Ask a Question forum: Potato plant too tall?

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Name: Britnay
Detroit Mi (Zone 6a)
Oh! What's that?! ....oops...
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1hugaholic
Aug 23, 2016 6:31 AM CST
Hi!
This year, I decided to test the rumor that potatoes could be grown within a trash can, and still end up with a healthy crop. I've never grown potatoes before, so I don't quite understand what's happening to my plant.
It's over 5 feet tall.
I've done everything my research told me to do, but it's not evening flowering yet. I planted it in mid May.
Any suggestions?
please tell me this isn't a giant weed! :'(
Thumb of 2016-08-23/1hugaholic/7567bd

Lord please let this seed not be a weed!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 23, 2016 8:39 AM CST
If your sure its a potato. I cant tell from pic. Fill dat bucket up with mulch...
AND ! Be patient ! 🗿
Thats what i would do....
😎😎😎 Welcome! I tip my hat to you. Hurray!
Name: Britnay
Detroit Mi (Zone 6a)
Oh! What's that?! ....oops...
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1hugaholic
Aug 23, 2016 9:20 AM CST
yeah, I've been adding soil and other organic stuff to it over the past few months. Now I'm finishing my second trash can layer. It's nearly taller then me now(5 ' 7), so I'll be having a hard time with the third layer. lol I sure hope I'm doing this right. lol Shrug!
Lord please let this seed not be a weed!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 23, 2016 9:58 AM CST
Its a potato plant. A really tall potato. I don't think I've ever seen one quite that big. Are you growing it in full sun with enough water? Did you plant your seed potatoes at the very bottom of the first can?


Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 23, 2016 10:56 AM CST
Potato plants grow to their containers. I'm surprised it is going straight up line that, but considering the size of the trashcan, it seems relatively normal. It may not flower, that's fine. They don't have to flower. Just keep waiting now. I'd advise against filing it all the way up with dirt, just because it might take that add a signal to get taller still. But the can should be at least 3/4th full of dirt.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 23, 2016 11:43 AM CST
What do they grow to when they are rooted to the entire earth? Smiling

Potato plants grown in the ground and in containers don't get more than a foot tall and are very bushy. That one is ginormous! Hopefully, little potatoes are growing down there - I can't imagine they aren't. I do think, normally, given the entire earth to root in, they only grow about a foot deep. Potato bags and boxes are only about 18 inches deep. So back to my question: Did you plant the seed potatoes at the very bottom of the first can?

But what a great experiment in potato growing! I can't wait until you dump that container. Take photos of the results and post them for us.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 23, 2016 11:50 AM CST
DaisyI said:What do they grow to when they are rooted to the entire earth? Smiling

Potato plants grown in the ground and in containers don't get more than a foot tall and are very bushy. That one is ginormous! Hopefully, little potatoes are growing down there - I can't imagine they aren't. I do think, normally, given the entire earth to root in, they only grow about a foot deep. Potato bags and boxes are only about 18 inches deep. So back to my question: Did you plant the seed potatoes at the very bottom of the first can?

But what a great experiment in potato growing! I can't wait until you dump that container. Take photos of the results and post them for us.


I have some taller bags and the surface of the dirt, like what these cans look like, is up at the top. The potatoes themselves are about 2 feet over the surface of the dirt. Those look to be about that if the surface of dirt is higher. My point about growing to the container is, if the container is taller and you start them at the very bottom and keep adding dirt, they will grow up until you stop adding dirt.

So I know you were joking about earth being the "biggest" container, but since it isn't the tallest, compared to how far down the start is, they would still only get so far up over the dirt surface. If that makes sense.

These look taller because their "ground level" is up higher.
[Last edited by robynanne - Aug 23, 2016 11:51 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 24, 2016 7:31 AM CST
I almost always agree with Daisy, but potatoes grown in the ground definitely get more than a foot tall... German Butterballs grow to over 3 feet high in my garden, and other varieties get nearly that tall as well. (In full sun.)

I was going to ask the same question about whether yours is in full sun, Britnay, because it looks somewhat shaded in the photo (but that could just be the time of day, of course). At any rate, I don't think the plant is growing all that much larger than would be expected -- it appears taller because the container isn't as crowded as I've usually seen them -- good for you, Britnay, because I think that's the biggest problem people have with growing them in containers, trying to put in too many plants.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 24, 2016 9:53 AM CST
Sandy, I have never seen a potato plant 3 feet tall (except for Britnay's Smiling ). You must be feeding them some kind of super-food! I wonder if different varieties have different sized and shaped plants. Just found this photo of a potato plant on the interweb:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+big+will+a+potato+plant+...

