Last Updated on May 16, 2023
The potato is one of the most commonly grown, consumed, and versatile vegetables in the world. Its ease of growth contributes to its popularity. Knowing how many potatoes will grow per plant is crucial to know how your plants will perform, and to deciding how many you should plant to fulfill your needs.
How many potatoes will grow per plant will depend on certain factors such as the type or variety of potatoes being grown, environmental conditions, and how well their growing needs are being met.
To know how many potato plants to plant to ensure that you harvest enough to last you and your family until the next growing season, keep reading.
How Many Potatoes Grow From One Plant?
How many potatoes per plant can you expect from your harvest? The average number of potatoes a potato plant can produce per plant, under ideal growing conditions, is between three and eight. Different varieties may produce fewer or more potatoes than others. The sizes of the tubers may also differ in sizes, ranging from small to extra large.
If you are looking to provide for a family, about 40 potato plants may be sufficient to provide for the year. If these plants all grow healthily until harvest, you should expect a harvest of around 125 pounds of potatoes.
How Many Potatoes Grow From One Potato Seed?
Seed potatoes vary greatly in size. A small-sized seed potato is planted whole and can produce a single potato per plant. Larger seed potatoes, however, can be cut into halves or quarters, planted, and can produce between two and four potato plants.
Planting seed potato whole will usually produce stronger plants. It is, therefore unnecessary to cut the seed potato, unless it is very large.
A single-seed potato that grows well will produce one plant, and this one plant will produce between 8 and 10 full-sized potatoes. In addition to this, each potato plant is likely to have a couple of smaller baby potatoes as well.
Do Different Potato Varieties Produce the Same Number of Potatoes Per Seed?
How many potatoes per plant seed can differ between different cultivars? If you want to know how many potatoes your particular variety will produce, you will need to read the plant descriptions in the packaging or on the resources available online.
Keep in mind, however, that the average yield per potato plant listed assumes that ideal growing conditions for that particular potato variety are met. If the conditions are not ideal, the plant may produce fewer potatoes or nothing at all.
Ideal Growing Conditions for Optimal Potato Yield
While different potato cultivars will have different specific environmental conditions for maximum yield, here are some things you can do to help ensure that you get optimal productivity out of your potatoes:
1. Planting distance
Potatoes are tubers that grow underground. Because of this, they need plenty of space to grow. This makes it important to provide them with sufficient room to do so.
If potatoes are planted too closely, young tubers will not grow as well as you would expect them to. This will result in a poor yield.
Another reason for not planting them too closely is that they will compete for nutrients, further impacting their growth negatively.
Potato plants should be planted 12 -14 inches apart, and have 3 feet between rows to achieve the best growth and for you to obtain optimum yield. If you plan to harvest your potatoes at the baby stage, however, you can plant them closer to each other, as they will require less space to grow.
If you have adhered to this recommended planting distance, you should not have to worry about the possibility of them crowding up in the soil. They will adjust themselves and spread out as needed, provided the soil they are planted in is right. The plant roots and tubers will grow well.
2. Planting depth
How deep you plant your seed potatoes will have a massive impact on the eventual yield. Seed potatoes need to have enough soil covering them so that no part of the tuber is left exposed. If they do not get completely covered and are exposed to the sun, they will turn green due to the solanine in them. If these potatoes are consumed, they will cause solanine poisoning. Green potatoes should not be eaten and must be immediately discarded. This will lead to a loss of crop yield.
The best depth to plant your potatoes is 4-6 inches. Start with this depth and hill them up as the plants continue to grow taller to keep them protected.
You can hill your potatoes up by mounding the soil around them with a spade, hoe, or other implement that you have. Hill them up to within 2-3 inches of the plant foliage. Start hilling them when the plants have attained a height of 8-10 inches, and repeat the process when they get new growth of 8-10 inches.
