Do you know Potatoes make for lovely houseplants? Read on to learn How to Grow Potatoes Indoors and enjoy a plateful of homegrown harvest!
One of the most widely grown vegetables, Potatoes are packed with nutrients and find their place in a wide number of cuisines. Not just the vegetable but the foliage looks attractive and adds to the beauty of any garden. If you wish to grow this popular vegetable as a houseplant, here’s an informative guide on How to Grow Potatoes Indoors!
- Botanical Name: Solanum tuberosum
- USDA Zone: 3 to 10
- Leaf Size: 20–30 cm
- Tiny white, lavender, or purple flowers having five fused petals and yellow stamens
- Easily digestible and offers vitamin C, protein, thiamin, and niacin
- Grows well in loamy and sandy loam soils, which are rich in organic matter with good drainage
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Potato plant profile
This popular plant is from the Solanaceae family and is grown for its starchy tubers worldwide. Potatoes are eaten whole or mashed as a cooked vegetable and are also ground into potato flour, used in baking, and as a thickener for sauces. Also, the vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, B6, potassium, and some vital nutrients that boost healthy heart health and the nervous system.
Leaves of this plant are spirally arranged, with each leaf 20–30 cm long consisting of a terminal leaflet and two to four pairs of leaflets. Not just outdoors, you can grow potatoes indoors too, ensuring enough sunlight and space to grow.
Potatoes are propagated by vegetative method, i.e, through the axillary buds or eyes present on the surface.
- Look for potatoes with enough protruding nodes and cut them into pieces so each piece has at least 2-3 nodes.
- Take a large growing bag or a tub with enough drainage holes and fill 3/4th of the container with a well-draining potting mix.
- Place the tuber pieces with nodes facing upwards, spacing them 2-3 inches apart.
- Cover them with a layer of the growing medium and mist the soil. Ensure the soil gets ample sunlight.
- You’ll notice new shoots breaking out of the soil in about 10-14 days.
The trick to growing potatoes indoors lies in layering the surface with manure-rich medium, also known as ‘hilling’ as the plant grows up to 8-12 inches tall. It will ensure the roots get enough nutrients and space to grow fuller potatoes. You may need to repeat this twice or thrice to ensure the tubers are well-covered with soil. Exposure to sunlight will turn the tubers green, giving them a bitter taste.
Ideal Pot Size to Grow Potatoes Indoors
The first thing you need to keep in mind if you wish to grow potatoes indoors is the pot size. Remember, the more space you provide, the higher the chances of a fuller harvest. An ideal container should be about 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Ensure enough holes in the bottom to promote drainage. The best bet would be to use grow bags, jute bags, buckets, or tubs to help the plant grow in full glory.
You may also choose to grow in 12-14 inches planters. However, in that case, sowing one or two tuber pieces per pot would be a wiser option.
Requirements for Growing Potatoes
Potatoes need a good-quality organic potting mix rich in nutrients and minerals with a pH level between 5.5 to 6. It is essential to get a free, well-draining medium, so the nodes get enough space to spread and grow. Also, make sure there are no rocky particles in the medium.
The ideal blend would be 40% sand, 20% loamy soil, and 20% well-rotted manure. Also, add a fistful of lime to bar a common potato scab disease.
Potatoes need a minimum of 5-7 hours of direct sunlight for healthy growth. When growing indoors, place the pot in the south-facing windows or balconies so they can enjoy a few hours of the afternoon sun. However, if you find the leaves scorching, move them to shade, especially during summer.
You can also opt for high-intensity grow lights to make for the plant’s light requirements indoors.
The best way to kill a potato plant is by overwatering! These plants are highly non-resistant to soggy or saturated medium. Let the medium dry out completely between watering sessions. When growing indoors, it is even more important to maintain the proper soil moisture.
Temperature and Humidity
The potato is a cool-season crop that can tolerate a little frost. Potato sprouts grow best at 64F/18ºC, while the ideal temperature for tuber planting is between 60-66 F or 16-19ºC.
The ideal humidity for growing potatoes is 50% to 90%. So you may need a humidifier to ensure adequate air moisture.
Potato Plant care
Use a fertilizer rich in phosphorus and nitrogen for your plant. Potatoes need nitrogen to grow healthy green leaves, while phosphorus is important for tuber production. Organic growers can instead use a combination of fish emulsion, greensand, kelp meal, and bone meal to feed your potato plants.
Pests and diseases
Colorado potato beetle is a serious pest with strong resistance to insecticides. The potato tuber moth is another damaging pest of planted and stored potatoes. At the same time, Leafminer fly is another pest common in areas where insecticides are used intensively.
Late blight is a common potato disease worldwide caused by a water mold destroying leaves, stems, and tubers. Diseases like bacteria wilt, potato blackleg, and bacterial infection cause tubers to rot in the ground and storage. Avoid overwatering at all costs and spray neem oil solution to keep potential diseases at bay.