Mine were always short and bushy; I was growing them in California in zone 8. Maybe that's the difference.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 24, 2016 10:17 AM CST
There definitely seems to be a difference in varieties -- I had the Butterballs and Red Gold potatoes growing side by side, and the Red Gold plants were dwarfed by the Butterballs. Same for flowering -- I've had some types that never flowered at all, others that flowered profusely.

They do grow well up here, though -- and are grown commercially, which usually means that potatoes are pretty cheap in our stores; leading me to wonder if it's actually worth it for me to grow them... Like tomatoes, though, there are SO many varieties to be tried! Big Grin
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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 24, 2016 10:21 AM CST
DaisyI said:Sandy, I have never seen a potato plant 3 feet tall (except for Britnay's Smiling ). You must be feeding them some kind of super-food! I wonder if different varieties have different sized and shaped plants. Just found this photo of a potato plant on the interweb:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+big+will+a+potato+plant+...

Mine were always short and bushy; I was growing them in California in zone 8. Maybe that's the difference.


these are mine from about a month ago, they are growing in containers too. they are quite a bit taller now though, and really leaning over. The seed potatoes are on the very bottom of those bags, sitting right on the deck.

Thumb of 2016-08-24/robynanne/b5c6ad Thumb of 2016-08-24/robynanne/aef993

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Aug 24, 2016 2:15 PM CST
You just have a plant with an extremely strong stem or it does not have to deal with wind.

I also have had plants that were very tall as varieties differ on how high they get and whethe or not they vine out.

This time of year I would add no more material and let the plant mature die and harden as the color of the plant shows signs of age.

Name: Britnay
Detroit Mi (Zone 6a)
Oh! What's that?! ....oops...
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1hugaholic
Aug 24, 2016 2:45 PM CST
Wow I wasn't expecting so many great replies. Thank you all.
The potatoes were first planted on the bottom can. But within a month it got too big to hold, so I added a second can. Now the plant is over 5 feet high. I'm afraid to add another layer but one of the stems has draped over the can. The time I took this picture was early meaning just about 30 minuets after the first sun peeked out. They normally get a lot of sun here. Not too much though. Watered every day.
I'm glad to FINALLY have some answers. Should I just wait for the plant to die off to harvest since I don't notice flowers??
Lord please let this seed not be a weed!
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 24, 2016 2:51 PM CST
yep. You don't need flowers, they don't all flower. And don't add any more height, just let it age and die off and collect your potatoes!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Aug 24, 2016 2:56 PM CST
Years ago, and I am thinking this would be before I was born and then when I was a child, the Eastern End of Long Island was mostly potato farms. I doubt there are any left. Price of land went way up as they built up Suffolk County.

Of course now they do have the East End Fancy Wineries. But potato Farms and Duck Farms are all gone. Probably the Duck Farms stunk so much that no one minded them being gone.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 24, 2016 3:05 PM CST
Britnay, I can't wait to see photos of the potatoes you harvest!! (by that I don't mean that should should dump them out right now -- I mean when you DO harvest them) You might want to join us in the "Vegetables and Fruit" forum -- in the "What's going on in our summer/fall vegetable gardens?" thread (unless you want to start your own thread, that's certainly okay, too).
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Aug 24, 2016 3:21 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:Britnay, I can't wait to see photos of the potatoes you harvest!! (by that I don't mean that should should dump them out right now -- I mean when you DO harvest them) You might want to join us in the "Vegetables and Fruit" forum -- in the "What's going on in our summer/fall vegetable gardens?" thread (unless you want to start your own thread, that's certainly okay, too).


Yes, we have a good time and lots of fun on the veggies thread. Thumbs up
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Aug 24, 2016 3:43 PM CST
Newyorkrita said:

Yes, we have a good time and lots of fun on the veggies thread. Thumbs up


And every now and then even learn something new...

"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Aug 24, 2016 3:48 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:

And every now and then even learn something new...



I agree Thumbs up

It is a nice place to post updates on our veggie gardens. Even ask questions. Lots of pictures of our harvests. nodding

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