How To Grow Potatoes (and When) That Actually Grow Big: Follow These 7 Steps

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 18, 2024

Woman with a shovel is hilling potatoes after learning how To Plant Potatoes, when to plant potatoes and how to grow potatoes in each state.

Knowing how to grow potatoes is an exciting and rewarding hobby, and it’s great even for beginner gardeners who want to learn how to plant potatoes.

You can plant them in various soil types and choose from several species. And, no matter where you live, there’s a potato that will grow in your growing zone…even if that means you have to grow them indoors.

Potatoes are wonderful root veggies and can be used to make everything from soups to candies (that’s right!).

This complete guide outlines everything you should know about how to grow potatoes indoors or outdoors. Read on to also learn the perfect conditions and what month to plant potatoes in your state.

How To Plant Potatoes for the Best Yield

Potatoes are less demanding than other crops and produce a bumper harvest, especially on larger farms outdoors.

To get the most from your crop, there are specific steps you can take.

Graphics showing how to plant potatoes from collecting seeds by chitting potatoes, planting and hilling potatoes and hot to care for growing potatoes as well as how to harvest potatoes and how to store potatoes.

The following are the seven steps that guarantee generous yields.1,2

How To Grow Potatoes in 7 Steps

The following steps enhance growing conditions.

Step 1: Collect and Prepare the Seeds

First, gather the seed potatoes or small potatoes to plant. You can find some from your local store; ensure you pick the best, disease-free options.

Next, store them somewhere cool and conducive until you see buds sprouting from the eyes and start chitting (They will start to produce small buds).

If dealing with larger seeds, you can cut and cure them first before planting; otherwise, skip to the next step if you have tiny seeds. If you don’t know how to cure potatoes, you need to store the pieces in a cool, airy place for 2-3 days until the callus (protective layer) forms at the top.

Step 2: Check Your Soil

Fortunately, the soil type is the least of your problems in how to grow potatoes. The crop can grow in almost any soil, provided it is well-drained and loose to accommodate the ever-growing tubers underground.

Step 3: Start Planting

If planting in a garden, ensure that you place them in a sunny spot, digging the seeds 3-6 inches deep, with the buds facing upwards. You can set the seeds in columns 12-18 inches apart and rows 24-36 inches wide, then cover them.

For the highest yield, you can add manure and water frequently. Germination should start in the next 14-25 days, evidenced by growth sticking out of the soil.

Step 4: Hilling Potatoes

Although hilling is optional, it is a crucial step that promotes growth during extreme water scarcity because the extra soil layer helps the plant retain water. Otherwise, you can skip this step if all the conditions are favorable.

It entails layering the plant with soil at the base as it keeps growing, but it will only be necessary if it has started flowering.

Step 5: Caring for the Growing Plant

Potatoes are easy to grow, but need some attention to ensure faster growth and a better harvest.

Farmers use compost or manure fertilizer and convert it to liquid form when the leaves start discoloring. It also helps to protect your plants when frost hits and weeds around them.

Additionally, you can plant companion crops and remove enemies that may hinder growth. Lastly, look out for pests and diseases and remove and treat them accordingly.

Step 6: Harvesting

You may harvest your potatoes in 90-150 days after planting, depending on the species you’ve planted and it’s growing conditions and times. You will know when the right time is if you see the leaves wilting.

This is when you will stop watering and prepare for harvest by cutting the stem and leaving it intact for a few days.

Ensure the soil is dry because the tubers will be easier to dig up; you can loosen the dirt using a garden fork or short handled pitchfork and collect the potatoes by loosening them from the soil.

Related Reading: Self-Watering Planters That Use 1 Secret Irrigation Method Rarely Understood

Step 7: Storage

You can dig up the potatoes if you are ready to consume them. Or, they can stay in the ground for up to six months, but if you want to remove them, it is best to know how to store potatoes first.

You can keep them in a bag in a cool, dark, and dry area, ideally at 7-10 degrees Celsius. However, remember not to store them in plastic bags or a scorching place.

A root cellar is the optimum place for storing potatoes til the next year’s planting.

What To Know When Growing Potatoes in Containers

Container planting is suitable for people without a massive yard or garden space. Planting becomes convenient and harvesting easier.3

If you want to plant in bags and containers, combine soil and compost, mix them up, and place the seeds 4-6 inches deep.4

Graphic that shows the Potato Plant Identification Chart with potato plant leaves, potato plant flowers, potato plant, potato plant fruit, and potato plant stem in oval frames on a green background.

The other steps are similar to planting in the ground because you place the seeds with the buds upwards and place the plants in a sunny place, and water frequently. However, remember to plant away from the corners since the edges usually dry out faster.

Planting Tips for Potatoes Growing Indoors

It is fascinating to find out that you can grow potatoes indoors, like various types of indoor Palm trees, as long as you have a container and access to lighting. The container should be at least half a foot high, hold about two gallons, and have a drainage system.

Alternatively, you can use a soil bag if you don’t have a container but drill drainage holes inside. Light is the most crucial aspect of a plant’s growth, and potatoes need at least 5 hours of sunshine every day; otherwise, you can supplement it with another light source.

You will need two hours of artificial light for one hour of sunshine. The steps for how to grow potatoes are similar to planting in containers outside.

First, fill the planters with loose, fertile soils and dig the seed with the buds facing up.5

Next, dampen the soil by spraying water on the ground every day until you see the sprouts peeking in about 2-4 weeks. Hill the soil once the plants start growing and keep looking after them, watering, fertilizing, and weeding until they are mature and ready to harvest in a few months.

Related Reading: Mist for Plants: The 1 Step 95% of People Forget When Misting Indoors

How Long It Takes to Grow Potatoes?

Potatoes can be early, mid, or late season, each taking different times from planting to harvesting. Early-season types take 50-70 days until they are ready to harvest, while mid-season alternatives take 95-110 days.6

Lastly, the late seasons take the longest time, taking more than 110 days until they are ready for harvesting. Therefore, your variety will be based on how long your growing season is.

How To Grow Potatoes in the Best Growing Conditions for Potatoes

As with any other crop, you can expect a better potato harvest if you provide suitable conditions. The following are the needs of the potato.

  • Easy access to sunlight for at least 6 hours daily or artificial supplement light twice the duration of natural light.
  • Properly drained soil to avoid waterlogging, leading to potatoes rotting.7
  • Loose soil allows the roots and tubers to grow effortlessly underground.
  • 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit or 7-13 degrees Celsius; higher temperatures are unsuitable.
  • Slightly acidic soil of Ph 5.8- Ph 6.5.

Growing Zones for Potatoes (Where To Grow Potatoes)

The first step before undertaking planting projects is knowing the ideal growing zone. Potatoes are hardy plants that can grow in various regions, but they do well in all other hardiness zones except 12a- 13b, which are too warm.

The following are the perfect months to grow potatoes based on your hardiness zone.

USDA Hardiness ZoneIdeal planting time
2a to 6bApril, May
7aJanuary to March, August as a fall plant
7bJanuary to March
8a and 8bJanuary, February orAugust as a fall plant
9a and 9bJanuary, October, and November for fall
10a and 10bJanuary, February, and November
Zones 11a and 11bDecember to February

When To Plant Potatoes

The soil’s temperature and texture are vital considerations when picking the most suitable planting time for your potatoes. The season only partially determines the time if the two conditions above are met.

The perfect temperature should be at least 10 degrees Celsius, and the soil should be wet enough to allow digging but not excessive that it keeps sticking together. It is advisable to let the ground slightly dry; otherwise, the seeds will rot due to waterlogging.8


StateWhen To Plant Potatoes
AlaskaLate April
ArizonaFebruary (low areas) or March-June for mountainous regions
ArkansasFebruary in the south and March in the north
CaliforniaFebruary to March in the coastal areas or February to April in the mainlands
ColoradoApril and May
ConnecticutLate April to early May
DelawareLate March to mid-April
FloridaJanuary to March in the north and September to January in the south
GeorgiaLate January to early March
IllinoisLate April to early May
IndianaLate April to early May in the north and throughout April in the south
IowaAll through April
KansasMid-March to late April
KentuckyMid to end of April
LouisianaLate January and the entire February
MaineAll through May
MarylandLate March to early May
MichiganMid-April throughout May
MinnesotaEarly to mid-May
MississippiLate March to early April
MissouriEarly to mid-May in the north and mid to end March in the south
MontanaMid-June to early July
NebraskaLate April to early May
NevadaAll through April
New HampshireLate May to early June
New JerseyLate March to late April
New MexicoLate May to early June in the north and early to mid-May in the south
New YorkAll through April to mid-May
North CarolinaFrom mid-February to entire March
North DakotaMid to entire May
OhioLate March to mid-May
OklahomaEarly to mid-may
OregonEarly February to May at the coast and early May to June in high elevation
PennsylvaniaLate March to early June
Rhode IslandAll through April
South CarolinaEarly to mid-February at the coast and late February to early March in the central regions
South DakotaEarly to mid-May
TennesseeEarly to mid-April
TexasMarch to early April in zones 6-7 and January and February in zones 9
UtahMarch and April
VermontMid to late May
VirginiaEarly to late April
WashingtonMid to entire April
West VirginiaLate April to early May
WisconsinMid-April to mid-May
WyomingAll through May

Growing Potatoes From Seed Potatoes: Chitting Potatoes

One of the most crucial details when growing potatoes from seeds is to do it at the right time.

