The growth of new potato tubers begins at the tips of stolons.
This early stage of development is not directly related to flowering, although the tuber will still not grow in size significantly.
In addition, the potato tuber is not mature enough to be harvested yet.
To prevent this, it is best to harvest mature flowers as quickly as possible.
The next stage is called the “fruiting” stage and is marked by the significant expansion of tuber cells.
These cells continue to grow, adding water, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, and last for two to three months.
During this time, the potato plant is not yet fully mature, so tuber growth should continue to be monitored. During this stage, the tubers are not edible.
To improve harvesting and food safety, growers should consider switching to a shorter growing season, as the temperature will be more stable.
Here are the 5 Growing Stages of Potato Plants:
Stage 1: The Sprouting Stage of Potato
The sprouting stage of Potato is a crucial time for growing potatoes. This stage is where the visible portion of the potato plant emerges, including leaves, stems, and roots.
During this stage, photosynthesis begins to supply the growing plant with its energy requirements.
The optimal temperature for this stage is 77 degrees Fahrenheit with long days of 14 to 18 hours of daylight. The ideal temperature for this stage is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The duration of this stage can be from 30 to 70 days.
After the seed potatoes have been planted, they should be kept in a warm, dark place of 70°F for at least a week. They should begin to sprout within two weeks. After this time, they should be moved to a cooler location that gets sufficient light.
The temperature during this stage should not exceed 74°F or the plant will stop growing. During this time, sprouts should grow to be about one to two inches in diameter.
The sprouting stage of Potato is a vital stage of growth. This is the first stage of development. It is the stage when essential plant parts start developing.
The process of photosynthesis begins and provides the growing plant with the necessary nutrition. The second stage of growth is the most difficult to predict, but it is the most important.
During this time, the temperatures should be at least seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit and fourteen to eighteen hours of sunlight.
Stage 2: The Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage is the beginning of the potato plant’s growth cycle. This is when the visible portion of the plant emerges, with its leaves, stem, and root system.
Photosynthesis also starts during this time, providing nutrition for the growing plant. The ideal conditions for tuber formation are temperatures of at least 77 degrees Fahrenheit, long days with 14 to 18 hours of daylight, and low nitrogen content. Leaf growth continues during this stage, but tuber initiation is not a priority.
Once the plant reaches a large enough size, it begins to form eyes and sprouts. After this, the growth of leaves and stems begins.
Photosynthesis occurs as the potato prepares to store nutrients in tubers. As the roots grow, the plant prepares to store nutrients in tubers. In this vegetative stage, the tubers grow to full size, accumulating sugars and starches. The tuber’s skin becomes tough.
During this vegetative stage, the potato plants develop their above-ground structure. They grow horizontal stems called stolons. The shoots absorb nutrients from seed potatoes. At the same time, they begin to develop their roots.
At this point, the plant prepares for the storage of nutrients in tubers, forming side branches. During this time, the potato plant produces hormones that inhibit lateral buds from growing. In this way, the potato plant can only produce one type of tuber.
Stage 3: Underground Tuber Initiation
To understand how the potato tuber initiation occurs, it is necessary to first understand how plants form this storage organ. The development of the underground stems is a complex developmental process that involves the differentiation of various cell types and the formation of a storage organ for vegetative propagation.
The root system is composed of stolons, which are diageotropic lateral stems that grow from the underground nodes of the main stem. Stolons have long internodes and a hook-like apical region. Tuber initiation begins with a swollen subapical region.
The BEL5 protein functions as a signal in the potato plant’s tuberization pathway. It was initially identified as an interaction partner of the POTH1 transcription factor.
In addition, BEL5 mRNA is translocated through the phloem and underground stolons and roots and has been shown to have a role in underground tuber initiation. In situ hybridization, promoter-GUS fusion, and heterografting experiments have confirmed BEL5 expression and movement.
A study carried out by the University of Florida IFAS Extension shows that the first two stages of potato plant underground tuber initiation are similar to each other.
The first stage involves the growth of the perimedullary zone, where new cells develop.
The second stage of tuber initiation occurs in the stolon tips, where the phloem elements are located. This phase also enables the potato tuber to develop into mature fruit.
Stage 4: Potato Plant Tuber Enlargement
The tuber enlargement stage is an important part of the maturation process of potatoes. This process occurs when the tips of the stolons begin to swell, but the tubers have not grown significantly.
This stage usually happens before flowering, although the two stages are not directly connected. The plants produce pollinated flowers, which produce small tomato-like fruits.
These flowers contain seeds and are not edible, so harvest them as soon as possible.
In the next developmental stage, the potato plant begins to form new tubers by producing stolons.
These stolons are produced when the plant flowers and nutrient availability is transferred from the leaves and above-ground stem to the underground tubers.
During this phase, the potatoes begin to develop the tough skin they’ll wear as they mature. This can be a very beneficial stage of the potato plant’s development.
The second developmental stage of a potato plant’s growth occurs at the tip of the stolon or the stolons.
Most tubers lie just below the soil’s surface, which is why they need to be kept moist. As the plant produces more carbohydrates than it needs for vine growth, it forms tubers. These early tubers are jelly bean size but are not enlarging yet.
Stage 5: Potato Tuber Dormancy
The dormant stage of the potato tuber occurs when meristematic activity in the stolon apex and nodes stops growing.
The lack of visible growth is a physiological adaptation to the stress of dormancy.
In potatoes, the dormant tuber is only a small part of the whole potato, the rest of which is metabolically active. A potato tuber can go through three stages of dormancy.
The dormant stage is a natural state that occurs when the plant is under favorable conditions for germination.
The release of dormancy in potatoes has two major advantages: it can store plant material and promote sprouting.
The advantages of dormancy outweigh the disadvantages. In the first case, dormancy allows plants to store their material without the risk of loss of quality. However, the disadvantage is that when it comes to yield, the tuber has to wait too long to start growing.
During the first stage, the dormant potato tuber meristems are in the G1 position in the cell cycle. When the tuber is in the dormant stage, sprout growth occurs. There is a resumption of cell cycle progression, accompanied by an expression of key cell cycle proteins.
Furthermore, the dormant potato tuber stages are characterized by changes in the composition of chromatin, DNA cytosine methylation, and covalent histone modifications.
This is important for the successful storage of potatoes. Many commercial storage methods use synthetic chemicals that inhibit sprouting in a herbicidal manner.
The first growth phase is when the potatoes begin to form eyes, stolons, and leaves. They are also the first to develop photosynthesis, preparing for the upcoming storage stage.
The second stage is the harvesting phase, during which the potatoes are ready for harvest.
The third stage is the final maturing stage, during which the tubers grow to full size and harden, and the skin of the potatoes becomes tough and resistant to damage.