Why Do Potatoes Sprout and How Can You Prevent Sprouting?

| 12/27/2017 9:47:00 AM


Potato sorting early November 2016.

Under certain conditions, potatoes grow shoots (sprouts). You only want this to happen shortly before you plant seed potatoes. How can you stop potatoes sprouting at other times? Under what conditions are potatoes more likely to sprout? How can you help them sprout when you do want them to?

Potato sprouts are toxic, see my earlier post, Green Potato Myths and 10 Steps to Safe Potato Eating.

"White" or Peruvian potatoes (sometimes called Irish potatoes) are stem tubers in the nightshade family; sweet potatoes are root tubers in the Morning Glory family – completely different.  I do plan to write about sweet potatoes in another post. This article is about white potatoes, not sweet potatoes.

There are three key stages of potato storage, and they require different conditions, if you are to make a success of long term potato storage.

1/15/2018 10:46:39 AM

I have some potatoes that sprouted. I have no idea if their conditions follow the right ones. Their sprouts are between 2 and 3 inches tall now and I don't think it is even close to potato planting time here(PSW). Should I toss them? Or what could go wrong?

1/2/2018 11:21:22 PM

I bought a potatoes / onion country crib for the kitchen and stored my onions next to potatoes for years. Once I separated them my potatoes lasted twice as long. I now find that the bottom of my pantry works well as I live on a cement slab home and the floor is always cooler than anywhere else.

1/2/2018 5:24:34 AM

Was not aware that burnig propane produced Ethylene! You may have saved my good health. Thank you. Enjoyed the info on storing potatoes.

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