Container growing potatoes: How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

It’s Easier Than You Think: Harvest Your Own Potatoes in 9 Easy Steps


Kerry Michaels

Kerry Michaels

Kerry Michaels is a container gardening expert with over 20 years of experience maintaining container gardens in Maine. She specializes in writing and capturing photography for gardening and landscape design for print and broadcast media, including the Discovery Channel, Small Gardens, and Disney, among others.

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Updated on 08/24/22

Reviewed by

Julie Thompson-Adolf

Reviewed by
Julie Thompson-Adolf

Julie Thompson-Adolf is a Master Gardener and author with over 30 years of experience in year-round organic gardening; seed starting, growing heirlooms, and sustainable farming.

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The Spruce / Kara Riley

Project Overview

There are several advantages to growing potatoes in containers rather than in the ground. Chief among them is it’s easier to protect the plants from the critters that love to eat them, such as voles.

Container potatoes are also a fun project to do with kids. The plants grow fast and produce a good yield for the space required. Harvesting potatoes in a container is like a treasure hunt for kids: Just turn over the container, and let them sift through the soil for delicious rewards.

The only real disadvantage to growing potatoes in containers is you have to be more vigilant about regular watering, as container soil dries out faster than the ground. It is important to keep your soil moist but not waterlogged. If you check the soil moisture often and water deeply, you should have an abundant potato harvest.

When to Plant Potatoes in Containers

Timing for planting potatoes in containers is not much different from planting them in the ground. The general recommendation for in-ground potatoes is to plant them about two weeks before the last frost in your region. You may be able to bump the planting date forward a little when planting in containers, as the soil will warm up faster when exposed to the sun above the ground. However, be prepared to cover or bring your potato containers indoors if a late spring frost is predicted.

Although it’s not a common method, potatoes can be grown indoors in the winter, provided you can give them adequate heat and light. Some people grow them in a greenhouse over winter, but they will grow nicely in a window that receives plenty of direct sunlight or under grow lights.

Before Getting Started

The process for growing potatoes in containers, grow bags, or the ground is a little different than it is for other vegetables. Potatoes are grown using a “hilling” technique in which the stems are gradually buried by heaping additional soil around the plant as it grows upward. The lower buried stems will develop additional root structures (potatoes) as the hill grows higher. For this reason, hilling is essential to getting the maximum harvest from each potato plant. Burying the stems also prevents the potatoes from being exposed to light, which makes them turn green.

When growing potatoes in containers, the hilling process looks a little different, but the basics are the same. When first planted, the seed potatoes are just barely covered with soil. As the plant grows, additional soil is heaped around the plant at regular intervals until the container is filled.


Avoid using grocery potatoes for growing potatoes in containers unless they are organic and have not been sprayed to prevent sprouting. Use “seed” potatoes sold for garden planting available in nurseries or specialty organic growers.

Equipment / Tools

  • Garden trowel


  • Seed potatoes
  • Container (such as a large plastic bucket or grow bag)
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer

The Spruce / Kara Riley

  1. Prepare the Potting Soil and Container

    When growing potatoes in containers, use high-quality potting soil that is fast-draining, especially if you’re using a plastic container. Organic soils are always a good choice as well. One good option is a half-and-half mixture of commercial potting soil and quality compost. Don’t use ordinary garden soil for growing potatoes in containers; it drains poorly and contains pathogens and weed seeds.

    Potatoes can be grown in many different types of opaque containers—ideally, about 2 to 3 feet tall with a 10- to 15-gallon capacity. Avoid containers taller than this, because it can be hard to water the plants evenly, which can cause potatoes to rot. Specialty potato sacks are available at garden centers or online garden retailers, but any number of other repurposed containers will also work, including:

    • Wooden half-barrels
    • Garbage bins
    • Plastic storage tubs
    • Chimney flues
    • Burlap sacks
    • Canvas tote bags

    Whatever container you choose, make sure it has good drainage.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  2. Add Fertilizer

    Mix an organic, slow-release fertilizer into the potting soil. In addition to this up-front feeding, use a diluted liquid fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, every couple of weeks as your potatoes grow. Potatoes grown in containers need plenty of water, which can leach out nutrients from the soil. For this reason, plants that are grown in containers generally need more feeding than they do when growing in the ground.

    One of the advantages of using an organic fertilizer is that it’s much more forgiving if you accidentally pour too much. If you use too much conventional fertilizer, it can easily burn your plants.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  3. Prepare the Seed Potatoes

    There are a few theories on preparing seed potatoes for planting, and one is not necessarily better than the others. Some people wait for their potatoes to sprout and then plant them whole, while others just plant the seed potatoes immediately.

