Is Celery Frost Hardy? | Tips for Growing Celery in Cold Weather

Mature celery plants can survive light frosts with temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy frosts can damage the leaves and stems and cause the plant to die back quickly. Young celery plants can be damaged by light frosts. Plant celery in late summer to give them the growing time over winter to develop strong stems. Pick them before the coldest winter days to avoid frost damage.

Key Takeaways

  • Celery is not very frost hardy, but with the right care, it can still be grown successfully in colder climates.
  • Watering celery deeply once or twice a week is important for its growth and survival in cold weather.
  • Planting celery from seed indoors and providing it with extra care can help it to thrive in colder temperatures.

Celery Can Survive Light Frost

Celery can survive light frost covering in spring and early winter. Harvesting celery stems before heavy frosts in winter will prevent any damage.

Young plants should always be protected from frost as they can be damaged or even killed. Cover them with small plastic containers or soda bottles if you are expecting a night or early morning frost.

To make sure that celery is mature enough to be harvested before the winter frosts arrive they need to be planted in late summer. This will give them around 6 months to mature and develop.

Celery can be harvested one stem at a time or the whole plant can be removed at once. Avoid planting celery to early in summer as it could cause the plant to go to seed early and not to develop stems.

Temperatures too cold for celery

Temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for celery to grow well. When temperatures drop below this level the ground soil will become too cold for celery.

This will slow celery growth and cause the stems to stay small.

How to keep celery growing in cold weather

To keep celery growing well during cold spring weather or the start of winter you can follow a few tips. Here are my easy tips to keep your celery growing well in cold weather.

1. Top dress the soil with compost

Top dressing the soil around celery will help to insulate it and protect the plant roots from cold weather rand light frosts. Add 2 inches of homemade or commercial compost around the root zone of your plants.

Make sure there is a 1 inch gap between the compost and the celery stems to avoid water being trapped and the stems rotting. This covering of compost will help to insulate the soil and protect the celery roots from temperature drops.

2. Cover the soil with straw mulch

Covering the soil around celery with straw mulch is a great way to protect celery plants in cold weather. Add a 3 inch layer of straw mulch around the plants, on top of any compost top dressing.

Keep the straw mulch 1 inch away from the celery stems to prevent rot. The straw mulch will insulate the soil, slowly break down to feed earthworms and soil bacteria and help to protect celery in cold weather.

3. Water deeply but less frequently

Watering celery 1-2 times per week deeply is a great way to help them to grow well over winter. Water the plants in the morning so that they have time to dry out throughout the day.

Watering the celery deeply will encourage the plant to send roots down deeper. This will improve the health of the plant overall and help it to survive cold weather.

4. Avoid adding fertilizer

Avoid adding any fertilizer to your celery in cold weather. Plant growth will naturally slow in the colder weather. Any fertilizer added could burn the roots of the plant.

Remove any competing weeds

To help celery to grow well in winter it is important to remove any competing weeds. Winter rain can bring loads of winter weeds that will spring up and steal nutrients from your celery.

A covering of mulch will help to prevent weeds. Pull any weeds that manage to grow through out by hand to avoid damaging the roots of your celery plant.

Check out this video showing how you can regrow celery from store bought.

Do I need to cover celery when there is a frost?

Young celery plants will need protection from a frost. Even light frosts can kill young plants so it is best to cover them completely with a plastic container. Young celery plants can fit under a soda bottle. Cut off the end and place it over the plant if you are expecting a frost.

Larger celery plants will need protection from heavy frosts. You can cover the whole plant with straw and remove it the next day when the frost has passed.

You can also place a plastic or hessian cover over the plants at night, removing it in the morning to protect the plant from frosts.

Can celery survive a spring frost?

Mature celery plants can survive a light spring frost. Celery that was planted in late summer will be close to harvest size by spring.

Surrounding plants with a 2-3 inch layer of straw mulch in spring is a great way to protect the soil and the plant roots from cold weather.

Can you leave celery in the ground over winter?

Celery plants in late summer should be ready for harvest at the start of winter. Celery can be left in the ground over winter in areas with mild winters and temperatures above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Celery can be continually harvested by cutting off the outer stems and leaving the main plant in the ground. This can mean you can continue to harvest celery all winter.


Celery is a cold hardy plant that can survive light frosts. Protect young plants from mild frosts as they are less frost hardy. Plant celery in late summer so they are ready to harvest in early winter before heavy frosts arrive.

For more on growing vegetables in cold weather, check out this article: Can Carrots Survive Frost?

Happy growing.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what temperature does celery become damaged by frost?

Celery is a cool-season crop that is half-hardy to frost and light freezes. It can tolerate a light frost, but not consecutive frosts. The ideal temperature for celery is between 60 and 70°F (15 and 21°C). Temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can cause damage to the plant, while temperatures below 32°F (0°C) can cause the celery to freeze and become damaged.

How can I protect my celery plants from frost?

To protect your celery plants from frost, you can cover them with a frost blanket or row cover. You can also top dress the soil with compost to insulate the roots and protect them from cold weather and light frosts. Another option is to water the plants thoroughly before a frost, as moist soil retains heat better than dry soil.

Can celery survive a frost?

Celery can survive a light frost, but consecutive frosts can damage the plant. If the temperature drops below freezing, the celery can freeze and become damaged. If the celery is exposed to frost for an extended period, it can cause the plant to wilt and die.

Is celery a frost-tolerant plant?

Celery is not a frost-tolerant plant, but it can tolerate some cold weather. It is important to protect the plant from consecutive frosts and freezing temperatures to ensure it survives the winter.

What are some tips for growing celery in colder climates?

To grow celery in colder climates, plant it early in the spring and provide it with a lot of water and nutrients. Celery requires a long growing season of around 16 weeks of cool weather to come to harvest. You can also start the seeds indoors and transplant them outside once the weather warms up.

Are there any companion plants that can help protect celery from frost?

Companion plants such as garlic, onions, and leeks can help protect celery from frost. These plants emit a strong odor that can repel pests and protect the celery from frost damage. Additionally, planting celery near other cool-season crops such as carrots and beets can help protect the plants from frost and provide a diverse harvest.