Can You Grow Potatoes From Store Bought? (3 Things To Know)

Potatoes at the grocery store look nice and clean in their clean display case. This makes you want to buy them – but planting them is another matter.

So, can you grow potatoes from store bought potatoes? You can grow potatoes from store bought potatoes, but they are often treated with clorproham (a sprout inhibitor) to improve shelf life. This means store bought potatoes take more time to sprout – and your plants might not grow as big. Planting seed potatoes is a way to avoid this problem.

You can always try to wash off clorproham from store bought potatoes to make it easier to sprout them and grow new plants. However, this might not work – and even if it does, it brings another set of risks to your potato plants.

In this article, we’ll talk about growing potatoes from store bought potatoes and what to look out for.  We’ll also take a look at ways to sprout potatoes faster, no matter where they come from.

Let’s get started.

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes Cover

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes

A complete reference and an ultimate guide that teaches you everything you need to know about potato selection, planting, care, harvest, and storage.

Can You Grow Potatoes From Store Bought Potatoes?

You can grow potatoes from store bought potatoes – I have done it in the past, and it does work.

However, there are some reasons to avoid doing it:

You can grow potatoes from store bought potatoes, but there are some reasons to avoid it.

Let’s examine these reasons in a little more detail.

Sprout Inhibitors For Potatoes

When potatoes are not treated to prevent sprouting, they won’t last as long on stores shelves. This leads to more food waste for grocery stores – and higher prices for shoppers.

Pinterest How To Successfully Plant Potatoes That Have Sprouted
Potatoes that are not treated will sprout much faster than treated ones.

Clorproham is an herbicide and sprout inhibitor that is often used to treat potatoes. When potatoes take longer to sprout, they have a longer shelf life at the grocery store and in your home.

For these reasons, sprout inhibitors are not all bad. However, they do cause a problem if you want to grow new potato plants from old potatoes that have sprouted on your shelf.

Potato plants treated with clorproham will take longer to sprout – even in ideal conditions. This makes it harder to plan ahead for when to purchase store bought potatoes to plant.

long potato sprouts
Sprout inhibitors increase shelf life – you wouldn’t buy this potato at the grocery store!

Even after store bought potatoes begin to sprout, there is still clorproham on the potatoes. As an herbicide and sprout inhibitor, clorproham will continue to prevent sprouting and growth. This holds back development of the new potato plant. 

In my experience, seed potato plants grow larger and healthier than potato plants grown from store bought potatoes. Don’t get me wrong – potatoes grown from store bought ones can still do well, and ours certainly did.

Seed potatoes are a better bet, since they are made specifically to grow new plants. Also, they are not treated with sprout inhibitors that could stunt their growth.

Baby Potato Plant
Clorproham delays sprouting and stunts growth of potato plants.

You can always try to wash clorproham off of potatoes before you try sprouting them or planting them. However, you might not be able to get all of it off with a simple washing.

Besides, getting potatoes wet can also increase the chance of rotting or disease. Speaking of potato diseases, there are a couple that we should mention now.

Potato Diseases

If you buy organically grown potatoes, it is likely that they won’t have sprout inhibitors on them. However, any store bought potatoes can carry and spread disease – whether they are organic or not.

potatoes clean for storage
Store bought potatoes can carry disease – even if they are organic and look fine.

Blight is a common potato disease, and there are two different types: early blight and late blight.

Early Blight Of Potato

Early blight is a disease caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. It affects potatoes, but it can also affect tomatoes.

early blight on tomato leaf
Early blight can also affect tomato plants.

Early blight can damage the leaves, stems, and tubers of potato plants. The fungus that causes early blight can spread by:

  • Spores on the wind
  • Human contact
  • Water splashing infected soil onto lower leaves of plants

Early blight can spread to multiple potato plants (or all of your plants) from a single infected tuber that you planted.

potato plants
Early blight spreads easily between potato plants that are close together.

Early blight it the less deadly of the two types of blight. However, it is still a garden nuisance to avoid if possible.

If possible, choose potatoes that are resistant to blight when planting.

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes Cover

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes

A complete reference and an ultimate guide that teaches you everything you need to know about potato selection, planting, care, harvest, and storage.

Late Blight Of Potato

Late blight is caused by the water mold Phytophthora infestans.  It affects potatoes, but it can also affect tomatoes.

potato late blight
Late blight can affect the tubers, leaves, and stems of potato plants. It can also spread to destroy an entire crop of potatoes or tomatoes.

