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September 12, 2023

What Does a Potato Plant Look Like?

Recognizing a potato plant can be difficult, especially for new gardeners. The plant doesn’t stand out with a unique leaf shape or other showy characteristics like some famous ornamental plants. Instead, it relies on sturdy stems and compound leaves. The latter are oval-shaped with smooth edges and a glossy sheen. Their color is a light green, although some varieties have more of a yellow or blue-green hue. The leaves can grow up to 12 inches long and are spirally arranged on the stem. The leaves are covered with a waxy cuticle that protects them from sun damage and water loss.

One of the best things about the potato plant is its flowers. While they may not be the main reason we grow potatoes, they do provide a hint as to what’s in store for the harvest. The flowers of the potato plant resemble small cherry tomatoes and usually appear in clusters. They eventually fade and turn into round seed pods that contain up to 500 tiny seeds. These seeds are then used to produce the next generation of potato plants.

When a potato plant starts to flower, it means that the tubers are forming underneath the soil. However, the tubers will still need to harden and cure before they are ready to be harvested. To ensure that your potatoes are ready for harvest, wait until most of the foliage has died back and dig them up gently. You can also give the plant a tug to see if the potatoes come up easily, indicating that they’re fully matured.