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Why Do My Potato Plants Have No Potatoes

No matter your experience as a gardener, there will be a time when your plants do not yield produce. When this happens, it is important to analyze the situation to identify what went wrong so you can correct this the next time you grow your plant. Potato plants tend to be rather simple plants to grow. They are more resilient than most produce and can survive a lot of damage. That being said, there will be times when you may not yield any potatoes. You may be wondering, why do my potato plants have no potatoes?

The answer is somewhat complex and has several factors that could affect it. Things like the soil you use, any fertilizer or mulch you add, or your watering routine could cause your plant not to have potatoes. This could also be caused by things outside of your control, like the temperature outside or sudden rainstorms.

The best way to help your plants grow potatoes is to be prepared for the many different things that could affect your plant’s growth.

Why Did My Potato Produce Leaves But No Crop

Your potato plant may produce leaves even if it does not produce potatoes. These leaves can give you hints about what is affecting your potato plant. If you pay attention to the leaves and catch these signs early on, you may be able to salvage your plant and get it to produce potatoes.

If your potato plant is over-fertilized, it may have grown many big bushy leaves. While these leaves are beautiful, if you inspect them, you may find that some of them are deformed or rolled up due to stress. If a plant is under fertilized, the leaves will turn yellow or brown due to a lack of nutrients.

These leaves may also grow more slowly and not get as big as they would on a healthy plant. If black rot is the cause of your potato plant not growing potatoes, you will see the stem and the leaves slowly turn black.

Do Potato Plants Need To Bloom To Produce Potatoes

If your potato plant does not bloom, there is no need to worry. The blooms on the plant have nothing to do with the production of the potatoes underneath the soil. The blooms are attached to fruit that grows above ground on the potato plant.

This fruit, however, cannot be consumed as it is highly toxic. These fruits look like small green tomatoes and contain a toxic level of solanine. Solanine is a poisonous alkaloid that forms when parts of the potato plant are exposed to sunlight. Green spots on potatoes result from solanine and need to be cut away before consumption.

Symptoms of solanine poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, general digestive discomfort, confusion, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a weak or rapid pulse. If untreated, solanine poisoning can cause respiratory failure, which leads to death. If you experience these symptoms after eating part of your potato plant, seek medical attention immediately.

Should I Cut My Potato Plants Back

Pruning your potato plants can be a great way to help them to continue to grow nice and strong. Potato plants rely on nutrients from their foliage, so it is important to be careful about how much you prune and how frequently you do it. To help your plant grow faster, you can prune them to speed up the maturing process.

This will allow them to mature before they reach their full size. You can then take the pruned potato vines and leave them in the soil for roughly two weeks. This will allow them to develop a thick skin which will help them with their storage so spuds can be kept for up to 6 months following harvest.

Pinch them off as soon as you see blooms on your potato plant. Blooms are an indication that tubers have started to form underneath the soil. By taking these blooms away, you remove the competition and allow the plant to focus all of its energy on growing the tubers.

When the foliage starts to wilt, you can prune it away. Prune the plant down to the ground until it is about 1 inch above the soil. Be careful not to cut any lower than this, or you risk exposing young potatoes to sunlight too soon. Then wait about two weeks before you dig the tuber out so you can give the potato skin time to thicken. 

Why Did I Get So Few Potatoes

There are a handful of reasons why your potato plant yielded a small harvest. In many instances, it is because the plant was started too late. Planting your potatoes in June is way too close to the summer months for this cool-weather crop, and you will likely have a disappointing harvest.

Letting the plant dry out too much can also cause it not to produce a large number of potatoes. This usually happens when the plant is in sandy soil, in a hot area, or not receiving a regular watering cycle. The wrong soil can cause your plant to not grow to its fullest potential. The ideal soil for a potato plant is two parts garden soil and one part compost.

Wherever you plant your potatoes, make sure they have good drainage. Water buildup can start to flood the plant and stunt its growth. Raised beds are a great way to keep plants from flooding. Also, be mindful not to plant too many seeds in one area. Potatoes need some space to grow, and planting too many in a tiny spot can lead to a disappointing harvest.

Things To Consider

Raised beds tend to be the most efficient way to grow a potato plant. It helps ensure they have good drainage so they won’t be flooded. This leads to a larger harvest and an overall healthier plant. If you can’t use a raised bed to grow your potato plant, a grow bag is the next best thing. These bags help to keep your plant protected from frost and keeps all the nutrients tucked inside around the roots.