    A more “approved” method by experienced gardeners is to cut the seed potatoes into pieces, each containing at least two eyes—growth nodes where shoots will appear. Wait for the cut surfaces to “callus over” by leaving them to sit for a couple of days before planting.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  4. Position the Seed Potatoes

    Place the container in full sun. Fill the container with about 4 to 6 inches of potting soil that has been blended with compost and fertilizer. Place the prepared seed potato pieces onto the potting mix with the eye buds facing up. The plants will grow fairly large, so make sure to give them some breathing room. For example, a container that is around 20 inches wide can handle about four small seed potatoes. It may not seem like much when you’re planting, but the size of your potato harvest will surprise you.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  5. Cover the Seed Potatoes

    After you have positioned the seed potatoes, cover them with a couple of inches of prepared potting soil. Don’t get too enthusiastic here because you don’t want to plant them too deep. About 1 to 4 inches of soil is perfect. The cooler the climate, the less soil you should put on top.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  6. Tend to the Growing Potatoes

    Potatoes will not grow without sun and water. Make sure your container receives at least six to eight hours of sun a day. Water your newly planted potatoes well. Remember that one of the keys to growing potatoes is keeping your soil moist, but not wet.

    Check the container at least once a day. To check the moisture level, stick your finger at least an inch into the soil (or up to your second knuckle). If it feels dry, it’s time to water. If it’s very hot or windy, you may have to water your potato container gardens more than once a day.

    Make sure to water deeply by waiting until water runs out the bottom. It is counterproductive just to water the surface of the soil. The nice thing about containers is you can visibly see when you’ve watered deeply enough. Simply watch for water to seep out of the container’s bottom, and you’ll know that they have a sufficient amount of water.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  7. “Hill” the Potatoes

    Once your potato plants have grown about 6 inches, you need to “hill” them. This is done by adding a couple of inches of prepared soil around your potato plants, covering the growing stems at the bottom. Be careful not to break the plants in the process. The goal is to bury about one-third of the plant, covering the lower leaves with soil. The buried stems will produce more potatoes, so this hilling procedure is essential to a good harvest.

    You will need to repeat this hilling process a few more times as your plants grow. You can also stop once the soil reaches the top of your container. Potato plants grow incredibly fast, so keep an eye on them and don’t let them get ahead of you.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  8. Harvest the Potatoes

    You can begin to harvest potatoes anytime after the plants have flowered. Carefully reach down into the soil of your container and pull out a few new potatoes at a time. Late in the season, as the plants turn yellow and die back, you can harvest all of the remaining potatoes at once. The easiest way to do this is to turn the container over, dumping it into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp. You can then freely paw through the soil to find all of the potatoes.

    You may find a few really tiny potatoes, but don’t chuck them. Those can be some of the best and sweetest potatoes of the year, and they’re perfect for tossing whole into a stew.


    Potatoes with green skins contain a bitter chemical known as solanine, which is mildly toxic. Discard potatoes that have green skins, or cut away those portions before eating them.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

  9. Storing Harvested Potatoes

    Cook your potatoes right away, or store them for later use. For storage, begin by brushing off the dirt then let them dry for a couple of days. They’re best stored in baskets or paper bags that allow them to breathe.

    The Spruce

Working With Potatoes

It is possible to grow potatoes in any large container, from large pots or nursery containers to big garbage cans. Even trash bags or stacks of tires will do, though you have to be cautious about these because they can get very hot in the sun.

Smart Pots are a fantastic option for potatoes as well. These growing containers are lightweight, environmentally friendly, and made of fabric, so your potatoes get air as they grow. They also have great natural drainage, ensuring your potatoes will never sit in water and rot.

Whatever you use for a container, make sure it has good drainage. If it doesn’t come with drainage, add some by creating holes in the bottom.

The Spruce / Kara Riley


11 Tips for Growing Terrific Tomatoes in Pots


The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Potatoes. Cornell University.

  2. What is the best way to grow potatoes in containers? University of New Hampshire.

  3. Fertilizer or Pesticide Burn – Vegetables. University of Maryland Extension.

  4. “Are Green Potatoes Dangerous? – AskUSDA.” N.p., n.d. Web.

