What do potato plants look like: Best Expert Guide

BY Shaafay Zia
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Aren’t all these root vegetables confusing? Of course, because the item of interest is beneath the ground, you can only judge the vegetable by its plant. So what do potato plants look like? 

‘They’re all the same!’ One might think. Then again, it’s possible. It’s easier to distinguish a veggie or fruit when you see it. But figuring it out while looking at the plant is a little tricky.

Years of our experience in gardening has helped THOUSANDS of people to become better green thumbs than they already are. 

Let’s get to growing potatoes! Let’s find out all that’s needed to know about a potato plant. From their shape and harvest to identifying their leaf style!

Cash Course: The scientific name for potato is solanum tuberosum

What do potato plants look like

When Is The Time to Start Harvesting Potatoes?

Harvesting Potatoes

Getting restless, are we? You want to pluck out those bad boys and just put them in a frying pan!

Hold your horses now. Let’s take it slowly, and there is SO much information that you need to know. 

SO FIRST! Potato Growing Season. From January to March, you can plant your potatoes. This depends, of course, on the climate you have in your region. Colder places tend to grow them in the second half, while warmer in the first. 

So WHEN should you harvest potatoes? 

There are many contributing factors, but let’s look at the most important one: TIME!

Potato plant growth takes anywhere from 90-120 days. (You thought it was just you who matured over time?) of course, this isn’t a binary figure. 

If we talk ‘month’ wise, be ready to harvest potatoes from July to August.

Suggested reading: Is Potato Fruit Or Vegetable?

How to Tell When Potatoes Are Ready to Harvest?

When Potatoes Are Ready to Harvest

Harvesting is the part that people are SCARED of most. It’s only possible to make all the effort to grow potatoes if you know when they’re READY. 

 If you’re not a fan of grocery store potatoes and prefer homegrown potatoes, you’ve come to the RIGHT place. 

When harvesting potatoes, there are a few signs that you need to look at:

  1. Flowers: The potato plant has already flowered and gone for at least a couple of weeks.
  1. Plant foliage has started to die. The foliage will have almost died, with only the stems remaining. 
  1. Yellow leaves. The plant leaves lose their green color and turn yellow. Furthermore, the potato plant’s leaves will turn yellow and die off.
  1. Potatoes come closer to the soil surface. When you scrape away from the top inch of the soil of the plant, you should uncover some whole-size potatoes. 
Suggested reading: Growing Potatoes In Buckets

What Does a Potato Plant Look Like?

What do potato plants look like

Well, you know now, at least, that the leaves of a potato plant are different for every stage. 

But generally speaking, there aren’t significant differences in the appearance of the potato plant leaves. They’re pretty much the same. 

Exception for a few very different varieties of potatoes.

If you were asked to describe a leaf of a potato plant, well, here’s how you would:

This BEAUTY of nature has leaves that are narrow yet long. Their color is a fresh dark green with a wavy texture.

While the leaves might look similar, potatoes come in VARIOUS colors. Do you want to know which colors? 

  • Red potatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Purple potatoes
  • Yellow potatoes (Don’t confuse it with the Yukon gold)

Now isn’t that a COLORFUL veggie!

What Do Potato Plants Look Like in Growth Stages?

Potato Plants Look Like in Growth Stages

Focus on something other than the destination. ENJOY the journey. The same goes for gardening. It’s a time taking process, and potato vines are a JOY to see grow.

Sprout development 

Here is where it all begins. Two to four weeks after plantation, the stem and sprout eyes rise from the ground. At this stage, the new plant looks like tiny green bean sprouts, just trying to make their way into the world.

Vegetative stage

As the potato plant grows, it starts to resemble something more like a small shrub. It produces more and more leaves and looks like a miniature version of the potato plants you see in fields. Photosynthesis starts, and now the plant is ready to POWER on!

Tuber Initiation & Flowering stage

The flowering stage. is a time of beauty and wonder for the potato plant. It produces delicate white or purple flowers, which are “totally Instagram-worthy.”  

Tip: Make sure to add aged manure at this stage to increase the plant’s nutrients. 

Tuber Bulking stage

After the plants have flowered, they will produce small tubers. These tubers continue to GROW and MATURE over time. The plant focus all its energy & nutrients on amassing these tubers. 

