Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Mattias
Potatoes are essential in any home garden. There’s no better feeling than picking fresh potatoes from your land before using them for any dish; plus, they beat grocery store potatoes every day of the week!
But knowing how often to water potato plants and ensuring they get enough water is essential. If not, you risk getting a bad yield or bad potatoes.
Consider this your ultimate guide when it comes to watering potatoes.
So let’s get started.
How Often To Water Potato Plants
Potato plants need between 1-2 inches of water weakly during the growing season for best results. Try to water them every 5-7 days. Avoid watering potato plants daily for the first weeks since they grow best in evenly moist soil.
Which means that they don’t like dry soil or wet soil. It’s about finding the perfect balance, and once you know how to water potatoes and how much water they need, you can start picking your homegrown potatoes in no time.
But some factors can affect how often you should water your potato plants.
Let’s go through each of these factors.
The weather is an important factor when it comes to watering a potato plant. Especially sunlight, they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight; if not, evaporation won’t occur. Hence less water is needed.
On the other hand, more watering is needed in warmer climates or places with full sun (6 hours or more of sunlight each day).
However, if you live in a place with a lot of rainfall, you should be careful with watering. Since too much water can overwater them and cause harm.
After a rainfall, you may need to wait up to 14 days, sometimes more.
Tip: By placing a rain gauge near your potato plants, you can easily see how much water your potatoes have received.
Where It Is Planted
Potato plants are mostly planted and grown outdoors but can also be grown indoors. If you live in an apartment, container-grown potatoes are highly recommended.
When grown indoors, potato plants usually require less water than when planted outdoors in the field. This is because outdoor potato plants get more direct sunlight, while indoor potato plants get fewer hours.
Fun Facts: Container growing is getting increasingly popular, which we love. It’s a great way to get homegrown potatoes if you don’t have any space for growing them outside.
This means that when potatoes are planted outside, the moisture in their soil will dry out much faster than when planted in containers/pots, which don’t have access to as much sunlight, and therefore more frequent watering will be needed.
The Type Of Soil It’s Planted On
Text under pic: Potatoes can be planted when the soil temperature is at least 55F during the day and 45F at night.
Before planting, it can be a good idea to do a soil test to determine which soil type you got. Try to find a spot with well-drained soil. Also, avoid planting at a low spot since standing water can be an issue.
Choosing soil with good drainage is essential since it can affect how often you water your potato plants.
If the soil drains the water poorly, it may take longer for the water to reach the roots, which means that the soil will be wet for a longer time.
A loamy soil is ideal for potatoes, sandy soils, on the other hand, may need more frequent watering since they can dry out much faster.
If clay soil is used, the potatoes will need less water. But it’s important to know that potatoes won’t grow well in clay soil since it’s difficult for potato tubers to grow when the earth is compact.
So avoiding sandy and clay soil can be a good choice.
You can add organic material like compost to boost the nutrients in your soil, but avoid adding grass clippings and manure that may harm your plant due to high salt levels or weed seeds. They can also be exposed to herbicides you don’t want near your potatoes.
This will also slow evaporation and may prevent pests and weeds from growing.
How Much Water Does a Potato Plant Need?
Text under picture: Potatoes need consistent soil moisture to thrive and grow.
A potato plant requires different amounts of water depending on its growing stage. Setting up a watering schedule can be a good idea. That way, you can ensure that the potatoes get the right amount of water at the right time.
As you can see below, the water needs increase, and once they reach their “growing period,” water is essential. To harvest fine and healthy potatoes, the watering must be done correctly.
Potato Plants Water Requirements
|Days after planting||Water needs|
New potatoes, which are less than a month old, require about an inch of water weekly. This frequency continues for 30 days.
They will develop foliage approximately 30 days after the new potato plants have been planted. This is a good sign; you can start increasing the water to 1.5 inches/per week. This goes on for 30 days more. So after 60 days, you should expect your potatoes to start flowering.
At this stage, when the flowering starts, your potatoes need plenty of water to be able to produce large and fine potatoes. Start increasing the watering to 2 inches/week.
During this time, the potatoes need the most water to thrive.
When Should You Stop Watering?
3 weeks before harvest time, you should stop watering your potato plants. After you’ve stopped watering, the potato skin will start to dry, which is good for storage.
If you keep watering your potatoes, they will mature, and there’s a big chance they will rot underground.
Once the plants become yellow and die, it’s time for harvest. This will happen 90-120 days after planting. You can always dig one up to check how long they’ve developed. If it’s a big and mature one, it’s time to stop watering.
It’s much easier to harvest your potatoes if the soil is dry; if the soil is wet, there’s a chance that wet mud gets stuck to the potato’s skin, which may peel it off.
pic of rain: If you live in a place with a lot of rainfall, you can use a tarp weeks before it’s time for harvest. Just make sure that the tarp is both breathable and transparent.
Can You Overwater a Potato Plant?
Yes, you can overwater potatoes, which can have different effects depending on the potato plant’s growth stage.
Suppose you water too much after planting the potatoes and too little while the new tubers are forming. You may end up with misshapen potatoes.
Watering too much when the potato plants die can cause the potatoes to rot underground.
What Happens if Potatoes Don’t Get Enough Water?
If you don’t give your potatoes water, you will have smaller, fewer, and more irregular potatoes.
Giving your potatoes enough water is essential for their optimal growth.
How Often To Water Potato Plants Summary
We hope you enjoyed this article “How Often To Water Potato Plants?”.
As you discovered, there are many factors to consider when watering potatoes. If you want to be able to harvest fine potatoes, it’s essential to water them correctly.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.