How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

Potatoes are simple to grow and make a healthy addition to any meal. You can grow potatoes in containers if you don’t have enough garden in your garden to plant potatoes or if you don’t have one at all.

Potatoes do not require an extensive amount of garden space. Potatoes can be grown in many pots on a small scale in any place with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

If you’re looking for information on how to plant seed potatoes in a container, you can find out here. By the end of our guide, you’ll see how deep to plant potatoes in containers, the best soil for potatoes in pots, and more.

potatoes on soil

By the end, you’ll see which is the best potato garden container for you and how easy it is for potatoes in pots planting around your home. (Read 5 Common Gardening Mistakes)

How Many Potatoes Can I Plant in a Container?

Growing potatoes in the ground requires a lot of space, which isn’t always available in smaller gardens. Don’t worry; potatoes can be grown in containers. You’ll never have as many as you would in a vast garden, but you’ll be surprised at how many you can grow in potato-growing containers.

A large potato plant container, some general-purpose compost, and a few seed potatoes are all you’ll need. Growing potatoes in pots and containers are comparable to those grown on the ground.

You can even get a purpose-made bag for growing potatoes and are often large enough to hold three or four seed potatoes. It’s easy, inexpensive, and widely available, and it’ll last years.

However, it isn’t the only way for growing potatoes in containers photos included, as any large container can suffice if it has drainage holes in the bottom. (Read Guide to Growing Potatoes Indoors)

Some gardeners use dustbins, while others use a series of smaller containers, each growing potatoes from eyes in containers containing one or two seed potatoes.

A crop of potatoes from the size of a trashcan gives a harvest the same size as a bucket or specially made potato bag. The crop sizes are comparable, but smaller containers use less compost to grow potatoes in containers.

container

How Deep Should a Container be for Potatoes?

Containers allow you to try out different heirloom potatoes and colors, such as yellow Finns, purple Majesty, red Cloud, and Adirondack blue, all neatly separated in their own container.

Fingerlings can be grown in one container and late-season keepers in another. Harvesting potatoes from containers is also easier and more thrilling than digging them up from the ground, which can be enjoyable as well.

Growing potatoes in containers follow the same principles as growing them in the ground. They can be raised in coir, perlite, and other mediums that make growing straightforward and tidy, besides compost and soil.

Potatoes make well in large pots of various kinds. At the bottom, they should be at least 14 inches deep enough to allow for hilling as the season develops.

Use at least two dry gallons of soil per start. It’s always a wonderful thing to have more. Smaller harvests of smaller spuds will result from overcrowding starters.

When planted in containers, potatoes, which are spaced 10 inches apart, can become a little crowded. Three beginnings will fit comfortably in a pot with a 14-inch diameter at the bottom. The deeper the pot, the better, although at least 15 inches deep is required.

This leaves at least two inches of growing medium beneath the starts, as well as some room for hilling. (Read Can You Eat Potatoes With Eyes)

It’s critical to have good drainage. If at all workable, make sure your container includes drainage holes. If the container you’re using doesn’t have drainage out the bottom, cover the bottom with an inch or two of stones and gravel. Water sparingly and avoid saturating the soil.

When filled with damp soil, large pots can become incredibly heavy. Before you fill your pot, make sure you have a location for it.

Consider using heavy-duty rolling plant supports instead. Remember that potatoes thrive in direct sunlight. Also, take in mind that tipping the pot over, which is the recommended harvesting technique, might cause a lot of damage to your recently constructed deck.

Aside from garden pots, several containers can grow potatoes. Grow bags, and Smart Pots are especially well-suited to growing potatoes. Don’t be stingy with the size.

The chicken netting Growing potatoes in a potato tower is a simple and effective method, especially when using straw. The design can be as basic as driving four snow-fence posts in a square and then firmly wrapping the fencing around the poles.

Potato growing bins can also be made from repurposed wooden palettes, and you can use standing compost containers for growing potatoes. 

potato in a container

Do Potatoes Grow Well in Containers?

When looking at how to grow red potatoes in containers rather than in the ground, there are advantages. One of the biggest is it’s easier to keep the plants safe from pests like voles, or you can cut down on weeds.

Once you see the ease of how to plant potatoes in pot, you’ll find your container potatoes develop quickly and generate a great yield for the amount of space they use.

Harvesting potatoes in a container is great fun for kids as you tip the container over.

The only major disadvantage for growing potatoes in a pot is the watering must be more frequent. It’s vital to keep the soil moist but not soaked. (Learn How to Plant Seed Potatoes)

Planting potatoes in containers is like planting in the ground about timing. Planting in your regular garden is about two weeks after the last frost of your region.

When you look at how to grow potatoes in a container, you could start planting pots ahead a little since the soil warms faster when exposed to the light above ground.

If they forecast a late spring frost, get ready to cover or move your potato containers indoors.