How to Grow Potatoes


Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She’s also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie’s garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
Editorial Process

Updated on 10/22/22

Reviewed by

Debra LaGattuta

Reviewed by
Debra LaGattuta

Debra LaGattuta is a Master Gardener with 30+ years of experience in perennial and flowering plants, container gardening, and raised bed vegetable gardening. She is a lead gardener in a Plant-A-Row, which is a program that offers thousands of pounds of organically-grown vegetables to local food banks. Debra is a member of The Spruce Garden Review Board.

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The Spruce / K. Dave

Potatoes are relatively inexpensive to purchase, but freshly dug potatoes from your own home garden seem to have a flavor all their own. Potatoes are not grown from seed but from seed potatoes, which sprout underground and grow more tasty tubers.

There are at least 100 varieties of seed potatoes grown by gardeners in the United States, including several heirloom potatoes. Local growers may even specialize in lesser known varieties that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Learn about different potato varieties and how to plant seed potatoes so that you can grow your own potatoes.

Botanical Name Solanum tuberosum
Common Name Potato, Irish potato
Plant Type Annual tuberous vegetable
Size 1 1/2 to 3 ft. tall; similar spread
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Loamy
Soil pH Acidic (5.0 to 6.0)
Hardiness Zones Annual vegetable grown in zones 3-10
Native Area Andes regions of South America
Toxicity Leaves are toxic

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

How to Plant Potatoes

Cold-climate gardeners usually plant potatoes in mid to late spring. In a warm climate, you will do best planting in either late summer or late winter, so the plants aren’t trying to grow during the hottest months.

Plant seed potato pieces with the cut-side down (eyes should face up) in a hole or trench that’s 6 inches deep. Leave 12 inches of space around each on all sides. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer between each segment. Then cover the potatoes and fertilizer with 2 inches of soil and water well.

It’s fairly easy to grow potatoes successfully if you follow some basic guidelines:

  • To extend your potato growing season, choose an early variety as well as a late-season variety. You plant these at the same time, but the late-season variety is harvested several weeks after you’ve already dug the main season potatoes.
  • Buy certified disease-free seed potatoes. Attempting to plant potatoes purchased from the grocery store is a gamble. Besides the disease problem, potatoes are often treated with a growth inhibitor to keep them from sprouting in the grocery store.
  • Don’t plant potatoes where tomatoes or eggplant were grown the year before. These vegetables are in the same nightshade family as potatoes and can attract similar pests and problems.

Planting potatoes can be done in one of two ways: a trench-and-hill method that involves adding soil around the stem as it grows upward, and a simple scatter method.

  • Trench method: A traditional potato planting method involves digging a shallow trench about 6 inches deep and placing the seed potatoes in the trench, eyes facing up. Then cover the potatoes with a couple of inches of soil. As the potato plant grows, the soil is continually hilled up along the sides of the plants. This keeps the soil around the developing tubers loose, and it keeps the surface tubers from being exposed to sunlight, which will turn them green and somewhat toxic. Add soil to the hill whenever the plants reach about four to six inches in height. You can stop hilling up soil when the plants begin to flower.
  • Scatter method: Some gardeners prefer to simply lay the seed potatoes right on the soil and then cover them with a few inches of mulch. You can continue layering mulch as the plants grow. If you have a rodent problem, this method is probably not your best choice.

Potato Care


To bolster top growth, which will support the growth of the roots, plant potatoes in full sun. They can handle part shade, but it’s the lush top growth that feeds the tubers underground. The more sun, the better—at least six to eight hours per day. The tubers need to be protected from the sun if they grow near the surface or they will turn green. Hilling soil around the growing plants prevents this. Hilling is the process of mounding soil up around plant stem as it grows.


Grow your potatoes in soil with an acidic pH between 5.0 and 6.0. Potatoes grown in soils with a higher pH seem prone to scab, which produces rough spots on the potato. Potatoes don’t like particularly rich soil. If you have a good amount of organic matter in the soil and the pH is neutral to acidic, the potatoes should be happy. The soil needs to be loose and well-draining. If you have soil that is heavy in clay, you will need to prepare it with loose soil down to the depth where the potato tubers will grow.


Potato plants rely on a steady water supply. Make sure the plants receive at least one inch of water per week. They are sensitive to drought conditions, especially when they flower, as that is the peak time for forming the potato tubers. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture.

Temperature and Humidity

Potatoes should not be planted until the soil temperature reaches at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and preferably 50 degrees. Summer crops do best in areas where the summers are cool, as the potato tubers grow best when the soil temperature is 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and they stop growing when the soil hits 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Mulching around the plant, such as with a thick layer of straw, can keep the soil as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. Areas with hot summers often plant potatoes as a winter crop. Potatoes don’t have a preference when it comes to air humidity.


