Growing Potato Roots


OK so those that have followed me for a while know that I know how to cook and I can grow things in a garden right? Then why the heck is it I can’t get a potato to root in a glass of water? I thought, when I was a kid, we cut the potato in half first but when I read up on it you didn’t cut it at all.



It said to pick a potato with the eyes, so that’s what I did. Then you stick toothpicks into the bottom third of the potato to keep it on top off a glass. Turn the potato eye side down on top of a glass. Fill the glass with water, changing every 3rd day, and in a few days it will start to make roots. After two weeks my husband said “When are you going to throw that potato away?” I didn’t want to because this was my teaching project for the grandkids. I proudly had them watch as I stuck the potato with toothpicks and told them we were going to grow potatoes. Every week my grandson wanted to see the roots. I kept saying “Be patient” however I now admit to defeat.

Have you ever succeeded in rooting a potato and what did I do wrong? I think I will stick to cooking!

Categories: My Garden, Uncategorized


  1. Regrettably, I sometimes don’t check the veg stacks properly and often come across the odd potato that’s sprouted roots! Like you though, I seem to recall cutting the potato when purposefully trying to get it to root as a child!

    • What I read on line said to put it in a window with sunshine and that the roots would grow and then the stem pops out. Anyhow, I found out they are spraying the potatoes with a chemical inhibitor for sprouting. I always keep mine in the dark and they use to always sprout if I didn’t use them in time and they never do anymore. Now I know why…..ugh.

    • Might as well be… That is because it’s wet because I forgot to take a picture and turned it over to show the eyes after I put it in the water. Thanks Atul. ❤️

  2. I have some Maris Pipers that are sprouting. I’ll use your technique and see what happens! I’ll report back in a couple of weeks.

  3. HI there. I’ve never grown roots on a white potato but this year I did succeed with a sweet potato. I cut it in half, stuck in the toothpicks, etc…It did take quite a while for any roots to appear and then even longer before there were any sprouts, but now I have two nice, leafy sprouted potatoes. One has been transplanted into soil and is still alive. The other is happily living in it’s glass jar with water. Your potato may well just need more time.

  4. This method only seemed to work for us, using sweet potatoes (Japanese Yams). It would grow a long line that’s nice to decorate indoors with too.

    To grow regular potatoes, though, we just cut one into 2 pieces, and throw them straight into the ground. No rooting beforehand needed.

    • That is where I always keep them. They use to always sprout but don’t anymore. I found out the store sprays them with a chemical to inhibit sprouting! Ugh!

  5. I don’t know, but I wonder if maybe your potato had been sprayed with something to keep it from sprouting. Perhaps try with an organic potato. Maybe 40 years ago (yikes!) I did that with a sweet potato in my first grade classroom. It was an amazing success with roots galore and beautiful leaves draping down the sides from the top. Not giving up and trying again with some changes would be a good lesson for your grandchild. I have seen the evidence of your green thumb so I am sure you attacked this project with confidence!

    • I think you’re right about them spraying them with some type of inhibitor. I will give an organic one a try and use distilled water instead of our chlorinated water.

  6. We used to do this with sweet potatoes and did cut them in half. None of us had filtered water then and I often think that is why plants don’t do as well inside anymore.

    • I thought so! I thought we cut them when I did this as a kid. I used tap water and our water is chlorinated really well. I will try my distilled water next time. Thank you so much Laurel!

  7. I have absolutely no idea? I’ve heard sweet potatoes are easier to grow and the water level needs to stay level. I might have to try that with my granddaughters. I’ll let you know how it goes! C

    • People are saying the stores may be putting something on the potatoes to stop them from sprouting. Try an organic potato and maybe that will work better. Can’t wait to hear how you do Cheryl!!!!

  8. I was looking forward to a future post about a meal you cooked using potatoes you grew yourself. Don’t you deny me now! 😁

    Honestly I’m not in any way gifted at growing crops of any kind, but, as they say… ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’
    Only if you really want to of course. No pressure. 😁

  9. Maybe the issue is with the potato itself, e.g. what if it’s been genetically modified to not root? I wonder if an organic potato would have better results? Just a guess.

  10. Ohh I tried the same with garlic after looking at a dozen grow-garlic-easily-in-a -bottle posts, actually i tried 2 times and i failed miserably. I tried sowing the unpeeled garlic cloves directly in soil and succeeded 😁😁

  11. I haven’t done this with a potato but I have sweet potatoes. Maybe you should try one of them. I have also noticed that sometimes potatoes I buy from the grocery store sprout like crazy and some times they don’t. I always wondered if it works better certain times of the year of is there is “something” on the potatoes to keep them from sprouting. One spring I cut potatoes from the grocery store and tried to grow them in the garden and they didn’t even sprout…

    • I think you’re right you are the second one to say they may spray something on them to keep them from sprouting. I will try an organic potato next year.

  12. Ha ha – I don’t remember doing that at all – but I grew up in Canada, maybe that’s why. I have rooted romaine lettuce from a stalk. Made it for my canary one year – messy in mid-Winter, but it worked and made little stalks with it – if the potato fails miserably, try that with your grandson and you can still be a hero. 🙂

  13. Oh my goodness – when I saw the first image in your post I had a flashback to Junior High and trying to grow things in the kitchen window just as pictured (I think I also tried an avocado seed.

  14. Haha, Diane. I remember doing that as a kid! I’ll have to try again and let you know how it turns out! 😀

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia

  15. I’ve never tried the glass jar thing, but I’ve planted potatoes with sprouting eyes. I stick them in containers of soil outside and keep them watered. I’ve always ended up with plants and a harvest at the end of the season. I’ve read you should cut sprouting potatoes into chunks with 1-2 eyes/sprouts on each piece and plant them separately for more plants, but so far I just plant the whole potato. In theory, you should be able to cut your jar potato in half, as long as there are eyes in the water. Sometimes nature just doesn’t want to cooperate.

    • We use potatoes pretty regular but before my blog I would have potatoes sprout all the time where I keep them under the sink. Threw many in the compost but in the past few years they don’t sprout. After I wrote this post, people were suggesting the stores do something to the potatoes to stop sprouting and sure enough they do! I Googled it and it said they spray a chemical (of course) on the potatoes to keep them from sprouting! I will have to try organic next time. I love the way you do it as that sounds so much easier. Thank you and have a great day!

      • Of course they spray something on them– sigh. Hopefully organic will work better. Some varieties of potato might work better than others too (they might be more prone to sprouting). In any case, good luck!

  16. My brother had this project when we were little –
    And I read a few comments
    And think the potato was treated
    Also – I see some green in there – is that right?
    Well isn’t that from being under ripe –
    Oh and years ago I grew purple potatoes and they were easy and gave me small amounts each summer

  17. Hi Diane, I need your guidance. Can you check out my latest blog, I want to add this view more line in my post like you have done in this post of yours. Please help 😀😀

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