Are Seed Potatoes Different From Regular Potatoes? Find Out!

are seed potatoes different from regular potatoes

Understanding the distinctions between seed potatoes and regular potatoes may seem confusing at first, but understanding their distinctions is essential if you want a successful harvest this season.

Seed potatoes differ from regular potatoes primarily by being treated with sprout inhibitors to extend their shelf life and ensure longer shelf life, while seed potatoes do not require this treatment and come certified disease-free for greater disease prevention.

I will discuss these differences further as well as define a true potato seed, including how you can create your own at home!

How are seed potatoes different from regular potatoes?


Seed potatoes differ considerably from grocery store varieties for multiple reasons, despite appearing similar.

Grocery store potatoes are frequently treated with chemicals designed to inhibit sprouting and preserve their shelf life, giving the appearance of long shelf life for these popular fruits and veggies. Credit the sprout inhibitor with making this possible!

Seed potatoes should never be treated with chemicals as you want the tubers to sprout when planted.

Seed potatoes are certified disease-free. When planting regular potatoes in your garden, the risk is that diseases could enter and infiltrate, damaging not only your potato crop but also other nightshade plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Seed potatoes provide an easy and risk-free solution.

Although seed potatoes may be better for production purposes than regular potatoes, their cost tends to be slightly higher. Personally speaking, however, I feel it’s worth paying the premium as you will get what you pay for!

How Can You Tell If Your Potatoes Are Certified Disease-Free?

 All seed potatoes you purchase from an established seed provider in the U.S. must undergo several tests and inspections in order to prove that they are truly disease free; any potatoes testing positive are no longer allowed for sale.

Therefore, it is crucial that seeds come from reputable sources in order to ensure certification of quality. My favorites include Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Fedco Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds as examples of trustworthy sellers of seeds. 

Can you plant shriveled potato seed potatoes?

Yes! Shriveled seed potatoes can still be planted as long as there are no signs of mold or rot present.

Some seed potatoes you receive from seed companies will already appear shriveled; this shouldn’t cause too much alarm; simply pay close attention when planting to ensure any questionable potatoes are removed immediately from your soil bed.

Here is an excellent article all about planting shriveled potatoes – you can check it out here.


Can you plant shriveled potato seed potatoes

Are true potato seeds and seed potatoes interchangeable?

 Its No! Although they appear similar at first glance, these two products differ drastically in appearance – seed potatoes don’t resemble anything close to a seed while regular potatoes still look exactly the same!

True potato seeds come from the fruit of a potato plant. As you cultivate potatoes, you may notice them producing flowers which then develop into small tomato-shaped fruits that are not meant to be consumed and may even be toxic if consumed.

Why Not Actual Seeds? 

Unfortunately, using actual potato seeds isn’t very practical. Harvesting can be tricky and some plants won’t even set fruit that can be harvested – two factors which make these seed a less than ideal way to cultivate potato plants.

Potato plants started from these rare seed potatoes can take considerably longer to develop into mature potato plants than common seed potatoes do, making germination much harder outside during wintertime. If you have an indoor space available to you for seed starting purposes, success should come sooner rather than later!

Remember everything I said earlier about seed potatoes being certified disease free? Unfortunately, true potato seeds don’t have this certification and there’s no way of telling if new diseases are being introduced into your garden by purchasing true potato seeds.

How Can You Produce Seed Potatoes at Home?

 Wanting to experiment and create your own seed potatoes at home is possible – however keep in mind that your final result won’t be certified disease free and may have lower germination rates compared to seed purchased from an independent seed provider.

To make seed potatoes at home, first let the tubers sprout slightly.

Garden potatoes will sprout on their own given enough time, but for faster results you can place them near a window with indirect lighting for added help.

Once the tubers have sprouts coming from their eyes, cut your potatoes into pieces leaving one sprout or eye in each cut piece – without this sprout or eye, there’s a good chance the piece won’t grow at all!

Place the freshly cut tuber pieces somewhere to dry, eventually they’ll harden and scab over to reveal new seed potatoes! If not ready to plant immediately, store in an airtight bag to prevent mold growth.

In summary

By now, I hope I have successfully clarified any confusion on the differences between seed potatoes, regular potatoes, and true potato seeds. While it might seem confusing at times, the distinctions are seed potatoes different from regular potatoes; so let’s recap: 

Seed potatoes:

Conventionally grown potatoes look identical to regular tubers and come from a reputable seed company, having undergone multiple rounds of disease testing and been certified free. Although more expensive, conventionally produced potatoes should still be considered viable options in your potato production operation. 

Regular potatoes:

These potatoes can be found at any supermarket and are meant for consumption, mainly as snacks. They may be treated with sprout inhibitors to limit sprout growth and extend shelf life.

True potato seeds:

 Are seed potatoes different from regular potatoes? These are the tiny seeds found inside the fruit of a potato and should remain disease free when planted into your garden. Purchasing non-certified seeds could introduce diseases that damage other crops as well.

Not all potatoes produce fruit, making them less than ideal sources for growing new potatoes. When growing new ones from seed potatoes or from true potato seeds (which takes significantly longer), impracticality or even impossibility become issues.