You can fertilize your potatoes with an organic, slow-release fertilizer when you plant them. Every couple of weeks, give them a feeding with diluted liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion.

Potato Varieties

There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes commonly sold, generally divided into three categories:

  • Russets and long white potatoes, which work well for potatoes that will be baked, boiled, or fried
  • Round white potatoes, which are most commonly used if you will boil potatoes or use them to make potato chips
  • Red-skinned potatoes, which are frequently used for boiling, baking, mashing, or in potato salads

Within these categories, varieties are divided into early, mid-season, and late potatoes. Some popular cultivars are listed here.

Early-season Varieties

Popular varieties grown for early-season harvest include:

  • ‘Irish Cobbler’ has a tannish skin and irregular shape. It works well for boiling and mashing.
  • ‘Norland’ has red skin and is known to be resistant to potato scab.
  • ‘Mountain Rose’ has red skin and pink flesh; it is known to be resistant to some viruses.

Mid-season Varieties

Popular varieties grown for mid-season harvest include:

  • ‘Red Pontiac’ has red skin. It is considered one of the easiest red potatoes to grow.
  • ‘Viking’ is a very productive red-skin potato.
  • ‘Chieftan’ is a red-skin potato known to be resistant to potato scab. It stores well.
  • ‘Yukon Gold’ is a very popular thin-skinned potato with yellow flesh. It has no eyes.

Late Varieties

Popular varieties grown for late-season harvest include:

  • ‘Katahdin’ has tan skin and is resistant to some viruses.
  • ‘Kennebec’ is another tan-skinned potato. It is bred to be resistant to some viruses as well as late blight.
  • ‘Elba’ is a tan-skin potato with large round tubers; it resists blight and potato scab.

If you want to try growing some unique potatoes, look for these:

  • ‘French Fingerling’ is a long, slender, red-skinned potato that doesn’t need peeling. They are best suited for roasting, baking, and steaming.
  • ‘All Blue’ is a medium-sized potato with an unusual blue skin and flesh that keeps well. Suited for sautéing steaming, or mashing.

Propagating Potatoes

Seed potatoes aren’t really seeds at all. They are full-size potatoes bred for the purpose of growing more potatoes. They start producing shoots from the potato eyes. You’ve probably seen this happen when you’ve stored potatoes in the kitchen for too long.

Seed potatoes can be planted whole or cut into pieces, with each piece containing an eye or two (or three). Because potatoes can rot if the soil is too cool or wet, many gardeners prefer to allow the cut pieces to callus over by leaving them exposed overnight. You can also purchase a powdered fungicide for dusting onto the pieces, to avoid rotting.


New potatoes are small, immature potatoes. You can harvest a few of these without harm to the plant once the plant reaches about one foot in height—about 50 days after planting. When the plant is in flower, the new potatoes are generally ready to harvest. Gently feel around in the soil near the plant and lift them out.

Expect to wait two to four months (up to 120 days) for potatoes to reach their full size. The entire crop is ready to harvest once the tops of the plants die off. You can leave the potatoes in the ground for a few weeks longer, if the soil is not wet.

Harvest carefully by hand or with a shovel or shovel. Turn the soil over and search through for the round or oval treasures. The tubers can branch out, and digging in with a fork is a sure-fire way of piercing a potato or two. Damaged potatoes are still edible, but they won’t keep for long.

Growing Potatoes in Containers

Growing potatoes in a container avoids the complications of hilling and takes up less space. You can grow potatoes in a tall container such as a clean garbage can, whiskey barrel, a five-gallon pail, or in a planting bag designed for this purpose. Make sure the container you choose has drainage holes in the bottom, and raise up the container a few inches if it is resting on a hard surface so that excess water can drain from the container.

The basic process is to add six inches of fast-draining high-quality potting soil to the bottom of the container and mix in an organic, slow-release fertilizer  Then, spread out your seed potatoes and cover them with a few inches of soil. Place the container in a location that receives six to eight hours of sun per day, and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Keep adding potting soil to the container as the plants begin to grow.

