Identifying Harmful Celery Diseases

The celery plant is commonly grown among household, vegetable gardens. Its succulent leaves are cooked fresh and its seeds are used as a flavoring agent. Celery has a longer growing season compared to most other garden plants. This makes the celery crop susceptible to many diseases that can be very destructive. For effective disease management, identifying the initial symptoms is critical. You can use the following information for identifying and controlling the two most harmful diseases common to the celery crop.

Celery Rot Disease

This disease is more common in cold and moist conditions. It is caused by the common soft rot bacteria, called E. carotovora. It mainly affects the stem of the celery crop. A more typical form of the Soft Rot celery disease is Pink Rot. Although this is also a stem-based disease, it is caused by a fungus and not bacteria. Soft Rot and Pink Rot are commonly referred to as Rotting Diseases.


Soft Rot and Pink Rot-affected celery crop show some common symptoms. The affected part of the stem has a typical, water-soaked appearance. The stem appears slimy, showing signs of initial decay. Some stems may even emit a rancid odor. Soft rot bacteria spreads quickly through the celery crop, particularly through stems that have been weathered due to harsh winter conditions. The identifying features for an invasive Pink Rot disease include rapid decaying of the basal part of the stem, with the decaying area developing a slightly pinkish hue. Sometimes, the pink core is surrounded by a white mold.


Crop rotation is helpful against Soft Rot. However, Pink Rot needs more invasive management, like spraying the seedbed with fungicides. You should rotate the celery crop to ensure that the Pink Rot doesn't become invasive in one part of the garden. Try to irrigate with the drip method instead of using sprinklers, water sprayers or furrow irrigation. This helps to reduce chances of stem injury due to pressurized water spraying.

Celery Blight Disease

Leaf blight is also called the leaf spot disease. It is caused by two types of fungi — Cercospora and Septoria fungus. Both the types of fungi favor wet, colder conditions. Heavy rains and strong air currents can aid the spread of such fungi. Cercospora Blight and Septoria Blight are commonly referred to as Spotting Diseases.


Septoria Blight is also called Late Blight. It has a long dormant stage before it becomes visible to the human eye. You should carefully inspect your celery crop for Late Blight symptoms, like appearance of specks among the lower leaves. Septoria-affected leaves have a dull, brownish appearance. Septoria blight develops in the form of small flask-like bodies found around the leaf lesions. Cercospora Blight occurs more commonly and is easier-to-spot. It is also called Early Blight. It can occur in humid conditions as well, whereas Septoria blight needs extremely wet environments. Early blight does not have any spore-like formation, but the necrosis among the leaves is easily observable.


You should start using fungal sprays as soon as you transplant celery into the garden soil. Most spotting diseases are caused due to dormant fungal spores present in the seeds bought from garden supply stores. You should soak the seeds in an anti-fungal solution before sowing them. You should try to rotate the fungal formulations to ensure that the fungi don’t become resistant to any particular kind of fungicide. If your crop shows a repeated pattern of blight infestation, three-to-four crop rotations in a year are recommended. Try to widen the gap between the rows of plants to ensure better inflow of air. This helps to displace the fungal spores.