potato plants dying back early

acanigliaJune 5, 2011

Dear All

This is the first year growing potatoes. I planted russian banana, swedish peanut, and finn apple fingerlings in a large container. All seemed to be gowing well. I put the starters in late march, about 2 weeks before our last frost date. I noticed today that many of the leaves are turning yellow and brown, and starting to shrivle. I have not seen any flowers yet, and Im concerned they are starting to die back early.

Can anyone give me some advice. Should I check to see if there are any potatoes growing. Should I leave them alone and chec them at the 100 days harvest time?

Thanks for any help!

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Hi acaniglia,
I would check, flowers don't appear on all plants and it is the nature of the plant to die back when finishing its journey
Move some of your soil around and eat a few of the first ones you find as "early potatoes", let us know what you find ! !

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 7:47PM
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Thanks for the thoughts. I am just concerned because its kind of early for them to be dying back. My understanding is that these fingerlings are mature at 90-100 days. They have only been in since late march.
I tried to dig around for some new potatoes but couldnt find any close to the top, they are hilled pretty high so I gave up.
If they are indeed dying back, how long should I wait until I harvest.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:47PM
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Potatoes are a weird plant... Sometimes the time to harvest is when you can barely remember where they were growing ;-)

But Personally, I haven't had a lot of success with fingerlings, mine had great leaves and I thought they would be an awesome harvest... but it totally sucked, I'll never do fingerlings again... to much space for too little harvest,the same space would give me an extra ten pounds of standard spuds.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:24PM
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I would let them grow longer. Just keep watering them and let them grow. When the vines die back with very little green and yellow leaves it is time to dig them. You can even let the vine dry up all brown if you want. This gives the skin time to toughen up some.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 11:05PM
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I have a similar problem. I am growing potatoes in a 30 gal trash can with drainage holes. In the beginning I had 6 plants started. 2 took off very rapidly and I piled soil around those plants without burying the other plants. It got to a point that I had to burry some of the slower plants. I planted in early March. The two that took off are now dying back and the others are now about 6 inches above the soil. Should I let the slow ones catch up or harvest what I can?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:41AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Are they growing in the ground? Can't help but think that all the rain has had something to do with it. Once potato plants start to go south it's hard to stop them. If they were in containers you might have more options, but it's hard to dry out the ground faster than it wants to.

Chuck, sounds like your older plants have been in the ground for about 4 months. I would just let them die back and leave them alone until the others are ready, and then harvest them all together. Then again, you might be able to revive the older ones a little with some fertilizer. But if you can't revive them you also might be able to reach down and pick a few potatoes from them. Not sure what kind of soil is in your container which might make it easy or hard to dig some up.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:56PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

I grow potatoes both in containers and also hilled in the garden. My experience would be that when they start dying back in containers, there is nothing you can do and their growing is done and you might as well harvest them. They will be small(ish) but very delicious. It is my understanding that potatoes do not like heat at their tubers and roots and this might be the reason they are dying back.

Enjoy your harvest

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:30PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

maybe next season try just sticking them on top of the soil with good application of gypsum, that's all we do never had much success growing them in containers.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens instant potato patch

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Thank You all for your advice. I have a couple of options this year. Next year I try and set up an area to grow outside the container.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 7:59PM
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