Late blight favors wet, cool climates and it can damage the leaves, stems, and tubers of potato plants.

The fungus that causes late blight can spread by:

  • Spores on the wind
  • Surviving the winter in infected potato tubers (even those left underground)

Late blight is much more deadly than early blight. It can destroy your entire potato or tomato crop.

In fact, late blight caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840’s. This disease should be avoided at all costs.

late blight potato plant leaf
Here we see late blight on a potato leaf. Choose resistant varieties if possible.

Choose late-blight resistant potatoes for planting, and buy certified seed potatoes to help prevent this disease.

You can find certified disease-free seed potatoes from reputable seed and plant companies such as:

(If you are also growing tomatoes, opt for blight-resistant tomato varieties, since both types of blight can spread between potatoes and tomatoes).

Fewer Potato Varieties

If you only replant store-bought potatoes, you can only grow the types of potatoes that you see in the grocery store. Often, the selection is limited to popular commercial varieties.

Yukon Gold potatoes
Planting only store-bought potatoes means you are limited to what is available in grocery stores.

To get a wider variety of potato plants, consider ordering from some of the reputable seed companies mentioned in the previous section.

Even better: when you choose the potato variety you want, you get the disease resistance, color, texture, and season (early, mid, or late) that you want, rather than whatever is at the grocery store.

For example:

Can Regular Potatoes Be Used As Seed Potatoes?

Regular potatoes (store bought potatoes) are not the same as seed potatoes. Regular store bought potatoes are grown for eating – they are not intended for planting, although it is possible to plant them.

potato plants in container
You can get healthy plants from store bought potatoes. This container potato plant in a grew well last year!

Seed potatoes are bred specifically for growing new potato plants. They are certified disease-free so that you don’t have to worry about spreading potato diseases (like blight) in your garden.

In addition, seed potatoes are not treated with clorproham. As a result, there is no sprout inhibitor to stunt the growth of a potato plant grown from a seed potato.

The table below summarizes the differences between store bought and certified seed potatoes in terms of their purpose, likelihood of disease, and treatment with herbicides or sprout inhibitors.

Type Of
PurposeGrown for
Bred for
sprouting to
produce new
potato plants.
DiseaseMay carry
diseases, such
as early blight
or late blight.
Certified disease
free when
purchased from
TreatmentOften treated
with herbicides
or sprout
inhibitors, such
as clorproham.
Never treated
with herbicides
or sprout

Why Do Potatoes Sprout?

Potatoes sprout in order to start the next phase of their life cycle: producing a new plant. However, they won’t just sprout at any time.

Sprouting occurs after a dormancy period, which can vary depending on the type of potato. This happens so that the potato does not begin sprouting at the wrong time (for example, in the middle of winter).

frosted leaf
A period of dormancy before sprouting protects potato plants from trying to grow during winter.

In fact, you can prevent potatoes from sprouting by keeping them at cool temperatures. This will trick them into thinking it is still winter and preventing their natural instinct to sprout and reproduce.

A temperature range of 38 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 10 degrees Celsius) is ideal for storing potatoes. Keep them at a relative humidity of 90% to 95% to prevent them from drying out and shriveling up.

When you want them to sprout, bring your potatoes to room temperature, or about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). They will sprout without soil, but you can also put them on the surface of soil or plant them in a trench or holes about 4 inches deep.

sprouted potato
When ready, take your potatoes out of cold storage and leave them at room temperature to make them sprout.

You can learn more about why potatoes sprout (and how to prevent it or speed it up) in my article here.

If you are ready to grow, check out my article on how to plant sprouted potatoes.

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes Cover

The Complete Guide To Growing Potatoes

A complete reference and an ultimate guide that teaches you everything you need to know about potato selection, planting, care, harvest, and storage.


Now you know how to grow potatoes from store bought potatoes.  You also know what to look out for and how to make your potatoes sprout faster – no matter where you got them.

You can learn more about the best type of soil for growing potatoes here.

You can learn about early potatoes (and some selected varieties) here.

You can get an idea of how many potatoes to expect per plant here.

If you don’t have much space for growing potatoes, check out my article on how to grow potatoes in a bucket.

You can learn when it is too late for planting potatoes in my article here.

You can eat sprouted potatoes in some cases, if you take the proper precautions – you can learn more in my article here.

Thanks for reading – I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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