Potatoes are a staple food in the diet of several different cultures worldwide. It is incredibly delicious, but it also goes well with most other foods and dishes, whether you are making rice or a hot cup of soup.
So, it is no surprise if you decide to grow your potatoes at home in your vegetable garden. However, a few issues can surround you when you grow potatoes in your home. One of them is the falling of potato plants which can leave you wondering – why are my potato plants falling over?
There could be several reasons for your plants falling over, such as too much fertilizer, growing too tall, or other issues. If you are facing the same issue but are clueless about the reasons behind it, here we will explore all the causes behind your question – why are my potato plants falling over? Keep reading.
Top 3 Causes Of Why Your Potato Plants Falling Over
When you see that your potato plants are falling over, the first thing that comes to mind is time to harvest the crop. This could be the case in some situations but not always. Usually, a potato plant falls due to a few reasons.
These reasons include not giving the right amount of water, getting infected by diseases, becoming leggy, other environmental factors causing stress for the plant, etc.
If your plant is falling over, don’t lose hope, as not all is lost. You can take steps to support your plant and prevent it from being destroyed. Let’s find out more about what causes the falling of the potato plant and how you can solve it so you can get your answer to the query “Why are my potato plants falling over.”
1. Inadequate Watering
If you are not providing the right amount of water to your potato plants, they can suffer and fall. Underwatering and overwatering can be an issue for your potato plants.
Underwatering can be spotted more easily in potato plants. If your plant is not getting enough water, the leaves will become dry and curled up. You can check if the plant needs more water by dipping your finger a few inches into the soil. If the soil is dry for the top few inches, you need to add more water to the plant.
Overwatering can frequently happen as well with potato plants. If you add too much water to the plant, it can seep into the soil and clog it. Waterlogged soil does not fare well in growing plants. If there is too much water in the soil, it won’t breathe, and the plants won’t be able to take up nutrients.
A lack of nutrients in the soil and the plants will cause the potato plant to fall.
Root rotting is a common condition that can arise due to overwatering. In this case, the plant’s roots die off, making the plant fall. You may be able to save the plant if you catch it on time.
You can easily avoid both of these situations. Before watering, make sure the soil is not already wet. If you notice the soil is excessively dry, add water. Ensure to add water from below to prevent the leaves from getting wet.
The best way to add water to the potato plants is in deep, infrequent sessions. The potato plant does not do too well when you add water infrequent, shallow sessions. Also, try to add water during the day to ensure the leaves on the plant have ample time to dry up if they get wet.
Some experts say that you don’t need to add water to the potato plant until they start budding and flowering.
2. Pest Attack
There are a couple of common pests that can attack your potato plant and cause the plant to fall over.
If you are experiencing such a situation, try looking for pests. Two typical pests that attack potatoes are Colorado potato beetles and cutworms. They both have their distinguishing factors, and you can spot them closely.
Cutworms chew off the plant’s stem from near the ground. So, when these pests attack, the whole potato plant will fall. If you have seen the plant’s stems detached from the ground, it could be a case of cutworms.
You can put cutworm collars around the potato plants to prevent attacks from these pests.
Another pest that attacks potato plants is the Colorado potato beetle, a black striped orange yellowish pest that is tiny, approximately half-inch in size.
The Colorado potato beetle lays approximately 500 eggs per 5 weeks. So, the population can expand fast. These pests are found under the leaves and can even kill the plant besides making it fall. This pest is pesticide-resistant, so you could try crop rotation to deal with it. Also, cover the potatoes with mulch to hide them from pests.
Your potato plants could also fall over because they have reached maturity and are now ready to be harvested.
Most potato plants take between 80-160 days to reach maturity. They grow up to 1.5 to 2 feet tall. A common sign to show that the plants have reached maturity is that they start turning yellow from the stem and above. They may even blossom and produce flowers when the potatoes are ready for harvesting.
In this case, there is nothing to worry about as the plants have completed their natural lifecycle. All that needs to be done is harvesting.
I hope this answers your question – why are my potato plants falling over? Besides these reasons, there could be a few more causes as well. Your potato plant could also be falling due to extreme temperatures and diseases.
Potatoes can easily come under attack from several diseases, especially when you overwater them. Remember to keep everything in moderation, take steps to keep the pests away, and your plants will be fine.
Before taking any steps, make sure the plant hasn’t reached maturity and is ready for harvesting.
If you have any tips on keeping the potato plants healthy, share them with your fellow gardeners.