Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cutting Celery, Leaf Celery, Smallage
Apium graveolens var. secalinum 'Afina'

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Apium (AY-pee-um) (Info)
Species: graveolens var. secalinum
Cultivar: Afina

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By stefoodie
Thumbnail #1 of Apium graveolens var. secalinum by stefoodie

By love0gardening
Thumbnail #2 of Apium graveolens var. secalinum by love0gardening


4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive love0gardening On May 7, 2009, love0gardening from West Milford, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

I planted this along a south facing wall in zone 5 and it came back again the next year even though it is a tender perennial. This is a great addition to the garden. You cut it down (its like a baby celery but stronger taste) and it grows back from the center. It's actually quite pretty and I would use it as a border plant. It is not bothered by slugs and didn't seem popular amoung the bugs, but I loved it. Great in salads, soups & stews.

Positive Wulfsden On Apr 14, 2009, Wulfsden from Riverdale, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

Two years ago, I got 3 cutting celery plants from a friend's organic farm after it "volunteered". I had no idea how to grow them so I planted these in 3 - 8.5 inch half-height pots and grew it in semi-shade. They grew okay and I cut them regularly for my pet rabbits and for our use. I found it a bit strong and stringy for salads but it is superb for flavoring soups and stews. The bunnies gave it two paws up (their highest rating).

As summer progressed I stopped cutting one stalk from each plant. This stalk grew to almost 3 feet high. Large clusters of tiny white flowers formed at the top and at the nodes on the stem. These were a bit like baby's breath. In time the flowers formed clusters of tiny (and I do mean tiny), dark-brown seeds which I allowed to dry. I picked the clusters and rubbed the stems between my hands and the seeds came off easily. I separated the chaff with a standard kitchen sieve - the seeds pass through. The three stems yielded about a heaped teaspoon of seed each. I left the seeds in a covered bowl for a few days to make sure totally dry before putting them in a labeled coin envelope. The seeds, which I believe can be used in cooking, smell strongly of celery.

Last year I planted the seed in 4 * 10 inch standard height pots. I used standard potting soil mixed with one teaspoon of Plant Tones Organic Fertilizer per pot. I grew them in full sun, gave them a daily watering, and added no further fertilizer. I planted 5 clusters per pot dropping 2-3 seeds in each hole. I planted them outside in mid April but they did not germinate until well into May. I started picking by early June. Once they got going I was able to pick 8 good size stalks per day (bunnies eat a lot of celery) without stressing the plants. I would say they did much better in this environ than they did with the shallow pots and shade. I did not let any go to seed since I still had a billion or so seeds left from the prior year.

This year I planted the seed indoors in mid March to see if I could get the harvest started sooner. The seed germinated in a couple of weeks and the 1 inch high plants are growing on my bathroom windowsill. They will be transplanted outside soon.

* * *

Update: May 13, 2009

Okay... I am certainly no expert on this plant. In fact, since the variety I grow was found growing wild, it may not even be this exact cultivar. However, accurate information about it is hard to find, so folks my find my experiences useful.

First, I think this plant may be biennial. The first time that I grew it, it bolted and provided tons of seed. However, plants grown from those seeds have made no attempt to flower. On line you can find it referred to as annual, biennial and perennial, depending on what you read.

Following on from the above hypothesis, it would seem that the wild plant I first grew must have over-wintered here in NJ, Zone 6a.

I grow in pots, which is not the ideal situation for hardiness. My pots freeze pretty solidly if left outside in the winter. Last year, instead of cleaning out my cutting celery pots, I attempted to put them in a safe place. I put them in a big cardboard box in my shed and filled the box with leaf mulch. We had a particularly nasty cold winter.

This spring, of the 15 plants I stored, 2 survived. The plants that died appeared to have root rot. Was this due to freezing? Possibly not, since my storage was far from ideal (wet, no light, and surrounded by shredded leaves). I strongly suspect that this plant is hardy to zone 6a, especially if it is in a sheltered spot and given some mulch.

The two plants that survived are doing well, and growing like bandits. If those two (and only those two) flower, I guess it answers the biennial question. I will try over-wintering again this year, both the survivors and this year's crop. As I learn more, I will let you know.


Positive sycrasy On Mar 7, 2007, sycrasy from Atlanta, GA wrote:

I have several plants that have lived for more than three years in my community garden plot. Leaves are lustrous and dark green with generous feeding, and the plants are indestructible.
I cut back to the ground every few months to get tender new leaves. A great addition to the edible landscape; looks good year-round, zero pest or disease problems.
A couple stems in your stew negates the need for buying celery when you only need two stalks. Not good in cold salads; fibrous rather than juicy. I put whole stalks in my soups and then remove before serving.

Positive rebecca101 On Dec 12, 2004, rebecca101 from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've been really happy with this cutting celery. It's very easy to grow compared to regular celery, and the flavor is much more intense, fragrant and "herby." It's not stringy or watery at all like conventional commercial celery. Cutting celery is the type that is used in Europe. It's a darker green, with thin, flexible stalks and lots of leaves. It looks similar to parsley, although not quite as dark and with a different leaf shape. It takes a little while to germinate and grows somewhat slowly, but once you get it going you can keep cutting from the same small patch all season. A couple square feet is plenty for a small family. Use it like an herb. Super addition to soups, pies, and stuffings.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Clovis, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Scott, Kansas
Riverdale, New Jersey
West Milford, New Jersey
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Madison, Wisconsin

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