The process of hilling your plants will help to provide them with sufficient soil for adequate growth and expansion of tubers underground. The higher level of soil will also help to support the growing foliage on top of the ground. If your plants are not provided with enough soil, they will be exposed to the sun, which will diminish your crop yield.
3. Soil type
For potato tubers to grow well and expand underground, they need to be planted in loose soil. Using loose, soft, and well-draining soil will help to increase your potato yield. Potatoes require plenty of space to spread their roots and grow large potatoes.
Growing potatoes in compacted soil will produce only small potatoes as they will struggle to push against the dirt to increase in size.
4. Soil fertility
Soil fertility is an important aspect of increasing your potato yield. Apply fertilizer suitable for potatoes to the soil before your potatoes are planted. It is important to use a fertilizer that is specific for potatoes when you first plant them, and mid-way through the season so that they get the boost of nutrients they need to produce as many potatoes as they can.
Use a 5-10-10 fertilizer in the planting rows and carefully work it into the soil. Be careful to follow the instructions on the packaging container. You will also have to side-dress the potatoes with the same fertilizer before the first hilling.
5. Soil moisture
Potatoes need adequate, but not too much watering. Potatoes need about 1 to 2 inches of rain per week. If your area does not receive this amount of rain, you will need t give your potatoes supplemental water.
Water your potatoes enough to saturate the soil up to the level of the roots and tubers. Water each time the first two inches of the soil feel dry.
Going for long periods without watering or adequate water will lead to malformations of your potato tubers, which can lead to poor yields. This is because insufficient moisture will cause the potato tubers to grow slowly if they even grow at all.
If you resumed watering your potatoes or got plenty of rain after a period of no rain, it will cause the tubers to grow rapidly and split or develop malformations.
To get the best yield out of your potatoes, and get the best shapes, you will need to water them regularly during their growing season.
Pests can have a detrimental impact on your potato crop yield. Treat them as soon as you notice them before they have any significant damage to the plants. Insect pests such as the Colorado potato beetle can completely destroy the foliage of the plants. If this happens, the growth of tubers underground will stop because the plants will not have enough support. Eventually, you will have reduced yield and small potatoes.
7. Sunlight exposure
Like all other plants, potato plants require sunlight to carry out photosynthesis. Without sufficient sunlight, the growth of the plant will slow down and result in your potato yield is poor.
Make sure you plant your potatoes in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day, for the entire duration of the growing cycle. The plants can and will grow with less light, however, their growth will not be as good as it would be if they received more light. So to get the best growth, health, and ultimately good yield from your potatoes, provide them with plenty of sunlight.
8. Proper hilling
Hilling your potatoes at the time they are first planted, and one or two more times during their growing season will help improve crop yield. Hilling provides support for the growing plant foliage, which will force it to grow upwards toward the sunlight and consequently increase the growth of tubers.
9. Choosing the right potato variety
There are hundreds of potato varieties to choose from that are readily available from local seed stores and online shops. Before you choose the variety to grow. Do a bit of research around it to find out if it is suited to your climate, or if you will be able to provide it with the growing conditions it requires.
It is also helpful to know information such as the length of the growing season, the amount of space they need for growth, specific uses of that particular potato, and as well as resistance or susceptibility to disease and parasites.
Potato varieties such as Pontiac Red, Kennebec White, and Purple Majesty are all great varieties of potatoes that consistently produce high yields of potatoes. If you are you do not know much about potato varieties, you can begin by researching these three to see which one would be best suited to your environment.
10. Plant your potatoes at the right time
Potato plants have an ideal time that they should be planted to get the best chance of survival. You should plant them when the soil warms up to about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. In most areas, that would be about two weeks after the last frost date.
While looking at the timing, it is also key to monitor the soil moisture content. If you have had a wet spring, wait a few weeks until the ground has dried up a bit. If the soil is too wet, it can cause the potato tubers to rot.
If you have no choice but to plant potatoes earlier than this, look for the varieties that mature earlier, as they are better able to withstand cold conditions. You can plant these up to six weeks before the last first date.
