Can Potato Plants Get Too Tall? Why They May Fall Over

Can potato plants get too tall

Growing potatoes can be intimidating for novice gardeners because it can be hard to see how the tubers are faring under ground. We rely on their green leaves as indicators of any issues with our plants. Can potato plants get too tall but what should you do if your potato plants start growing abnormally tall?

Don’t panic. Potato plants don’t really reach too tall an age – you only need to worry if your plants start falling over, though this doesn’t necessarily signify trouble for their tubers.

Continue reading to gain more insight into potato plant growth, what it could mean if your plants begin to lean over, as well as some methods to staking your plants to keep them upright.

Can potato plants get too tall? – Complete Guide

Potato plants have long been a favorite among compact and container gardeners for their smaller plant sizes and low growth requirements, as they make excellent choices for use in buckets or other containers. When growing in containers they tend not to become too tall.

Average potato plants reach an approximate height of 24 inches or two feet, though this varies between varieties. At times, potato plants may grow taller than expected. While this might be surprising, this usually has no negative implications as there could be an easy explanation behind its sudden surge in height.

5 reasons potato plants fall over

Consider whether or not you just purchased a taller-growing variety. Contact your seed provider and determine how tall the plants should grow.

Tall potato plants may also indicate tubers that are ready for harvesting, so don’t be intimidated to do a little digging to check on how big your underground potatoes may be – you might discover they are much bigger than anticipated and are ready for removal!

Seemingly all-of-a-sudden, potato plants may collapse. Don’t give up hope just yet though; here are the most commonly occurring reasons that could explain this occurrence.

1. Potatoes Have Matured

As potato plants reach maturity, their foliage begins to die back and eventually falls over. As previously discussed, digging will help you determine whether your potatoes are ready for harvesting or not.

Timing will depend on which variety you are growing; typically they should be ready for harvest 90-110 days post planting, or 3 to 4 months.

If you’re uncertain when your potatoes will reach maturity, check with your seed provider or refer to this chart detailing common varieties and their days to maturity for assistance. Here is an additional resource available that provides further details: Days to Maturity for Potato Varieties

Variety / Days to Maturity at Maturity for Each Variety;

2. Potatoes Can Get Leggy

It is important that you monitor your plants carefully to make sure that they do not become leggy, which occurs when there is not enough sunlight reaching their leaves. As they strive for more light exposure, plants will often grow taller and bend towards it in an effort to maximize photosynthesis.

Stretched stems become weak and susceptible to breaking, leading them to collapse easily and even break, damaging your potatoes in the process. sanatos Potatoes require at least 8 hours of sunlight daily in order to thrive; any less and you risk leggy plants.

If you are growing potatoes in containers on your porch, make sure they don’t become shaded out by either the roof of the porch or your house. Potatoes don’t prefer being indoor plants so if their leaves begin becoming leggy inside then that may be their way of telling you they want to be outside!

3. Too much foliage growth due to excess nitrogen

Excess Nitrogen Overfertilizing potatoes with nitrogen may lead to excessive foliage growth that results in taller potato plants but smaller tubers than usual. This may lead to excessively tall potato plants with shorter tubers.

Dig up some tubers to assess their size underground and adjust fertilization accordingly. Can potato plants get too tall? If potatoes appear relatively small, I might forgo fertilizing altogether to give the plant time to produce tubers.

too much foliage growth due to excess nitrogen

4. Over or underwatering

Underwatering Improper watering practices can also contribute to your potato plants being uprooted, with too little moisture causing their leaves to wilt and die unless replenished with more moisture.

Too much water may cause the roots of plants to become waterlogged and no longer provide them with enough oxygen, leading to yellowed leaves or even whole plants to collapse under its weight. Without sufficient oxygen levels in their environment, yellowed leaves and plant collapse may occur as a result.

To ensure adequate watering for your potato plants, try watering once or twice each week – or more frequently if your region experiences heavy rainfall. Mother nature may even do most of the work for you!

Whoever lives in dry conditions must pay extra attention, perhaps even installing some sort of irrigation system such as a rain barrel or drip line to help manage their conditions.

If you ever feel uncertain of the moisture levels in your soil, don’t be intimidated to reach down and feel it yourself. Achieve an even distribution of moisture across the entire plot is your goal for optimal plant growth.

5. Pest and Disease Pressure

Pests and diseases can also have an impact on your potato plants, leading them to succumb. Be vigilant for signs of insect damage in order to address it quickly before it damages your harvest. Scout regularly for any insect damage so that any issues can be quickly addressed before it jeopardises your crop.

Common potato pests include potato beetles, flea beetles and wireworms. You will know you have an issue if much of the foliage on your plants becomes riddled with holes – an effect which ultimately causes them to collapse.

Wireworms can be difficult to spot as they don’t typically feed on foliage but rather burrow into actual tubers such as potatoes. When digging up one, small holes will appear where wireworms have dug themselves in, leaving their mark.

Although these holes usually heal over, make sure to cut into your potato and check for any signs of worms lingering inside. We wouldn’t want any surprises when eating!

Potatoes can become susceptible to many forms of diseases, from blight and rots to potato blight, which will eventually cause their foliage to turn black and die off completely. For more information on potato rots, click here for this article. For information on potato blight, click here for this article on its symptoms.

Blight is a disease that thrives in soil, so once symptoms appear, it’s too late to treat your plants; all you can do is try and slow it down as much as possible. That is why growing resistant varieties like Kennebec or Belmonda potatoes is best practice.

Staking potatoes

Much like tomatoes, potatoes can also be staked or twined to provide support. Individual plants may either require tomato cages around them or to be staked for support.

Florida weave is an effective option for gardeners growing long rows of potatoes. This technique supports numerous plants at once by holding them between pieces of twine attached to T-posts at either end of their rows.


Can potato plants get too tall Hopefully, this article has provided some peace of mind regarding your tall potatoes. Just remember there’s nothing wrong with tall potato plants until they begin to collapse on themselves – which may simply indicate it’s time to harvest tubers from harvesting!