Fruits and Vegetables

How To Grow Purple Potatoes In Containers

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Purple potatoes, also known as Peruvian purple potatoes, have naturally purple or deep blue skin and flesh, and are unusually high in antioxidants which makes them super healthful. Their unique colors come from natural anthocyanin pigments; some Peruvian potatoes are naturally purple, while others are bred for deeper shades.

They are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and much more! Purple potatoes have been valued in South America for a long time. In their culture, it is known as the “food of gods” for centuries.

What are Purple Potatoes?

Purple potatoes, sometimes referred to as blue potatoes, are a type of potato which are native to South America. While very similar to their white grocery store counterparts, these potatoes exhibit a beautiful purple colored skin and flesh. Heirloom and hybrid purple potato varieties range from solid purple to a mixture of purple and white.

Though quite the interesting addition to the garden, perceived nutritional blue potato benefits are numerous. Regardless of the cultivar, purple and blue potato varieties contain the valuable antioxidant called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin, of course, being responsible for the plants’ vibrant purple color.

Purple Potato Varieties To Grow In Containers:

There are many varieties of purple potatoes. Let us take a look at them.

1: The purple Peruvian is purple throughout and produces well late in the season. Purple Fiesta is a mid-season speciality potato which retains its colour when cooked.

2: The Purple Viking has a glowing purple skin with pink-red splashes and snow-white flesh which gets sweeter during storage.

3: The Purple Majesty is perhaps the darkest purple variety.

Growing Purple Potatoes

Grown like other potatoes, purple strains, being original South American strains, usually thrive in harsh conditions and are often resistant to diseases. Potatoes need seven or eight hours of sunshine, well-drained moist soil, and good fertility. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer at planting and a little more when the plants are about half grown. Plant potatoes during cool weather when there is no danger of a freeze but when temperatures remain below the mid-80s which reduces tuber formation.
Find “seed” potatoes online, but order early while supplies last.  Before planting, cut seed potatoes into small pieces, each with one or two small “eyes” or leaf buds. Plant about three inches deep and a foot apart in rows, hills, raised beds, or containers.
Potato tubers sprout from short stolons on the lower stems of leafy plants, but must be kept in total darkness to avoid greening in the sun, or a poisonous plant alkaloid called solanine can build up. Prevent this by piling soil or thick mulch around young plants, repeating as needed until six or eight inches of lower stems are buried.

Water and Add More Soil:

Purple potatoes will start to grow quickly. Keep an eye on them as they grow. Roughly add more soil around the plants. I will give you a rough estimate, for example; if you observe 6 inches or more growth every two weeks than add a shovel full or so.

Keep the soil moist and don’t allow it to drain out. This is where the drainage comes in. Good drainage is very important as it keeps the moil optimum. If the soil gets too moist then it will destroy the potato.

Harvesting Potatoes

Small or “new” purple potatoes can be harvested about three months after planting, but for larger, mature tubers wait until plants turn yellow, or cut the mature plants down about four months after planting and then dig the tubers. Dig gently to avoid cuts and bruises; do not wash, just brush off soil.
Store mature tubers in a cool, dry, dark area for up to four or five months, checking regularly for shriveling and decay.