Sugar Cane: You CAN Grow It Outside the Tropics (And Make Amazing Syrup!)


planting sugar caneDid you know that you can grow sugar cane well outside the tropics? Or that it will produce a harvest on dry ground?

I didn't until a few years back. Since then, I've learned a lot about sugar cane - and come to love the rich flavor of organic homemade cane syrup.

I've always wanted to make my own maple syrup... but it's really hard to do when you don't have maple trees lying around.

If you're in the south, you know what I mean. There are maples here and there, but there's nothing like the great stands of magnificent sugar maples that are found further north.

Here, if you want syrup, you basically need to grow sorghum or sugar cane. I prefer the latter, since the yields are high and the plant is perennial.

How To Plant and Grow Sugar Cane

This is easy as pie. In the fall when roadside stands and farmer's markets are selling sugar cane, grab a few good-looking stems and bring them home. Each joint on the canes is capable of rooting and growing new shoots. I cut canes up into sections that contain 3 or 4 joints, just to give my plants a little redundancy in case of sprout failure or hungry vermin.

7/18/2018 4:21:51 AM

My father was a Louisiana native and when he moved to California's San Joaquin Valley he planted sugar cane. He grew some of the biggest, sweetest stalks I've ever seen in my life and when you'd peel it and cut it up for chewing it was so sweet and juicy you'd think you'd died and gone to heaven. After he passed the property was sold and the new tenants ripped every last stalk of cane out and planted other things. I've always kicked myself for not transplanting some of that cane.

11/26/2013 9:38:43 PM

@thermop57 I feel your pain. I once tried to grow cassava in Tennessee. No dice. And don't get me started on my mango-growing attempts here... If I were in your shoes, I'd try a short-season sorghum, or perhaps just look for maples or birches to tap. -David

11/22/2013 1:50:10 PM

David Goodman, I love this idea, but since I live in Central Wyoming right now, and plan to migrate to SE Alaska, I'm more than a bit wary of trying to secure and then grow sugar cane.....I LIKE the idea, especially because of the large volume of compostables from the remnants of cane processing (methane septic tank production fodder), but man, living in a much colder climate that you Southerners in the SE of the USA, might well seem to be an insurmountable hurdle.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters