Can You Plant Potatoes Without Eyes: Will They Grow?

Holding a potato in your hand, a series of small, beady eyes peer back up at you from the center of its brown-colored flesh. These eyes, or rather the buds that grow from them, produce potato plants. But what happens if you plant a potato without any eyes? Are you out of luck? Unfortunately, potatoes have a meager chance of growing without any eyes at all.

Potatoes: Why Do They Need Eyes to Grow?

can you plant potatoes without eyes

To understand why potatoes need eyes to grow, we must first understand how potatoes reproduce.

Potatoes are a type of stem tubers or underground stem that stores energy in the form of starch. Stem tubers differ from root tubers because they keep nutrients in their flesh instead of their roots. They use this stored energy to survive through the winter and produce new potato plants afterward.

The eyes that people often refer to are tiny buds found on the potato’s surface. These buds contain the potential for new potato plants and will sprout if given the right conditions. When potatoes are cut into pieces, each piece that contains an eye can produce a new plant.

Potatoes without eyes are often harvested before they have a chance to develop. This means they are harvested in a dormant state, which is why they will have trouble sprouting or producing new potato plants.

If you do end up with potatoes that don’t have any eyes, don’t worry. You can still cook and eat them. They just won’t be able to grow new potato plants. You can try and replant them, but the chances are relatively low.

Tips to Ensure That Your Potato Have Buds When Harvested

can you plant potatoes without eyes

To ensure that you get potatoes that are able to grow and sprout when replanted, these are some tips that you can follow:

Look For Flowering

It is best to harvest potatoes after they have flowered. The flowers are a good indication that the potato has enough stored energy to produce new potato plants.


When potatoes are dormant, they are not actively growing. This means that they are not producing new potato plants. Dormancy is a natural process that happens when the weather becomes too cold or hot for the potato plant to survive.

During dormancy, the potato plant will stop growing and storing energy. In turn, they won’t produce any eyes or buds. This is why it is best to wait until after the dormant period to harvest your potatoes.

Warm Up The Area

You can encourage your potatoes to produce eyes by warming up the area where they are growing. This can be done by covering the area with black plastic or using a heated mat.

The heat will encourage the potato plants to come out of dormancy and start growing again. Once they start growing, they will produce eyes that can be used to grow new potato plants.

Can You Plant Potatoes Without Eyes: Final Thoughts

Having eyes on your potatoes is extremely necessary for them to grow. Potatoes without eyes will have trouble sprouting compared to those that have been cut with eyes. By following the tips mentioned above, partnered with the right growing conditions, you can be sure to get potatoes that are able to replant for your next crop.