery, slightly spicy, since it is a very characteristic flavor. Its usual consumption is cooked, but there are also spices that are consumed fresh, in salads.

This cross between species does not mean that it is a recent horticultural plant. This vegetable has been highly appreciated for centuries in European countries such as Holland, France, Germany or the United Kingdom, being cultivated since the 18th century , when there were huge amounts of organic matter from horses and draft animals.


This type of umbelliferous is widely cultivated in northern Europe , as is the case with different varieties of cabbages, kohlrabi and a long etcetera. However, it is also cultivated in the Mediterranean basin (where it originates from) and Andalusian areas, North Africa and North America.


  • Order:  Apiales
  • Family:  Apiaceae
  • Genus: Apium
  • Species: Apium graveolens  var. rapaceum

Common names: celeriac, celery root.



Although it is a horticultural plant of Mediterranean origin, it does not withstand excess heat , so the sowing cycles usually avoid the summer growing season, where the presence of horticultural crops from the Solanaceae family is common, such as tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, peppers. and others.

For this reason, the initial cycle begins in February in the warmest areas, or in late summer and early autumn , with a longer cultivation duration.


Bulb and tuber horticultural crops are not very demanding on soil, but they do need them to be loose, soft and have a good presence of organic matter.

A special type of soil texture is not necessary , being the medium (clay loam) the ideal. The preparation of the soil is important, with a deep plow (30 to 40 cm) to allow a good development of the root system and the bulb in its early stages, as well as a correct oxygenation of the soil.

On the other hand, we must avoid waterlogging at all costs, since it is an ideal condition for fungi that affect the bulbs and roots to proliferate.

Plantation frame

The way to plant celeriac is similar to that of turnips, leaving enough space for the correct development of the bulb. We speak of distance between plants of 0.3-0.4 m and between rows of 0.75 to 1 meter , usually in ridges.


Celeriac irrigation is usually carried out using lateral drip holders or by sprinkling . In the transplant, an irrigation of several hours is given to encourage the development of the first roots, and later an average of 2 to 3 weekly irrigations of 1 hour are scheduled.

The celeriac requires that the water and the fertilizer do not exceed conductivity limits set at 1.8 mS / cm , which means that we have to look for good quality water to achieve good productions.


Umbelliferae, such as celery , are not very demanding crops in terms of fertilizer, but given the limited plantation framework, to achieve decent productions a continuous supply of mineral fertilizers is needed along with a good base of organic matter.

Nutritionally, it requires the following amounts of NPK:

  • Kg of nitrogen (UFN): 140-160 kg
  • Kg of phosphorus (UFP): 40-60 kg
  • Kg of potassium (UFK): 225-250 kg

Regarding the contribution of organic matter , it is usual to maintain levels between 1.5-2% of OM in soil analysis , which is equivalent to contributions of 30 to 40 t / ha every 3 or 4 years.


Celeriac can be attacked by biting insects (caterpillars and worms) such as sap suckers (mainly aphids). In conditions of high humidity or waterlogging of soils, diseases that affect the leaves (mildew) and neck and root fungi also proliferate .

Main pests

  • Cruciferous caterpillars ( Pieris  sp L.): affect the leaves and reduce the leaf area.
  • Cruciferous aphid ( Brevicoryne brassicae ): they suck the sap from the leaves and nerves and reduce the energy of the plant.
  • Wire worm ( Agriotes  spp): the main damages are caused by the larvae, which affect the roots, leaves and fruits.
  • Cabbage fly ( Delia radicum ): the damage is caused by the larvae, creating galleries in the leaves.

Main diseases

  •  Downy mildew ( Peronospora brassicae Gaumann): affects the leaves, causing yellowish spots on the upper surface.
  • Rhizoctonia solani : soil fungus that causes brown spots on the neck and root.
  • White Rust ( Albugo candida  Kunze): creates localized spots on the white leaf, totally chlorotic.

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