How Many Potatoes Does a Potato Plant Produce?
Typically, a single potato plant will produce anywhere between 3 and 5 pounds of potatoes. This may be enough to feed a family of four people twice.
Keep in mind, however, that different varieties of potatoes will produce different numbers of potatoes. In addition to this, the growing conditions such as sunlight, nutrient provision, adequate growing space, and a good irrigation schedule have to be maintained well to achieve optimum growth.
Can I Use Store-Bought Potatoes as Seeds?
Technically, yes. Store-bought potatoes can be used as seeds to grow potatoes. You will have figured this out at some point when you left potatoes out for too long and they started sprouting. If you plant them in the ground during the right growing season, you should harvest some potatoes.
However, potato growth experts advise against using shop potatoes as seeds. They recommend only using certified potatoes to plant in your garden.
The reasons for this include that potato growers put sprout inhibitors to slow down the rate of budding when the potatoes are being shipped, and while they are at the store. This may cause the potatoes to grow weak or not produce any growth when planted.
Another reason that you should not use shop potatoes as seeds is that they often contain a lot of microorganisms and diseases. These can easily spread to plants and completely destroy all other plants in your garden. Seed potatoes that are certified will come with a guarantee that they are free of any diseases or microorganisms that can destroy the potato and other crops.
Certified seed potatoes are usually strong and healthy, and have a higher chance of having vigorous growth, producing large and strong potatoes, and ultimately a good yield.
How Do I Know That My Potatoes Are Growing
Because potatoes grow underground, it may be difficult, especially for new and inexperienced growers to be able to tell what stage their plants are at. It can be difficult to tell whether or not your potato tubers are growing. There are signs that you can look out for.
Flowering is a great indicator that your potatoes have started growing. If you want to harvest your potatoes in the baby stage, you can go ahead and do so at this point. After the flowers have come and gone, the foliage at the top of the soil will die back. This is so that the plant will start directing its energy towards growing the tubers larger. If you want to harvest full-sized potatoes, you should do so after the plants have died back.
Another way to know that your potatoes have matured is when the stems of the plants have started to go yellow and die off. This usually happens at the end of summer, or early in the fall.
If you still want a bit of reassurance that your potatoes are ready to harvest, you can dig a small test spot and get a few tubers out to gauge if they are at your desired harvest size.
Quick Summary – How Many Potatoes Will Grow Per Plant (and From ONE Seed)
Different varieties of potatoes will produce different amounts of potatoes at harvest time. To get an idea of how many your particular variety will produce, you will need to read the information on the seed packaging. Generally, with potatoes, however, if the plant is healthy, you can expect to dig up about five or six full-size potatoes per plant.
Potato plants yield from five to 10 potatoes per plant depending on the variety, climate, and whether the growing conditions of the plants are met. Usually, a single potato plant produces anywhere between 3 and 5 pounds of potatoes. Knowing this can help you to plan how many plants to plant to you can have enough potatoes until the next growing season.
Follow the guidelines and tips provided in this article to increase your potato plant harvest. Remember that a single plant has the potential to produce between three and four pounds of potatoes, and a single seed potato will produce above four or five plants. Start from there and then plan how many potato plants to plant for an adequate supply.
We hope this article has given you all the information you need to know on how many potatoes per plant you can expect from your potato plant. Happy growing!
An aquaculture specialist and freelance writer. Passionate about anything sustainable living, such as growing your own food, and if you can do it in conjunction with fish farming, even better! I currently work as an aquaculture researcher where I can expand and share my knowledge and skills on aquaculture, crop farming and adding value to wastewater by using it to grow food products. I enjoy reading and learning as much as possible, and writing is another avenue for me to share the knowledge I gain with others. I want my writing to inspire people to try their hand at gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. You can even start by keeping a few houseplants indoors to help you gain a bit of confidence if you need to.