Container Growing

How To Grow Potatoes In A Bag

Growing potatoes in bags

Using growbags couldn’t be easier, here is how to grow potatoes in a bag. The great thing about potatoes is that they can be grown almost anywhere, even if space is
limited like in an urban setting. Reusable potato growbags are available and are ideal for
growing your own potatoes on a patio, balcony, greenhouse, polytunnel, or by the back

What You Need:

  • Your choice of seed potatoes, (if it is your first time growing potatoes, choose an early
    variety of seed potato, like Homeguard, Duke of York or Orla as they will be ready to harvest sooner than maincrop varieties and thus avoid the worst of the blight season.).
  • One or more potato planters or growbags, also called potato tubs.
  • A good multi-purpose compost, (or 60/40 mix of compost/topsoil).
  • A potato fertilizer is optional but is recommended for a maximum yield.

View Our Range of Seed Potatoes

Place potato grow bags in full sunWhere to place potato grow bags
First off, choose a light, warm sunny spot to place your grow bag or planter in, if possible choose an area with at least 6 hrs of direct sun per day.

Most potatoes should be planted between mid March to late April, however they can be planted as early as February in a greenhouse, polytunnel or conservatory and either grown in situ or moved outside after all danger of frost has passed.

Chitting potatoes in egg boxChitting Potatoes
Chit the potatoes to produce sturdy shoots, encouraging quicker establishment and better growth. Chitting means leaving the potatoes in an open egg box or similar for approx 4 weeks to allow them to sprout.

Place the potatoes with with the most ‘eyes’ facing upwards and leave them in a light, cool and frost free place. The eyes of a potato are the tiny buds in the skin where the new shoots come from.

Planting Potatoes
Fill the planter to approximately 20cm with your multi-purpose compost or top soil/compost mix. Evenly spread 3 or 4 seed potatoes on top of the compost and cover with another 10cm of compost.

Seed potatoes grown in bagsAs the plants grow gently cover the shoots with more compost until the level is just below the top of the bag or planter. Remember to keep the compost moist but
not saturated, occasional heavy watering is better than regular light watering as the water needs to get down to the lower roots.

A potato feed with a high potash content will help increase the potato yield substantially, our orgainc potato fertilizer is perfect and gives you all the information you need on the pack. Don’t use feeds high in nitrogen as these will give excess leafy growth at the expense of the potato crop.

Potato blight can rear it’s ugly head from July on. Many traditional methods of controlling blight like Bordeaux mixture are no longer available on the market so either growing early varieties is recommended as above but there are also a range of blight resistant seed potatoes available like Sarpo Mira, Setanta or Orla.

Harvesting potatoes grown in bagHarvesting Potatoes
Early varieties of potato should be harvested as they are needed because they don’t store very well. Maincrop varieties can remain in the bags until needed, store the bags indoors to avoid freezing on cold

Otherwise potatoes can be stored in hessian bags or in sand in a cool, frost free environment. They should be checked occasionally for signs of rot, and the affected tubers removed so as not to infect the other potatoes.

First Earlies are best harvested in small quantities and eaten straightaway when fresh in June and July.

Second Earlies and Salad varieties can also be harvested in small quantities and eaten when fresh in June and July. Alternatively, if the skins are allowed to ‘set’ – i.e. they don’t rub off when lifted – cut the foliage down to stop continued growth, lift in September and store as per Maincrop varieties.

Maincrop varieties can be lifted from September onwards and stored as long as the tubers are lifted in dry conditions or are properly stored. Store in a hessian sack in a cool, dark, frost-free area.