You want to check your region’s hardiness zone and when to plant based on your state. Otherwise, planting when the soil is too warm or wet may damage the seeds.

Chitting helps eliminate the weakest buds, ensuring you yield from the healthiest and most potent buds. Lastly, you can cut and cure the seed if it is too big because excessive shoots will lead to competition for the available resources, affecting the entire plant.

Begin this process about a month before you plan to plant the potatoes.

  • Step 1. Place your seed potatoes in a shallow container (egg carton works well) with the “rose” end up.
    The rose end is the end with the most eyes, or indentations where the potato will sprout.
  • Step 2. Place the containers in a warm, dark area. About room temperature.
  • Step 3. After 2 weeks, move the containers to a cooler spot, with indirect light. A covered back porch with average temperature of about 50 degrees F.
  • Step 4. Once the sprouts (purple or greenish) are about 2 inches long, cut the seed potatoes into sections with the healthiest sprout groupings.
    You can often get 4 or more pieces to plant.

Enemy and Companion Plants for Growing Potatoes

All plants are unique, explaining why there are endangered tree species helping fight climate change. When growing together, companion plants live harmoniously and promote each other’s growth, while enemy plants are highly competitive and hinder the other crop’s well-being.

Image that shows the potato plant growth stages starting from being planted underneath the soil, to having sprouts, up to being ready for harvesting.

The best plants to grow near potatoes should help in pest control and yield increase, like beans, corn, thyme, parsnip, cabbage, and aubergines. On the contrary, the plants you don’t want growing near your potatoes include cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, courgettes, strawberries, pumpkins, and asparagus.

How Far Apart to Plant Potatoes?

Potatoes need sufficient room to spread; if you want a higher yield, you should leave out a massive space between each seed. Depending on the available area, you can plant them 10-18 inches apart in each column and 24-36 inches away in each row.

The potato spacing leaves room for the roots to extend and the trees to cast shades on the soil to reduce the temperatures, or the potatoes will rot.9

Common Pests of The Potatoes

Slight damage cannot affect potatoes when they are in great shape, but it is vital to seek natural and other control methods if severe. The following are the pests to look out for when growing potatoes.

Closeup of Colorado Potato beetle with its black stripes.

(Image: Daniel Borker11)

Colorado Potato Beetles

These pests are infamous for attacking potatoes and other nightshade plants like peppers and tomatoes. They are black and oval-shaped, measuring about 9 mm long.

The female lays eggs underneath the leaves, and the larvae feed on the sap as they grow.

Flea Beetles

These tiny, elongated shiny 3 mm beetles are lethal to potato plants, causing massive damage, especially in large numbers. They leave holes in leaves and jump when the plant moves.

Closeup of Potato Flea beetles on green leaf.

(Image: gailhampshire12)

Top shot of yellowish-gray wireworm.

(Image: Katja Schulz13)


Wireworms are clicking beetle larvae that are yellowish-gray, measuring an inch long. They feed on all the parts of young potatoes, quickly sneaking into the wounds, and prefer invading when the soil is wet.

Natural Pest Control for Potatoes

Natural pest control is simple, effective, and preferably the first resolution when dealing with pests before opting for pesticides. To eliminate infestations, you can introduce insects that feed on the insects and not the plant.

Closeup of green Praying Mantis on dry grass.

(Image: gayulo14)

For instance, praying mantis, spiders, and damsel bugs are excellent predators to feed on the Colorado beetles, while the braconid wasps and other nematodes can help control flea beetles. Biological control also works on wireworms, delicacies for various mammals and birds.

Common Diseases That Affect Potatoes

Potatoes are some of the most resilient crops but are still vulnerable to certain diseases like the following:

Early Blight

This disease is common in potatoes, usually manifesting as a tan or brown ring on the leaves. The spot spreads, eventually covering the leaf and causing it to wilt.

It travels through wind and water and can attach several plants at once.

