Tips for Growing Potatoes in Containers

Containers actually make the perfect place for planting potatoes.


Pomvit/Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 0 minute
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Growing potatoes in containers can be helpful if you're doing smaller space gardening—or you just want to keep animals from munching away at your potato yield. (Plus, you don't have to dig deep when you're ready to harvest—simply tip the grow bag or container over and pull out the potatoes.)

While standard planters work just fine for growing potatoes in containers, potato grow bags may work even better. Many have a flap you can open to access the potatoes without dumping out the whole bag of dirt.

Here's everything you need to know about growing potatoes in containers—so you can grow a bumper crop that's ready for all of your favorite potato recipes.

When to Plant Potatoes in Containers

You can plant potatoes a little earlier than some other vegetables—two to three weeks before the last predicted frost is the perfect time. You may be able to start a little earlier if you can bring your container to a sheltered spot if a frost is predicted.

How to Choose a Container for Growing Potatoes

You'll get a bigger crop of potatoes if you choose a container that's tall, rather than wide. That's because the potatoes, which are the plant's roots, develop underground. A taller container lets you "hill" the plant—adding more soil as the plant grows—so you get more potatoes as the newly buried stem produces roots.

While the specialty grow bags are great, you don't have to get fancy—even an old plastic storage container or a big shopping tote can be a great option. (Just make a few holes for drainage to avoid potato rot!)

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Trowel
  • Grow Bag or Other Tall Container


  • Seed Potatoes or Organic Potatoes
  • Fast Draining Potting Soil
  • Slow-Release Organic Fertilizer


  1. Prep your soil

    Mix slow-release organic fertilizer into well-draining potting soil, so your potato plant can flourish. (Follow the fertilizer's instructions for the proper amount.)

  2. Prep your seed potatoes

    It's best to use seed potatoes, rather than leftover potatoes from the grocery store. Grocery store potatoes may have been treated with fungicides and chemicals that limit sprouting—and sprouting is exactly what you want them to do!

    A few weeks before you're ready to plant, pop your seed in a warm, sunny spot to encourage sprouting. Then, just cut the potatoes into smaller, two-inch pieces that have sprouts.

    You'll need to leave these cut pieces out for a couple of days before planting, so they can callous over and reduce the chances of developing rot.

  3. Plant the seed potatoes

    Add 6 inches of your soil/fertilizer combo into the bottom of the container, then add your seed potatoes, with the sprouts facing up. Potato plants need some breathing room, so space the seeds several inches apart.

  4. Cover your potatoes

    Add about 4 inches of soil on top of your seed potatoes, and water well.

  5. Keep your potatoes thriving

    Potatoes need 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, plus regular additions of fertilizer to help them thrive.

    As the potato plants grow, add more soil to your container to bury a third of the plant underground, a process called "hilling." The newly buried portion of the plant will take root and start to produce potatoes.

    Continue hilling until the plant starts blooming, making sure that the potatoes stay fully under the soil and out of sunlight to keep them from turning green.

  6. Harvest your bumper crop of potatoes

    Your potatoes will be fully grown and ready to harvest when the plant leaves to die back, usually two to three months after planting.

    If you want new or baby potatoes, you'll want to harvest the plant about three weeks after the flowers are done.

    Harvesting from a container potato plant is super-easy—you just dump it out and grab the potatoes! But don't bring them in quite yet. Lay the potatoes out in the garden to "cure" for a few days, to help them last in storage. (You can do this in a cool, dry place indoors if rain is in the forecast at harvest time.)

Related Articles