Use a diluted liquid fertilizer, every couple of weeks as your potatoes grow. Container-grown potatoes need plenty of water, Plants that are grown in containers generally require more feeding than they do when growing in the ground.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Potatoes are prone to problems, so be observant for these:

  • Beetles and aphids can defoliate the plants. Monitor for them early in the season, before they become a major problem. Check the undersides of leaves for the eggs and larvae of common beetle pests like the Colorado potato beetle. You can usually remove these by hand.
  • Thin, red wireworms attack underground. Rotating the location where you plant your potatoes each year will help avoid wireworms.
  • Scab is a common potato disease that looks like raised, corky areas on the skin or sunken holes on the surface. Lowering the soil pH will help control scab. Add peat moss to the planting area.
  • Late blight (the cause of the Irish potato famine) turns the foliage black, then moldy. Burn or dispose of the foliage. Do not compost it. The potatoes can still be harvested, but you should wait several weeks. To avoid this problem, use certified disease-resistant seed potatoes.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. “Can You Eat Potato Leaves » It Depends.” Garden.Eco, 2 June 2018,

Potatoes from container | Sadovoe obozrenie/Garden review

For several years now I have been growing potatoes not in the garden, but in containers. I grow – loudly said. In early spring I plant 10 tubers, and closer to the middle of summer 10 more tubers. So it turns out that in one container I grow a crop of potatoes twice a season.

I usually spread the tubers for germination at the beginning of March, and plant them in containers on April 17th. We collect our first potatoes from the container on June 6th. The empty containers are not empty: I immediately plant new tubers in them.

What are these wonderful containers and how can they be replaced if you do not have them.

I have these 15-20 liter black plastic professional containers with many drainage holes and small protrusions-legs to allow excess water to drain freely when watering or heavy rain. In such containers, large seedlings are sold, for example, Christmas trees or fruit-bearing apple trees. They serve 8-10 years.

In principle, such a container can be bought. But I don’t think you need that kind of expense. It is easier to replace it, for example, with a plastic bucket of 12-15 liters, which are sold in hardware stores for mixing solutions. The price is reasonable and the plastic is durable. You will only have to cut or drill 5-6 round holes in the bottom with a diameter of 3 cm in the bottom and 5-6 holes at the very bottom of the walls. At the bottom, be sure to pour drainage (pebbles, crushed stone, expanded clay) with a layer of at least 5 cm.

Potatoes can be grown even in plastic or propylene bags.

To grow potatoes, you need:

a little rotten chopped grass

about half a bucket of garden soil

a tablespoon of superphosphate and a teaspoon of potassium sulfate

half a watering can of mullein solution.

All this should take up half the volume of the container.

Once the soil has settled and soaked with the solution, lightly cover it with garden soil and spread the sprouted tubers. In my case, 1-2 pieces per 20 liter container, in a smaller volume one tuber is enough. For germination, I take early-grade tubers (I buy food young potatoes with already coarsened skins), wash them in a solution of potassium permanganate and bury them in wet sawdust for 10-14 days. By the time of planting, excellent roots and several small shoots appear on the tubers.

Lightly cover the tubers with garden soil. If the soil is dry, I water it.

Then I cover it with wet old sawdust in a layer of 5 cm.

As the potatoes grow, I regularly sprinkle wet sawdust and water it with a weak solution of mullein every 2 weeks. And from the beginning of flowering, spray twice with an interval of 10 days with a solution of potassium monophosphate (1 teaspoon per 10 liters of water). I cut flowers. Twice with an interval of 14 days I spray with a solution of phytosporin.

As soon as the potatoes are harvested, I remove 2/3 of the soil from the container. I add a fresh soil mixture, spill it with a solution of a Baikal-type preparation and leave it for 2-3 days. Then I plant the germinated tuber to a depth of 5-7 cm. As the potatoes grow, I add a mixture of sawdust and soil. And then everything is the same as when growing the first crop.

And, of course, I put the containers in a sunny, well-lit and warm place. This is the south side of my greenhouse. If autumn comes early with colds and frosts, then I will move the container to the greenhouse.

Choosing potato containers

Professional plastic containers are very good. Durable, easy to clean, have large drainage holes and legs. Of the shortcomings – black, so in the sun the roots often overheat from the south open side. And the second drawback: only very expensive imported ones also have pens. As a rule, these are 40-100 liter containers from expensive imported plants. They are comfortable, but a little heavy for a woman to move around, so I use them mainly for collecting dry leaves or weeds.

Flexible containers have handles and are made of polypropylene. Enough for 2-3 seasons. Roots in such containers breathe, moisture seeps out. However, the drainage layer must be poured. Outwardly, they, of course, lose to plastic ones. Yes, and enough for a season, and then the polypropylene begins to break down, I scatter my remnants around.

