Here’s How Many Potatoes You Can Grow from One Seed Potato

Holly Riddle

By Holly Riddle

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If you’re interested in growing more of your own food at home this season, there’s no better place to start than with potatoes. Potatoes are extremely easy to grow, and grow well in many different climates. However, if you want to grow potatoes at home, you need to start thinking about it now, as seed potatoes begin shipping around the end of March in the United States.

A clump of potatoes growing from a potato plant in a garden bed.
Dmitri Malyshev/Shutterstock

Here’s what you need to know about using seed potatoes to grow your own potato crop this year.

What are seed potatoes?

You don’t really grow potatoes from a seed, per se. A seed potato is basically a very small potato or part of a potato that’s been set aside to use specifically for growing new potatoes.

You know how if you let a potato sit in a dark, cool spot after you bring it home from the grocery store, and if you forget about it for a few weeks, eventually the potato will start sprouting? That’s how new potatoes grow. A mature potato begins growing a new potato plant.

When planting a seed potato, you’ll essentially just plant the mature potato in your garden soil, and those sprouts will eventually turn into a plant.

A gardener sewing seed potatoes into a rows of a garden bed.
alicja neumiler/Shutterstock

Rule of thumb yield per potato seed

Seed potatoes are surprisingly productive. You’ll find that you can plant one seed potato and get about five to 10 new potatoes from the seed potato. With perfect growing conditions, this number can be higher, and various factors will impact your yield, such as potato variety and seed potato quality.

You can also separate your seed potatoes, to get multiple plants from one potato (you can feasibly get a new plant from each potato “eye” or sprout). Each seed potato can be split four or five times, and then each plant will produce three to four pounds of potatoes.

Why use seed potatoes?

So if a seed potato is just a regular potato, more or less, why buy seed potatoes specifically? Couldn’t you just go to the grocery store, buy a bag of the potatoes you want to grow, wait for them to sprout, and then grow potatoes? Well, technically, yes, but you probably don’t want to.

Seed potatoes have been chosen because they’re most likely to give you that high yield that you want. If you just use any ol’ potato to grow your new potato harvest, you could run into disease and quality issues that lower your overall harvest or obliterate it completely. Additionally, grocery store potatoes are often treated with sprout inhibitors, to stop them from sprouting in your kitchen — when, if you’re trying to grow new potatoes, the more sprouting, the better.

Additionally, if you order seed potatoes online, you’ll be able to better choose the potatoes that will grow best in your climate and soil variety.

Where to buy seed potatoes

You can order seed potatoes online and, as mentioned, they begin shipping out around the end of March. Johnny’s Seeds, for example, offers Yukon gold seed potatoes in quantities of five, 25, or 50 pounds. Baker Creek offers non-GMO seed potatoes in 10-pound quantities.

You’ll want to plant your seed potatoes about two to four weeks before your projected last frost.

Soon, you’ll be well on your way to making dishes like potato salad or mashed potatoes, all with potatoes you grew right at home.