The Q&A Archives: Peanut Plant?

Question: I have a pot of impatiens and torenia on my front porch and as I was dead-heading the torenia I noticed an odd plant growing in the middle of the mix. So I pushed the other plants aside to see that some animal (most likely or resident wacky squirrel) must have shallowly buried a peanut in a shell which had sprouted. Now I am intrigued. It looks like a small plant about 4 inches tall with a green like peanut coming off the side. Do I have to bury this green peanut

Answer: Your new peanut plant will be fun to watch. The peanut looking thing coming off the stem is actually the cotyledon and is where energy is stored for the plant. Leave it alone - it will wither away on its own. For the time being it is providing food for the roots until true leaves develop. Once your peanut plant has two sets of true leaves, it will be mature enough to begin the process of photosynthesis (converting sunlight into energy). I wouldn't move the plant since it seems to be happy in its present location. (It will grow best in full sunshine, however, so if the bed is shady, you may want to transplant it into a sunnier spot.) The plant will eventually develop flowers and from the flowers will come little "pegs". These will naturally grow downward and into the soil, which is where the peanut will develop. If the little pegs can't work their way into the soil around the plant, you can cover them with soil. At the end of the growing season the peanuts should be ready to harvest. Wait until the tops of the plant dies down, then dig your buried treasure. Best wishes with your peanut plant!

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