In general, you’ll find seed potatoes sold for garden planting should be used, and you can get seed potatoes from nurseries or organic farmers.

Potatoes can be grown in any large container, ranging from large pots or nursery containers to large garbage cans. Even trash bags or tire stacks can be suitable yet get hot in sunny conditions.

Growing potatoes in containers is a little different from growing other vegetables. Potatoes use the hilling technique, where the plant’s stems are gradually buried as the upper foliage grows.

As your hill rises, the lower buried stems generate new root structures and thus potatoes. Burying stems also keeps potatoes becoming green through sun exposure.

The hilling process differs while growing in containers, but the basics remain the same. The seed potatoes are barely covered with soil when they are first sown. Additional soil is heaped around the plant at regular intervals as the plant grows until the container is filled. (Learn How To Store Potatoes After Harvest)

One other thing that can vary, and you see this in any tips for any container gardening. You need the best soil for potatoes in containers. Garden soil may not be suitable when growing in containers as garden soil can compact and retain too much.

Instructions

Prepare your potting soil using high-quality potting soil, which is fast draining, especially if using a plastic container. Organic soils are excellent selections here.

Mix fertilizer and water your potting mix by adding an organic, slow-release fertilizer into your potting soil.

Once you get growing, use a diluted liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion every couple of weeks while your potatoes grow.

When you grow potatoes in containers, they need plenty of water, which leaches nutrients from the soil. Organic fertilizer also has less impact on potato plants in harmful ways compared to other fertilizers when growing in containers or your garden.

potatoes

Can You Grow Potatoes in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

In 5-gallon buckets, it’s easy to grow potatoes as if growing potatoes in containers that are larger. (Learn How To Grow Sweet Potato)

When growing in containers of this size, you can grow in a variety of climates and growing seasons; also, they take up far less space when you grow new potatoes this way.

  1. Choose your 5-gallon buckets: First, ensure your bucket offers enough inches of potting soil, so deeper is better than wider for your potatoes to grow.
  2. Drill at least holes on the bottom of your 5-gallon bucket for drainage.
  3. Measure the fill lines to grow potatoes in buckets. Get a ruler and Sharpie and measure where you will have 4 inches of potting soil at the start.
  4. Mark another line at 10 inches from the bottom.
  5. Fill the bucket with soil to the 4″ line.
  6. When growing potatoes in containers, you will need to purchase quality potting soil, so the standard of soil in your garden doesn’t matter. Another thing is you won’t require as much with raised garden bed grown potatoes.
  • For potatoes grown this way, you want to feed the soil with fertilizer for potatoes in containers, growing patio potatoes, and not feeding the plant. Also, when you want to grow potatoes small potatoes, get your seed potatoes certified-disease-free.
  • If you get store-bought potatoes, you could find they don’t sprout as they have been treated to increase shelf life.
  • Water when you first plant it, enough so that water comes out the bottom. Set the bucket on wood, cement blocks, or other planks.
  • Be sure to leave it in the full sun for 6 – 8 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Depending on the season and your climate, water a few times a week. When you water, monitor for insects and remove them.
  • Add a few more inches of soil.
  • You will want to fill it to approximately 3″ each time until you reach the top.
  • Adding more dirt like this is called hilling. You want to cover the plants — including the leaves — with soil.
  • If you were hilling the potatoes in a garden, add partially composted leaves, compost, straw, etc.
  • The potatoes you are growing will grow above the potato you planted. Adding more soil through hilling enables potatoes to grow.
  • This is also why you should use a minimum of a five-gallon bucket — tubers of new potatoes grow underground and need depth.
  • You can harvest your homegrown new potatoes when they flower.
  • The potato plant will be ready but not fully mature and will continue to grow the longer you wait.
  • When the leaves wilt, droop and die, you’ll see the leaves turn yellow and brown, and this is when to harvest potatoes.
  • You don’t need to use a digging fork. Gently reach in with your hands.
  • It’s important to know when to harvest potatoes in the growing season. If you want smaller new potatoes, pick them when flowers bloom. If you want large potatoes, pick them when the plants flower and die back.
  • Harvested potatoes can be stored for months if necessary.
  • Store your harvested potato varieties in a cool, dry place and away from any direct sunlight. If you plan on storing harvested potatoes for months, you need to cure them first.
  • Potato plants, regardless of the ground used to grow potatoes, you’ll find many varieties grown in buckets, containers, planters, garden beds, or the ground can grow to around 40″ tall.
  • Depending on the variety, it takes a minimum of three months or 90 days for most potato varieties to grow tubers to maturity in the growing season.

If you want a seed potato to start your crop off, you don’t have to use a full seed potato in a container. You can cut your seed potatoes into chunks, and so long as they have two eyes on each chunk, you can get potato plants from each piece and the same number of tubers.

How to Grow Potatoes in Containers (2)

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