The 7 Secrets to Growing Success with Potato Growing Bags

Follow these 7 points to grow the best Grow Bag produced potatoes.
Chitting Potatoes – Chit tubers (to produce sturdy shoots) in a cool light place before planting to encourage quicker establishment and growth.
When to plant potatoes in growing bags– Start your grow sacks in greenhouse or conservatory from as early as February and move outside when all risk of frost is past.
Where to grow potatoes – All potatoes do best grown in a light, warm sunny spot.
Soil and Compost – use a good proprietary compost or an equal mix of compost and soil and place a layer 4-6 inches in the bottom. Place potatoes on compost and cover with a further 4-6 inches of compost.
Earthing Up Potatoes – Potatoes grow from the stem beneath the surface. So keep covering the foliage with more compost as it grows until the sacks are full to within 4 inches of the top.
Feeding and Irrigation – This really is the big the secret. Mix potato fertiliser or a good general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore with the compost during planting and earthing up. Keep compost consistently moist (but not over wet) and you will reap dividends for your crop.
Potato Pest Control – Finally, Potato Blight can be a major problem from July with later yielding crops. Help fight this fungal disease with ‘Vitax Bourdeau Mixture’, a traditional, protective fungicide, available in ‘pest control’ section.



    1. Andrew

      Hi Stephen. Thank you for getting in touch, I am delighted you are finding our posts useful. Good luck with the potatoes!

  2. Helena

    I have just harvested my early potatoes and can’t wait for dinner time. What should I do with the soil in the growbag? Is it safe to use a second year for potatoes or should I discard into the compost heap or flowerbed?

    1. Andrew

      Hi Helena
      I would be inclined to add the compost to the flowerbed as using soil that has been grown in intensively like that would not be great to use again. Have a good root through to make sure there are no tiny potatoes in the mix or you’ll have potatoes in your flower beds next year! I hope this helps. Andrew

    1. Andrew

      Hi Noreen. Potatoes usually flower before they are ready to harvest, at that point make sure they have plenty of water. Not all varieties flower so you can also have a rummage around when your potatoes are due of picking which is 90 days for earlies and 135 days for maincrop varieties to see what you’ve got. Andrew

  3. Mary

    I’m growing Duke of York , my first time growing potatoes, in recycled plastic compost bags. The bags are 70cm long. Do I keep earthing them up until the bag is full to 10cm from the top or do I stop earthing up earlier.

    1. Andrew

      Hi Mary, apologies for the delay in replying. I’d leave a gap at the top – it doesn’t need to be the full 10cm but a good gap for later in the season towards the end when you need to water them. You’ll be able to pour the water in and leave it to soak down. Without the gap, watering can be quite tricky! Do let us know how you get on.

  4. Nichola O' Connor

    I bought chit potatoes from you but never got around to planting them. Is it too late to plant in a container now?

    1. Andrew

      Hi Mary, blight is a disease caused by a fungus-like organism. It thrives in warm & moist conditions. The first signs are black/brown spots on the leaves & stem. Eventually the spores wash into the soil and affect the tubers. It can also affect tomatoes but not many others.

  5. Nicola

    I planted Sharpe’s Express in potato bags on the 13th of March. They’re now almost 4 feet high. There’s no flowers and I can’t find out anywhere whether they are supposed to flower. Today the plants in one bag flopped over, though the ones in the other bag are ok. Does it mean they are ready to harvest?

  6. Rose Comber

    Hi I recently done up an old metal bin and I am thinking of growing potatoes in it, is it too late to do so this year

    1. Andrew

      Hi Rose
      You could grow potatoes in your bin this year but you would need to move the bin in to a polytunnel, greenhouse or sunny porch in October or before the first frost date.

      I hope this helps


  7. Nathan

    Hi there, I just received some bags for potatoes as a gift. If I buy some potato seeds now (mid July) when can I plant them and what seeds can I buy? New to this but eager to learn. Thanks

    1. Andrew

      Hi Nathan, I hope I’m not going to burst your bubble! You would need to be planting first earlies now – I realise that doesn’t sound right but it is because of the length of time it takes for them to mature. As we are late in the season you would need to go with first earlies as second earlies or maincrop would take too long. It may not be easy find them at this stage but if you do get your hands on them and plant them be sure to take the bags inside at the first sign of frost. It may be easier to wait until next season when you will have more chois=ce and a better chance off success. Seed potatoes normally go on sale in January until April. Hope this helps!

  8. Rosaleen

    christmas potatoes. should i leave the compost bags in the polytunnel from the start or wait until later in the year? have grown first earlies but never Christmas potatoes

    1. Andrew

      Hi Rosaleen, great question. If you have the space I’d recommend starting and leaving them in the polytunnel. They’ll do better there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *