How To Sprout Potatoes Before Planting Them

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Last Updated on October 26, 2022

Do you know how to sprout potatoes so you could get to harvest them a little earlier than the expected growth time? 

Potatoes do not have seeds, so they grow in a different process than other vegetables. Potatoes grow from their products that you set aside as seed. These seeds must have ‘eyes’ where the new sprout will form. These eyes sprout and form new tubers that grow into potatoes. 

A potatoes ‘eyes’ form and sprout under the right conditions. Let’s look at the right conditions needed for chitting potatoes.

What Do Potatoes Need To Sprout? 

1. Organic Potato Seeds. It’s best to use organically grown potatoes as seed. Chemically grown potatoes have a sprout retardant that slows down sprouting or completely stops them.

2. Darkness and Light. Let’s understand this point here. Potatoes like to sprout in darkness. But you need to expose them to light when they begin sprouting. They are like other seedlings; they will need light to grow. You can keep your potato seeds near a bright window or a fluorescent light to sprout them.  

3. Moisture and Warmth. To speed up the sprouting process, keep your potato seeds in an area with good warmth and moisture. Do not put them in standing water as they will rot. You can layer them in damp leaves indoors to create the right environment. When the sprouts are about 1 cm long, they are an ideal length for planting. 

How To Sprout Potatoes The Right Way

Start sprouting your potatoes three to four weeks before planting them. 

  • Get your Seeds Ready – Buy your seeds from a reputable potato seed seller or get your own from a previous harvest. Your potato seeds must be organic. Never use potatoes that are treated as they may not sprout. 
  • Place your Potato Seeds where you want them to Sprout – Some people use an open egg carton to sprout their seeds. Put them in a dark place where there are enough warmth and moisture. Once they start sprouting, get a fluorescent light, or keep them near a window. Ensure you keep the potatoes stable so that the fragile sprouts do not get broken. In about 1 week, you will notice that the potatoes are sprouting. After 3 to 4 weeks the potatoes are ready for planting. 
  • Plant the Sprouted Potatoes in the Garden – the same way you would plant un-sprouted potatoes. Be sure to plant the potatoes with the sprouts facing up handling them with care not to break the shoots.

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Read about How to grow Alfalfa Sprouts

A Bonus Tip For Sprouting Potatoes

Did you know you can increase the size of your potatoes? Yes, it is possible to do so! Rub off some of the shoots from the tuber before planting to remain with 1 or 2 healthy sprouts. If you leave all the shoots intact, you end up encouraging too much competition on the plant. The produce will be small potatoes.  

A Bonus Tip - Sprouting Potatoes


Do potatoes need to sprout before planting?

Potatoes need to be sprouted before planting. They will grow well, but they won't be as big. Sprouting them increases the number of eyes on each potato, which means more potatoes per plant. It also increases the number of roots, which means that you'll harvest more potatoes from the same space.

You can plant potatoes at any time of year, provided that they are healthy and not rotting.

What should I use to sprout them?

You can grow sprouts in a wide variety of ways. You can use a jar, tray, or any other container. You can also use a hydroponic method, where you use a solution of water and nutrients to feed the sprouts. However, the more water and air you give the sprouts, the faster they will grow and the longer they can remain in the jar.

Potato sprouts can be planted in small pots, in a tray, or in a shallow box. They need plenty of light, so they can be grown outside under a tent or greenhouse, or in a sunny window.

Is it easy to sprout potatoes?

Potato sprouts are a nutritious and easy-to-grow way to get a good dose of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and B vitamins in your diet. The easiest way to grow them is by sprouting. To do so, you simply place the potatoes into a jar with some water, close it up, and let the sprouts grow. They will take about a week to sprout, but it's best to start them as soon as you can.

Can I plant potatoes with long sprouts?

I would say that is not a good idea. You can do it, but it's not advisable. The reason is that the sprouts are part of the tuber and will grow until they reach the potato.

How do you speed up a sprouting potato?

My answer has always been: Don’t. You can speed up the growth of a sprouted potato by exposing it to sunlight, but you’ll get no more than a few days more of growth than you would without sun.

Do potatoes sprout in the dark?

It is indeed true, they will sprout in dark.

You can place them under fluorescent lights or lamps with a blue spectrum. Potatoes are a member of the Nightshade Family, along with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tobacco.

Best Way To Sprout Potatoes- Conclusion  


Now that you have learned how to sprout potatoes, go ahead and grow your own. You will enjoy a good potato harvest a little earlier. You will love the taste of your early harvest with their skins on and deliciously waxy texture!

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