Potatoes are a staple of cuisine all over the world and have a variety of dishes associated with them. Everything from mashed to baked, with a world of options in between. Even better, potatoes are an extremely easy plant to grow indoors and make a great option for those looking to get into edible gardening. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to grow potatoes indoors and get you started right away. Let’s jump in!
While the material of your container doesn’t really matter, the size does. Potatoes need a decently sized container to grow and also to have enough room for hilling (we’ll talk about that later).
Go for a container that is about 2.5-3 gallons large. This gives your spuds enough room to grow and provide care for. You can go a little smaller than this, but expect your harvest to be reduced as well. Favor ones that are deeper rather than wide as potatoes tend to need more vertical space than horizontal.
Once you have the container picked out it’s time to plant. Start this process by selecting a viable potato to plant.
You can use supermarket-bought ones, but these are often not ideal to grow. These are what are known as regular potatoes, and they often have issues with slow growth and disease. They’re not made for growing, but for cooking and consuming. While they can work, it’s often more down to luck whether you succeed or not.
What you want to be on the lookout for is seeding potatoes. These are varieties that are specifically cultivated to be used for gardening, and you’ll have a much easier time getting them to grow. These ones are also not treated with any chemicals to inhibit sprouting like regular ones usually are.
Unlike many other plants, when you plant potatoes you’re going to use the actual potatoes. What you’re looking for is one that has sprouted, or started growing those little hooks outside the potato.
To encourage this, leave your potatoes in a location where they get lots of sunlight. You want to wait until the sprouts are about 1-2” long before planting.
Once the sprouts reach this length, it’s time to plant. Follow the simple process as follows.
Fill the bottom few inches of your container with potting soil. Opt for one that is slightly acidic, but most store-bought potting soils will work.
Place your potatoes on the soil with the sprouts facing up. A 3-gallon container will be able to hold about 3-4 potatoes, with smaller ones working well for less.
Cover the potatoes with about 5 inches of soil. This should completely cover the potatoes, but leave room in the container for more soil later.
The sprouts will take a few weeks to push through the soil. When they do, you’ll begin to cover them with more dirt in a process known as “hilling”. We’ll look at that in more detail below.
Light and Location
Potatoes do need a fair bit of light but should be kept out of the most direct sunlight. Look to get them about 5-6 hours of bright, but indirect light per day. Grow lights are a good way to supplement this, especially if you’re trying to grow in the winter.
Outside of light, potatoes are pretty tolerant of the vast majority of locations. They are a cold hardy plant, so do well down to about 45°F. Make sure to protect them from frost though as this will harm your plant.
Potatoes like moist but not soaked soil, so you’ll likely end up watering every 3-5 days. Check the top inch of the soil, and water when this feels dry to the touch. For best results, get in the habit of checking every 1-2 days and get into a consistent schedule of watering.
One tip is to stop watering about 2 weeks before you’re planning on harvesting. This helps the tuber, or the edible part of the plant, dry out and cure.
As your potato grows you’ll want to continue to add soil around the plant. This is a process called hilling and is a piece of care that many gardeners are not familiar with. Don’t worry, the process is easy and we’ll walk you through it.
Wait until the shoots of your plant are about 4-6” above the soil line in your container. This is the ideal time to start hilling.
Then, add soil until just the few top leaves are sticking out. It’s okay to cover most of the leaves and stem during this process.
Continue to do this every time the plant reaches the correct height until you harvest.
And that’s it, the process is very simple but essential. When you “hill” you’re encouraging new growth under the soil line. Every Time you do so you’re adding additional space for your plant to produce more potatoes, ultimately increasing your harvest. Hilling is also essential when growing outdoors to help control weeds, pests, and protect against frost damage.
Most varieties of potatoes are ready to harvest after about 90-120 days. As potatoes become ready to harvest, the foliage above the soil will begin to turn yellow and die off. This is the best sign that the potatoes below are ready to harvest.
Simply dig down with a small shovel and pull out the potatoes. If desired, leave out some from your harvest to spout as detailed above to grow a fresh batch all over again.
How To Grow Potatoes Indoors
Potatoes are an excellent choice for indoor gardens. They are packed with nutrients, work with a variety of dishes, and are simple to grow. If you’re looking for a good edible plant to add to your garden, why not give potatoes a try?
As always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about growing potatoes indoors or anything else about gardening. Feel free to reach out to the team here at any time.
How To Grow Potatoes Indoors FAQ
Can you grow Sweet Potatoes Indoors?
Yes, most varieties of potatoes can be grown indoors including sweet potatoes. In fact, we have a full guide to doing so that you can check out here.
Do You Need To Hill Your Potatoes?
Yes, hilling your potatoes is an essential step to optimal growth and a larger harvest. Not doing so will mean slower growth and a less than impressive harvest. If you’re growing outdoors it can also lead to weed and pest issues.
Are Potatoes Hard To Grow?
No, potatoes are one of the easier vegetables to care for. They do well in a variety of environments and are quite hardy making them ideal for indoor growing and beginners.