Leaf showing the effects of Early Blight on plants.

(Image: Jerzy Opiola15)

Late Blight

Another dangerous disease to watch out for is late blight during wet seasons. It quickly eliminates the leaves and vines, hence the need to prevent it and remove any affected plant before it infects others.10

Verticillium Wilt

This fungal disease comes from the soil and transfers to other plants through the roots. You will notice the leaves turning yellow, brown, then dying, similar to early blight.


(Solanum tuberosum)

Potatoes piled up in an oval frame.
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Growing Zone: Zones: 2 to 11
  • Plant Type: Annual, Vegetable,

How To Stop Potatoes Disease

Besides knowing how to grow potatoes, it is also crucial to learn the most probable diseases and how to prevent them. Preventing potato blight is the first step because it is one of the most common diseases that spread quickly, simultaneously wiping out several plants.

First, always check that you are using disease-free seeds and keep rotating the potatoes yearly to grow them in different locations. It also helps to eliminate any affected plant immediately; otherwise, the fungus will spread, and you can use a fungicide spray if the case is severe.

The same preventive measures apply when dealing with Verticillium Wilt since it also spreads to other plants, making it challenging to recover an infected potato. To be safe, remove any plant at the first sign of the disease and avoid touching the plant until the soil dries.

Closeup of rotten potatoes that has discoloration and holes on skin.

(Image: Scot Nelson16)

Potatoes are fun and lucrative to grow, and it only takes a few simple steps. You can sow them in a container indoors or outdoors or go for conventional open-field gardening, where you can plant more simultaneously.

Luckily, the tubers are easy to care for, requiring up to six hours of sunlight, properly draining soil, and protection against bugs and diseases. Your crop should be ready for harvesting in 90-150 days, revealing several tubers per plant.

So if you’re looking for a great plant that yields delicious results, learning how to grow potatoes and how to plant potatoes is an excellent start

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Plant Potatoes

When Should You Harvest Potatoes?

The first sign that your potatoes are healthy and ready for harvesting is that the leaves will start wilting after 90-150 days. It will alert you to stop watering the plant and remove the tubers, but you can leave them intact until you are ready to consume them.

Are My Potatoes Growing?

You cannot tell whether your potatoes are growing since they stay below the ground, but you can tell that everything is fine if the plant starts flowering. Later, the stage stops while all the energy transforms into the creation of the tubers.

What Are the Ways To Learn How To Grow Potatoes From a Potato or Can I Grow Potatoes From a Potato?

You can always grow potatoes from other potatoes, but the catch is that they should be organic, free of chemicals that some growers use to inhibit sprouting. Local farmers’ markets are the best sources of potatoes for planting, not foreign options.

What Are the Watering Needs for Potato Plants?

Potatoes need an inch or two of water weekly. Excessive or fewer amounts can cause rotting or growth of misshaped tubers.

How Much Sunlight Does Potato Need Each Day?

Potatoes need at least six hours of natural light daily, but if planting them indoors, you can supplement with artificial light offering two hours for every one sunlight hour.

What Are the Steps To Know How To Grow Brussel Sprouts?

Unlike how to grow potatoes, farmers plant Brussels sprouts in a different seedbed instead of the primary garden or plot.

Another difference is that they go only half an inch deep, and you can plant them closer to each other within a 15cm distance or 3 inches apart if they are big enough.

What Are the Ways To Learn How To Grow Carrots?

While you can transplant them as you do with Brussel Sprouts, Carrots are better off in the garden or their final growing spot since they don’t like tampering with their roots.

You can dig them a quarter of an inch deep and 2-3 inches from each other in foot-wide rows, giving enough room for the seeds to grow independently.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Green Onions?

Direct planting applies to green onions, but you can also transplant them into the garden. You can place the seeds a quarter of an inch from each other in grid patterns and keep thinning them after sprouting.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Celery?

You can sow celery from transplants, seeds, or cut-offs from store-bought bunches. You can plant them 8-10 inches from each other or have four of them per square foot, and you can start planting the seeds indoors if you want the best yields.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Rice?

You can start with rice seeds indoors for about seven weeks to when you want to plant, and once ready, transfer them to your bed in rows 8 inches wide. They need a sunny spot and fertile and well-drained soil.

When To Plant Potatoes in Texas?

The best time to plant potatoes in Texas is in March to early April in zones 6-7 and January and February in zones 9.

When To Plant Potatoes in Ohio?

The best time to plant potatoes in Ohio is in late March to mid-May.


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