Watering Your Potato Plant: Frequency and Amounts


Potatoes are a root crop which means that the part of the plant intended for eating grows underground. Because of this, if you are growing your own potatoes, it can sometimes be hard to determine if you’re watering it properly.  

To water a potato plant, you must add enough water so that the soil is moist throughout. Too little or too much water can affect the plant’s growth. Once you water your plant, do not re-water until the soil is completely dry. You can inspect this by using your finger to feel the soil’s moisture.

This article will discuss how to water potato plants properly as well as explain the warning signs for sick plants and detail exactly how much water your plant will need and when to stop watering it.

Potato plants growing in rows
Photo by Marisha548

How Often Do Potato Plants Need to Be Watered?

Watering your potato plant correctly is vital to growing a healthy plant. Watering it too often or too little could result in negative health impacts. During the first few weeks, you should plan to water your potato plants every four to five days.

However, what’s most important is making sure that the soil is moist but not soaking wet. Because these plants can be grown using a variety of methods, how often they need to be watered can vary due to heightened evaporation or drainage.

Should Potato Plants Be Watered Every Day?

You should avoid watering your potato plant daily. Potato plants do not need a lot of water to survive, so watering them every day can be excessive and cause damage to the plant. Instead, you should check the soil for moisture to determine when to water your plant.

It is best to water your potato plants in the morning so that the water is thoroughly absorbed and does not evaporate. The best methods for watering a potato plant can vary depending on how it’s planted.

Do You Water Potatoes After You Plant Them?

Watering your potato seed right after planting is not critical to its health. Plant the seed in moist soil, and unless the soil becomes completely dried out, then you don’t need to water it for at least two weeks or until the plant emerges.

Do Potatoes Need Lots of Water?

Unlike some other plants, potato plants do not require a ton of water to thrive. Instead, they do best in light, well-drained soil and full sunlight. These conditions will allow both the potato’s tubers and leafy tops to respirate effectively and bring about the best yield.

How Much Water to Give Potato Plants

After they are initially planted, the general rule of thumb is to give the potato plant 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cms) of water weekly. However, you should also factor rainwater into this measurement. The best method is to check the soil every two to three days for moisture. When it’s dry, that’s when you will know to rewater the plant. This will ensure that you don’t oversaturate it with too much water. 

Can You Overwater Potato Plants?

Overwatering is definitely possible when caring for a potato plant. The same is true for any other plant. Plants breathe through their roots, so if you add too much water, you can effectively drown them, starving the plants of oxygen and causing them to rot in the ground.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common causes of early plant death. Overwatering occurs when you give your plant too much water or not providing an effective drainage system. You can avoid this by consistently monitoring the soil and providing adequate drainage.

Potatoes attached to the plant base sitting on top of soil
Photo by Chernetskaya

How Often Do You Water Potatoes When Growing Them in a Bucket?

Buckets are a great way to grow potatoes, especially if you are short on space. They also make it just that much easier to keep pests away. However, be aware that the soil in the bucket will dry out more quickly than the soil in your garden. So, expect to be watering the soil more often, at least every two to three days, being mindful of the soil’s moisture level each time.

Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)
Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)

The key to watering potatoes in a bucket is making sure that the container has a good drainage system. Without a proper drainage system, the risk of overwatering becomes much more probable. You can add holes manually to the bottom of the bucket for proper irrigation.

When watering potatoes grown in buckets, add water until you see it begin to drip out of the holes. But if you’re adding water and it begins to overflow, you should stop and wait for the plant to soak up the water first and then continue until you see the water come out of the bottom. We recommend VIVOSUN Plant Grow Bags because they have excellent drainage that reduces water retention and makes caring for your plant a breeze.

Check out this brief three-minute YouTube video on how to properly water potatoes grown in buckets by Simplify Gardening:

How Often to Water Potatoes When Grown in Raised Beds

To save you some time and energy, consider watering the plants grown in raised beds every two to three days or when the soil is dry at least 1 inch (2.5 cms) below the surface.

There are several reasons why growing potatoes in raised beds is appealing. For instance, you don’t have to worry about the soil being washed away during heavy rainfall. It also makes it easier to ensure that you don’t overwater your plant, not to mention it’s easier on your back. When using this method, be mindful of the bed’s position with regards to the sun to combat accelerated evaporation.

When to Stop Watering Your Potato Plants?

There comes a time when watering your potato plant is no longer beneficial to its health. Once you notice the leaves turning yellow and beginning to die off, you should stop watering your potato plants. It might seem counterintuitive, since it looks like your plant is drying, but by holding back water, you actually allow your potatoes to mature before harvesting. If you keep watering your potato plants at this point, you might end up with potatoes that rot in the soil before you can harvest them.

You will know to stop watering once the tops of the vines have died back. By not doing so, you run the risk of the plant rotting or sprouting. Since these sprouts can be toxic to humans in large enough amounts, this may effectively ruin your crop yield.

Warning Signs of Improper Watering

You need to be mindful of the plant’s appearance to gauge whether or not your watering methods are sufficient. Potato plants will show warning signs when there is a problem. If your potato plant begins to wilt, this is usually due to too much or too little water. If the soil is waterlogged, attempt to puncture it to add drainage and avoid rewatering the plant until it’s dry.

However, if you check the soil and it’s dry, you may need to increase your plant’s water intake. Another issue may be that the area is receiving too much sunlight. If this is the case, move your container plants to a shadier area, and for plants grown in the ground, you can mound soil around the base of the plant.

Closing Thoughts

Properly grown potatoes are a great source of starch and can be a fun project for the whole family. To water your plant properly, be sure to give it between 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cms) of water weekly, regularly monitor the soil’s moisture levels, and be mindful of potential warning signs of over- or underwatering. You can stop watering your plant two weeks before harvest.

Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.

Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.

Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.

Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.

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Supriya

Hi! I'm Supriya. I'm a home cook, bulldog mom, spicy food lover, and founder of The Spicy Trio. I have been a home cook for about 15 years and have been growing plants for the past six years.

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