Celery is one of those wonderfully versatile vegetables that you can almost always find in your crisper drawer. Great for everything from snacks to soup, maybe celery should be found in your garden, too!
This cool-weather crop will appreciate a few plant friends to help provide shade, preserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, provide pest and disease control, and boost overall growth. The following guide will help you determine which of the best companion plants for celery to interplant and which to keep at a distance.
Best Companion Plants for Celery
Beans, peas, and other legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, providing extra nutrients for celery, which is a heavy feeder. Pole beans also provide cooling shade on hot days. In return, celery helps deter bean beetles.
Celery deters pests like cabbage moths that attack cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and other members of the brassica family. Taller brassicas, in turn, shade celery seedlings from the hot sun.
More than just a pretty flower, tall, colorful cosmos attract beneficial insects and parasitic wasps that feed on pests. Plant them alongside celery to provide shade as well, or mix them with other pollinator-attracting flowers along the edge of the garden.
The sprawling vines of cucumbers help shade both cool-loving celery and the soil around it, suppressing weeds and improving the moisture retention of the soil. In return, celery discourage whiteflies from attacking the cucumbers.
Herbs with a strong scent, like dill, mask the scent of target crops like celery and repel pests. When allowed to flower, dill also attracts beneficial insects.
Bright, cheerful marigolds add color to the garden and naturally deter pests like nematodes and flea beetles. If slugs are a problem, you can also plant a trap crop of marigolds to distract the slimy pests from your celery.
With its strong scent, mint repels small and large pests that like to munch on celery.
Keep in mind that this perennial herb spreads aggressively, so you may want to place a pot of it near your celery rather than plant it in the ground.
Nasturtiums repel pests like flea beetles. They also have a vining habit, which means they act as a living mulch, helping to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Plus, both the flowers and leaves make a wonderful peppery addition to salads.
The strong aroma of onions, garlic, chives, and other alliums deters pests that damage celery. Many gardeners also claim that alliums improve the flavor of celery when grown nearby.
Oregano repels damaging pests and masks the scent of celery with its own pungent fragrance. A bushy perennial, it may be best suited to a pot in the vegetable garden. Alternatively, try planting celery in the herb bed.
Another strong-scented herb, rosemary helps keep celery safe from munching insects. Again, you may want to plant it in a container or plant your celery in the herb garden if you have mild enough winters for this tender perennial to survive the cold.
Yet another herb with a strong fragrance, sage also acts as a natural deterrent to insect pests. It, too, is a perennial that you may want to keep potted or located in the herb garden.
Thyme provides natural ground cover and pest control with its creeping tendencies and a pleasant aroma. However, like most of the other herbs on this list, it is a perennial and should be grown in a moveable container or the herb garden with celery planted around it.
Worst Companion Plants for Celery
Carrots belong to the same family as celery, which means the two crops suffer from many of the same pests and diseases. Planting them apart helps prevent the spread of such problems. Plus, harvesting carrots grown too close to celery can disturb the shallow celery roots.
Both corn and celery are heavy feeders, which means corn can out-compete celery for necessary nutrients, leading to poor growth. Corn can also provide too much shade for celery (too much of a good thing!).
Like carrots, parsley belongs to the celery family. Keep all three in different parts of the garden to prevent shared pests and diseases from spreading from one crop to another.
Potatoes ripen around the same time that celery reaches its full growing potential, which means you’ll uproot your celery while digging potatoes, robbing yourself of any future celery harvests.
Turnips pose the same problem as carrots and potatoes — and any other root vegetable, for that matter. Digging up turnips planted too close to celery will disturb those shallow roots.
Slathered in peanut butter and raisins or chopped in a soup, celery is a delicious vegetable that deserves a place in every vegetable garden. Intercropping with the right plants can help it thrive!
Serena Manickam is a freelance editor and writer and sustainable market gardener in rural Virginia. She holds a BA in environmental science and runs Fairydiddle Farm, a small market garden in which she grows no-spray produce and herbs to sell at a local farmer’s market.