The edible, perennial and aquatic Rainbow Water Celery (Oenanthe javanica) is growing beautifully in the food forest dam at Booyong. It was given to us by our good friend Cecilia from crop swap in Sydney and has the softest colouring of cream, green and pink.
Growing – This celery grows about 30cm high and spreads rapidly across the water via rhizomes, growing rapidly in the warmer weather. We initially grew it in a floating pot but it has spread to the side of the dam and looks very pretty around the edge. The pink and green colours are more intense during cooler weather and it looks lovely now. Rainbow celery can be grown in full sun or partial shade.
Care – Rainbow celery likes moisture so is suitable to grow in a pond or in a bucket of soil submerged in a few centre metres of water, just be sure to not submerge the leaves as this will cause it to rot. It can become invasive and establishes itself well ins till water, so watch it closely and keep it away from waterways.
It is said to remove phosphates, nitrates and other pollution’s from water.
Pruning – It is easily removed if it spreads too quickly, so watch it in the hot Summer months.
Companion Planting – The small white flowers attract beneficial insects.
Pests and Diseases – Snails will potentially enjoy wet, dense foliage.
Harvest – Harvest as required and be sure to wash it thoroughly before eating.
Propagation – By seed or seedlings when thinning out.
Eating – Rainbow water celery can be eaten by people and fish and animals (chickens and Guinea pigs). It has a strong celery flavour and is lovely cut up on salads, if you add it to stir-fries it will become milder with the heat. It is also lovely cut up finely in a stir fry, roots, and all.