I know that many gardeners plant potatoes in polypropylene bags, all sorts of improvised containers. This is probably a way out, but not too aesthetic.

Plant bags appeared on Aliexpress a few years ago. And since then I have been regularly asked: is it worth buying them. Before giving advice, I decided to test.

Two years ago my client bought two of these containers. In two seasons, she received 4 potato crops. Wildly rejoiced.

After watching her experience, I can conclude that the bags do their job very well. They have comfortable handles that make it easy to carry plants. And in general, a 12-liter bag with a plant is lighter than a plastic one. The fabric is durable, non-woven, environmentally friendly. Velcro are reliable. The bag slowly passes water, preventing the earth from drying out quickly, but there is no stagnation of water in the rain. Resistant, no drainage layer needed, easy to clean. There are several fabric colors. Very cool to harvest through a special window. Those. no need to shake out the entire bush with a clod of earth, but simply “catch” the tubers through the window.

Nevertheless, for the purity of the experiment, I ordered such a bag on Ali. They sell 3 sizes, I chose the optimal one for growing potatoes – 30 cm in diameter and 23 cm in height. And the color is cheerful – green (when ordering, you can choose the color by specifying in the message to the seller).

I received it and will plant potatoes in the next few days (it’s time to start sowing some flowers anyway, which means turning on the phytolamps in the winter garden). So I will regularly write a report: how my potatoes grow in a special bag. In the summer, it will be possible to compare it with potatoes, which I will definitely plant in plastic professional containers and flexible containers. I myself want to use the bag as much as possible, growing 3, and even better 4 crops of young potatoes. I have several ideas on this.

planting and caring for potatoes in containers

You want to grow those delicious, colorful, often varietal potatoes you see at farmers’ markets and local restaurants, the ones you just can’t find in stores. But you don’t have a place. Why not grow it in containers?

Even with limited space, container growing can give you a small crop of potatoes ready for boiling, baking, frying and roasting. Home-grown potatoes, like home-grown tomatoes, are tastier and better in texture than store-bought ones. And growing it in containers can be a lot of fun for you and your family members.

In the garden, potatoes require a large distance between plants and enough soil for “mounds” (periodic digging of soil around all but the tops of potato stems; promotes tuber formation). Even one or two potato mounds can take up a significant portion of your garden. The space required for one or two rows of potatoes in a plot can be prohibitive.

Potatoes planted in container pots grow vertically. Covering mounds is easy and convenient inside the pot. Provide potatoes with the right soil and moisture conditions and they will grow a bumper crop for the size of the container.

Natural & Organic

Containers allow you to experiment with different varieties of potatoes, as well as potatoes of different colors – Finn yellow, Majesty purple, Cloud red, Adirondack blue – all neatly separated in a separate container. In one container, you can grow early varieties, in the other, late varieties. And harvesting container-grown potatoes is easier and more fun than digging them out of the ground, which, of course, can also be quite exciting.

You may even find that growing potatoes in pots can add a decorative touch to patios and landscaping. Potatoes will delight you with abundant flowering until the very end of the growing season. Pots entwined with sweet potato vines look especially attractive.

The same techniques as for growing potatoes in the ground apply to growing them in containers. In addition to compost and soil, potatoes can be grown in bark, perlite, and other media that make growing easy and neat. Pots and containers of all kinds have been successfully used to grow potatoes, including those made from tie wire, containers assembled from kits or from scratch, even plastic containers and recycled buckets.

Container Growing Technology

Large pots of all kinds are well suited for growing potatoes. They should be at least 35 centimeters wide along the bottom and deep enough to be covered with earth during the season. Use at least 7 dry liters of potting mix per potato variety. The bigger, the better. Crowding of plantings will lead to a smaller yield of small potatoes.

Potatoes, usually spaced 25 centimeters apart, can be pressed a little (but only a little) when planting in containers. In a pot with a bottom diameter of 90 centimeters will be enough space for three plants. The deeper the pot, the better, but its depth should be at least 30 centimeters. This will place at least five centimeters of soil under the starter plants for growing and leave room for moderate loosening.

Good drainage is critical. Make sure your container has drainage holes if possible. If the container you’re using doesn’t have drainage at the bottom (and you can’t safely do so), place rocks or gravel about an inch or two deep in the bottom of the container. Water carefully and do not oversaturate the soil with moisture and fertilizer.

Large pots can be very heavy when filled with damp soil. Be sure to find a place for the pot before filling it.