How to Plant Potatoes in a Pot: A Step-by-Step Guide for a Bountiful Harvest

  • By: Linda Simpson
  • Date: March 14, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Planting potatoes in a pot is a great way to grow fresh produce even if you have limited space. Here are the steps for planting potatoes in a pot:

  1. Choose a large pot with a diameter of at least 16-18 inches and a depth of at least 16 inches. A plastic or terracotta pot with drainage holes in the bottom will work best.
  2. Fill the pot with good quality potting soil until it is about 4 inches from the top. Avoid using garden soil, as it may contain pests, diseases, or weed seeds that could harm your potatoes.
  3. Cut seed potatoes into pieces that each have at least two eyes (sprouts). You can use whole small potatoes or cut larger ones into pieces. Each piece should be about 2-3 inches in size.
  4. Plant the seed potatoes about 4-6 inches deep in the soil, with the eyes facing upward. Space the potatoes about 8 inches apart. The eyes will grow into new potato plants.
  5. Cover the seed potatoes with soil and water well. Make sure the soil is evenly moist, but not waterlogged.
  6. As the potatoes grow, add more soil to the pot until it is full. This is called “hilling” and will help prevent the potatoes from turning green and getting sunburned. Add soil gradually as the potato plants grow taller, until the soil reaches the top of the pot.
  7. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Potatoes need about 1-2 inches of water per week. Water the pot deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and the moisture level of the soil.
  8. Place the pot in a sunny location, and make sure it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Potatoes need full sun to grow and produce a good harvest.
  9. In about 2-3 months, the potato plants should begin to flower. This is a sign that the potatoes are ready to harvest. Wait until the plants have died back and turned yellow or brown before harvesting. This will take about 10-14 weeks from planting.
  10. To harvest, gently dig through the soil to find the potatoes. Be careful not to damage the potatoes with the shovel or fork. Harvest all the potatoes at once, or leave some in the soil to continue growing if you prefer smaller, new potatoes.
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By following these detailed steps, you can successfully plant potatoes in a pot and enjoy a delicious, homegrown harvest!

Here are some additional tips and information for planting potatoes in a pot:

  • Before planting, you can “chit” the seed potatoes by placing them in a cool, bright place for a few weeks. This will encourage them to sprout, making them easier to plant and giving them a head start on growth.
  • If you’re using a recycled container, such as a bucket or laundry basket, make sure to drill or punch holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • You can add some organic fertilizer to the potting soil before planting to give your potatoes a nutrient boost. Choose a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • As the potato plants grow taller, you can stake them with a wooden or metal rod to keep them from falling over. This will also help to prevent the soil from spilling out of the pot.
  • If you notice any pests or diseases on your potato plants, remove them promptly and treat the plants with an organic insecticide or fungicide if necessary.
  • After harvesting the potatoes, store them in a cool, dry place for several weeks to allow them to cure. This will help them develop a thicker skin and last longer in storage.
  • To ensure a continuous harvest, you can plant a new batch of seed potatoes in a separate pot a few weeks after the first planting. This way, you’ll have fresh potatoes to harvest later in the season.
  • Potatoes grown in a pot may be smaller than those grown in the ground, but they’ll still be tasty and nutritious. You can use them in a variety of recipes, such as mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato salad, and more.

Questions and answers about planting potatoes in a pot:

What type of pot should I use to plant potatoes?

You should use a large pot with a diameter of at least 16-18 inches and a depth of at least 16 inches. A plastic or terracotta pot with drainage holes in the bottom will work best.

Can I use garden soil to plant potatoes in a pot?

It’s best to avoid using garden soil, as it may contain pests, diseases, or weed seeds that could harm your potatoes. Use good quality potting soil instead.

How deep should I plant the seed potatoes in the pot?

Plant the seed potatoes about 4-6 inches deep in the soil, with the eyes facing upward.

How often should I water the potato plants in the pot?

Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Potatoes need about 1-2 inches of water per week. Water the pot deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and the moisture level of the soil.

Do potato plants need full sun to grow in a pot?

Yes, potatoes need full sun to grow and produce a good harvest. Place the pot in a sunny location, and make sure it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

How often should I add more soil to the pot as the potato plants grow?

Add soil gradually as the potato plants grow taller, until the soil reaches the top of the pot. This is called “hilling” and will help prevent the potatoes from turning green and getting sunburned.

How do I know when the potato plants are ready to harvest?

The potato plants should begin to flower in about 2-3 months. This is a sign that the potatoes are ready to harvest. Wait until the plants have died back and turned yellow or brown before harvesting.

Can I plant more than one potato in a pot?

Yes, you can plant multiple seed potatoes in a pot, but make sure to space them about 8 inches apart.

Can I use recycled containers, such as buckets or laundry baskets, to plant potatoes in?

Yes, you can use recycled containers, but make sure to drill or punch holes in the bottom for drainage.

Can I plant potatoes in a pot year-round?

Potatoes are typically grown in the spring and summer, but you can plant them in a pot any time of year if you have a warm, sunny indoor space.

How many seed potatoes should I plant in a pot?

The number of seed potatoes you can plant in a pot depends on the size of the pot. As a general rule, you can plant one seed potato for every 2 gallons of potting soil. For example, a 16-inch pot with a depth of 16 inches can hold about 5-6 seed potatoes.

Do I need to fertilize my potato plants in the pot?

Yes, you should fertilize your potato plants in the pot to provide them with the necessary nutrients for growth. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and apply it according to the instructions on the label.

Can I grow different varieties of potatoes in the same pot?

Yes, you can grow different varieties of potatoes in the same pot, but keep in mind that they may mature at different times and have different growth habits.

Should I prune the potato plants in the pot?

No, you don’t need to prune the potato plants in the pot. However, you can remove any dead or yellowing leaves to promote air circulation and prevent diseases.

Can I reuse the soil in the pot for other plants after harvesting the potatoes?

Yes, you can reuse the soil in the pot for other plants, but make sure to replenish it with fresh potting soil and fertilizer to restore the nutrients.

How long does it take for potato plants to grow and produce a harvest in a pot?

Potato plants typically take 2-3 months to grow and produce a harvest in a pot, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Can I grow potatoes in a hanging basket?

Yes, you can grow potatoes in a hanging basket, as long as it is large enough to accommodate the plants and has drainage holes in the bottom. Hang the basket in a sunny location and water the plants regularly.

How do I prevent pests and diseases from affecting my potato plants in the pot?

To prevent pests and diseases, make sure to use clean, sterile potting soil and keep the plants well-watered and well-fertilized. Watch for signs of pests or diseases, such as yellowing leaves or holes in the foliage, and treat them promptly with organic insecticides or fungicides if necessary.

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