Why Are My Celeriac So Small?

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a versatile root vegetable that is often used in cooking for its distinct taste and texture. 

However, it can sometimes present challenges when it comes to growing it to a good size. 

There are several factors that could contribute to the small size of your celeriac, ranging from cultivation practices to environmental conditions. 

In this article, we’ll answer the question: Why are my cerlariac so small? And offer potential solutions to help you grow larger and more robust roots.

A common factor causing small celeriac is not enough water, but celeriac size can also depend on conditions such as soil quality, spacing and temperature, and even the variety of celeriac you have chosen.

Soil Quality And Nutrition

One of the key factors that determine the size of celeriac roots is the quality of the soil they are grown in. 

Celeriac requires well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Poor soil quality can lead to stunted growth and small roots. If your soil lacks essential nutrients, your celeriac plants might struggle to develop properly. 

Conduct a soil test to assess nutrient levels and pH, and consider amending the soil with compost or well-balanced fertilisers to provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small - Celeriac


Celeriac plants need plenty of space to grow and develop a healthy root system. 

Planting them too closely together can result in overcrowding, which can limit the size of the roots. 

Ensure that you adhere to recommended spacing guidelines when planting celeriac. 

Adequate spacing allows each plant to access the nutrients, water, and sunlight it needs to thrive.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small - Celeriac Growing In Soil

Watering And Moisture 

Consistent and appropriate watering is crucial for celeriac growth.

Lack of water is probably one of the main factors causing your celariac to be small.

Inconsistent or inadequate watering can lead to stress on the plants, resulting in smaller roots. 

Celeriac prefers consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged conditions. 

The soil should not be allowed to dry out completely.

Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature, creating a better environment for root development.

Temperature And Growing Season 

Celeriac is a cool-season crop that prefers cooler temperatures for optimal growth. 

If the weather becomes too hot, the growth of celeriac roots can be compromised. 

Ensure that you’re growing celeriac during the appropriate season for your region, and consider using shade cloth or other methods to protect the plants from excessive heat.

In the UK the best time to plant the seeds is indoors in spring.

Although celeriac likes cool weather, the seedlings do not and will need warmer temperatures to develop.

Move the seedlings outside in late May/early June after hardening them off for about a week.

You will be looking to harvest celeriac in late autumn to early winter.

They are pretty hardy however, and you can leave them in the ground over the winter, even if it freezes a little.

In fact, the longer you leave them, the more the flavour develops.

If you have a particularly cold winter however, with a hard freeze or lots of snow, consider covering with straw or fleece.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small - Celeriac Roots


Thinning is the practice of removing excess seedlings to allow the remaining plants to grow more vigorously. 

If you’ve sown celeriac seeds densely, the plants might be competing for resources and result in smaller roots. 

Thinning the seedlings to the recommended spacing can help the remaining plants develop larger and healthier roots.

Once your plants are developing, keep the celeriac crown clear by removing the older lower leaves.

Pest And Disease Management

Pests and diseases can weaken celeriac plants and hinder their growth. 

Common pests that affect celeriac include aphids, slugs, and carrot fly larvae. 

Practicing good hygiene in the garden can help minimise the impact of these threats and promote healthy root growth.

Remove weeds from the bed to promote good airflow around the plants.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small - Celeriac Celery Root


While celeriac benefits from nutrient-rich soil, using too much nitrogen-rich fertiliser can lead to lush foliage growth at the expense of root development. 

It’s important to strike a balance between providing enough nutrients and avoiding over-fertilisation. 

Using a balanced fertiliser can support both foliage and root growth.

Variety Selection

The choice of celeriac variety can influence root and vegetable size. 

Some varieties are naturally more compact and may produce smaller roots, while others are bred for larger yields. 

Research and select varieties that are known for producing sizable roots under your growing conditions.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small - Celeriac Root And Leaves

pH Levels

Celeriac grows best in soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range (around 6.0 to 7.0). 

Extreme pH levels can affect nutrient availability and root development. 

Testing and adjusting the pH of your soil can contribute to better growth outcomes.

Time, Patience And Care 

Finally, growing celeriac to a desirable size requires patience and consistent care. 

Adequate attention to watering, fertilising, and pest management, along with a bit of luck with weather conditions, will ultimately contribute to the success of your celeriac crop.

It does take time however, I found it took at least 6 months from seed to harvest.

Why Are My Celeriac So Small

Final Thoughts

As we can see, several factors can contribute to the small size of your celeriac roots, ranging from soil quality and spacing to environmental conditions and care practices. 

By addressing these factors and making necessary adjustments, you can increase the likelihood of growing larger and more flavourful celeriac roots. 

Remember that gardening often involves experimentation, learning and waiting! 

So don’t be discouraged if you encounter challenges along the way. 

Another great crop to grow are courgettes, check out our articles on how to grow courgettes and why they may sometimes develop a round shape.

With time and experience, you’ll be better equipped to grow thriving celeriac crops in the future.

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