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My Potato Plants Aren’t Blooming!

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Potato flowers can be purple or white… or they may not bloom at all.

Your neighbor’s potatoes are in full bloom while yours don’t even show the slightest bud. Are they just late or have you made some monumental gaffe? Does this mean your potato harvest will be a failure?

Just relax! Flowering is not required at all for potatoes to produce tubers. Some varieties bloom readily, others rarely, others not at all (at least in northern regions) and whether they do or not changes nothing about the harvest. It’s largely a question of variety, although the environment is also a factor. But for whatever the reason, it really won’t affect your results.

In a similar vein, some years certain potato varieties produce not only flowers, but also small green fruits and other years, not at all. Read A Garden Mystery Explained: When Potatoes Produce Tomatoes! to learn know why.

New Potatoes

Some gardeners rely on their potatoes blooming to tell them when to harvest new potatoes, because usually when they bloom is also when the plant first begins to produce tubers. So when their plants don’t flower, they’re not sure when to harvest.

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New potatoes.

If that’s your problem, just take a gander at your neighbors potato plants. When their potatoes have been in bloom for a week or two, dig into the ground at the foot of one of your plants to see if the tubers are of the desired size.

Note that new potatoes don’t store well, so only harvest enough for your immediate needs.

The Main Harvest

As for the main crop, you’ll know its time to dig them up when almost all of the the leaves have turned yellow. Under good conditions, you can store mature potatoes all winter.

 

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “My Potato Plants Aren’t Blooming!

  1. Margaret

    Thank you very much. You have put my mind to ease. I was worried because mine haven’t flowered.

  2. We don’t have neighbouring veg gardens to spy on , so will just have to do what I did last year and every so often just gently push my fingers into the soil to see what’s there

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