Crash Course:

The Tuber is THAT part of the potato plant you eat. INTERESTING, isn’t it? Well, the tubers are the part that stores all the starch and the yummy flavor. These tubers grow at the end of underground stems.

Harvest stage

Finally, the potato plant reaches the harvest stage. At this point, the first sign you’ll see is that the leaves turn yellow the TOPS begin to die back down into the soil. 

This is a SINGAL that it’s time to dig up those tasty tubers. There are many factors to consider before harvesting, though. We have mentioned ALL of them above. 

Nothing is quite as satisfying as pulling mature potatoes from the ground. Fried, roasted, or baked, they will be delicious!

Key Points to Consider about Your Potato Plants’ Color

Potato Plants' Color

Plants are gardeners’ best friends. We wish they could speak, but they communicate in different ways. How? Through COLOR! 

Growing Stages

Here are key points to consider during the growing phase: 

  • Potato plants are typically green in color, with smooth and somewhat glossy leaves. The color of the leaves can vary depending on the variety of potato plants. Some types have more blue or purple tones in their leaves.
  • The color of potato plants can be affected by various factors. These can include:
    • Amount of sunlight they receive
    • Nutrients in the soil
    • Presence of pests or diseases. e.g., Colorado potato beetles & late blight.
  • Depending on the type, the plant starts to produce white, lavender, or pink flowers.
  • Healthy potato plants will have vibrant green leaves. A stressed plant not receiving proper care may have yellowing or wilting leaves.

If you notice that your potato plants are not as green as they should be, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Keep an eye out for your plant, from nutrient issues to potato blight.

Harvesting Stage

You are ready to harvest your fully grown new potatoes. Now there are different vital points to consider.

  • The leaves of the plant would turn brown or have turned yellow. This stage is a normal part of the plant’s life cycle. It indicates that the potato is mature and ready to be harvested.
  • Look out for the skin of the potato. The potato tubers’ color can vary. Common varieties of potatoes have brown, red, or yellow skin and white, yellow, or pink flesh. You don’t want to be harvesting early.
  • If exposed directly to sunlight, potatoes begin to turn green. These are NOT healthy to eat. That’s why you should store your potatoes in a dark place after harvest. If the tuber is exposed while in the ground, try adding soil over them. 
  • If the plant produced flowers, they would have died by now. Sad, but the flowers and foliage need to go before the harvest stage.

Overall, the color of your potato plants can be a good indicator of their health and well-being. It’s essential to pay attention to the color of your plants and take action if you notice any changes.

FAQs about What Do Potato Plants Look Like

1. How long do potatoes take to grow?

It takes time and patience, honey. Don’t worry, though. Once you pluck these majestic creatures from the ground, they’ll be worth the wait! 
But really, how long do they, or should they take? 
Well, this depends on the type of potatoes and the size you want from them. Some potatoes take 50 – 70 days, while most take 110 – 130 days.
Make sure to know what kind of potatoes you’re growing. 

2. Will potatoes grow if you cut them in half?

The vegetable is a wonder. It doesn’t matter if you cut it in half. 
The flesh of the veggie is just starch stored in it. Potatoes grow through the shoots from their ‘eye’ or bud on it. 
So, YES, potatoes will grow if you cut them in half as long as they have buds on them.
Note: Potatoes will only grow if they are planted in well-drained soil. 

3. How many potatoes can you grow from 1?

This depends on the potato, as the number of ‘eyes’ or ‘buds’ known as seed potatoes on it. The more seeds, the more potatoes you’ll be able to grow from one. Since the ‘eyes’ are spread across the potato, the larger the potato, the more your chances of having more seed potatoes.

What’s Next

That is A LOT of information. You must feel so good now knowing almost everything about potatoes. Your garden is READY to welcome new potatoes to it. 

Our website is FILLED with informative articles like these. Knowledge is power, and for a garden to flourish, we are the RIGHT resource. 

Now surely you don’t want to withhold this information from yourself? Go ahead and SHARE the article with your friends and fellow green thumbs! 

There is so much MORE information for you. Please explore our website and see for yourself!

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Shaafay Zia

Hi, I'm a fellow green thumb who moonlight's as a writer. Gardening is something that brings me peace and I have been in the sport for many years now. With all of our expertise, we will always bring you the best content which will make you love your garden, even more.