If you’ve ever kept a bag of potatoes around a bit too long, you might have noticed them beginning to sprout. This phenomenon often leads to the question: Can you plant these sprouting, store-bought potatoes, and will they grow?
Technically, yes, store-bought potatoes can sprout and grow. However, there are several considerations to remember before you plant those sprouted spuds from your pantry.
First, many store-bought potatoes are treated with a sprout inhibitor to prevent them from sprouting while they’re on the store shelves or in your pantry. This can affect their ability to grow when planted. However, if your potatoes are sprouting, it’s a sign that the inhibitor has worn off, and they might be capable of producing plants.
Second, the variety of potatoes you bought at the store might not be the best suited for your climate or growing conditions. Potatoes you buy at the store are chosen for a wide variety of reasons, including taste, storage longevity, and appearance, but not necessarily for their growth characteristics in a garden setting.
@simonakeroydgardener Potatoes from supermarket. Best to do this in early spring for a crop in early summer. #gardening #growyourown #gardeningtok #costoflivingcrisis #freefood #fyp #foryou #foryoupage ♬ The Winner Takes It All – ABBA
Third, there’s a risk of disease. Store-bought potatoes haven’t been inspected or certified as disease-free as seed potatoes are. Planting store-bought potatoes in your garden could inadvertently introduce diseases, which can persist in the soil and affect future crops.
So, while store-bought potatoes can grow if planted, it might not be the best idea for your garden. Instead, consider purchasing certified seed potatoes from a reputable nursery or seed supplier. These are specifically grown to be disease-free and are chosen for their excellent growth characteristics in a garden setting.
What are seed potatoes?
Seed potatoes are not seeds in the conventional sense, like those of a tomato or pepper plant. Instead, they are tubers that are specifically grown to be replanted to produce a new potato crop.
These tubers are harvested and stored in a dormant state over winter, then sold in late winter/early spring for gardeners to plant.
Each seed potato has several ‘eyes‘ or buds, and it is from these eyes that the new potato plant sprouts. It’s important to note that seed potatoes are certified disease-free to give your crop the best start possible, reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases. So, while it is possible to plant a sprouting potato from your kitchen, it’s not recommended due to the risk of disease, which could affect your crop and the soil in which you plant them.
In conclusion, while it’s tempting to plant sprouting store-bought potatoes for the health of your garden and future crops, it’s better to stick with certified seed potatoes for your planting needs.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!