How does a potato plant grow?

The growers of Westhoeve Potatoes work every day with potato plants to grow a nutritious potato. The whole growth process is not as easy as it seems, but if a grower is smart, he can supply the world with potato all year round.

Potato field

How can a potato plant be recognized?

You do not recognize the potato plant (the Solanum tuberosum) with the naked eye, especially if you do not know what they look like and that potatoes actually grow under the ground. A potato is the tuber of the potato plant. The flowers, berries and leaves are poisonous and not edible. In a field you recognize potatoes on the small white or purple flowers. Potato plants are easy crops, because they grow on clay as well as on sandy soil. This is how a potato plant looks like if you pull it out of the ground:

Potato plant

How to take care of a potato plant

A potato plant needs a lot of care. The potato plant needs a substantial fertilization with compost, because of their need for potassium. Fertilizing with nitrogen can have adverse effects. In addition to fertilization, the crop must also be protected against pests and diseases. Molds in particular are a threat, but by planting the potatoes early makes the plants strong and more resistant to the fungus.

Growth rates of the potato plants

Potato plants can grow all year, if you plant them well. The growth rate has to do with the potato variety. Overall the following distinction can be made:

  • Early varieties: they have a short growth period of 90 to 100 days.
  • Medium early varieties: they have a growth period of 100 to 120 days.
  • Halflate varieties: that growth period is more than 120 days here.
  • Late varieties: that growth period lasts longer than 150 days.

Because the late varieties need so much time to develop, the storage period also increases significantly. You can keep these varieties well until the following spring.

From potato plant to potato on the plate

It takes a lot of time to grow good quality potatoes before they arrive at Westhoeve Potatoes to be sold to the customers.