Learn How to Grow Sugarcane in Pots easily to savor the world’s sweetest juicy grass at home without having a lot of space!
Sugarcane is a perennial grass from the Poaceae family. It is mainly grown for juice in subtropical and tropical regions of the world. If you are not living in a tropical area or short of space, you can still grow them in containers! Continue reading to learn How to Grow Sugarcane in Pots!
Check out our article on the Sugarcane growing method here!
Picking the Right Container
A 12-14 inches deep container is going to be an ideal start for the plant. The width of the planter depends on how many sugarcane plants you’re growing together. A 12 inches deep pot that is wide similarly is good for up to two plants. You can also grow multiple plants together in one big container like a tub, grow bag, barrel, or bucket.
Propagation and Planting
From Seeds: Sugarcane seeds are very small in size. You can get them from a nearby nursery or an online store.
- Wrap the seeds in a paper towel and put them in a freezer for a day or two. This helps in killing the bacteria that might be present in them. (This step is optional)
- Make sure that the seeds reach the room temperature before you plant them.
- Sow them in a seed tray or pot and place it at a location where it gets ample bright light.
- Keep the seed mix evenly moist.
- The seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks.
From Cuttings: Growing sugarcane from cuttings is the best way as they not only grow faster but also remain identical to the mother plant.
- Buy a young and healthy 6 feet sugarcane, from a nursery or local grower.
- The stalk must be fresh and green with at least 10-12 “nodes.”
- Cut the cane into equal parts of 3 feet each.
- Put the cuttings horizontally in a 3-4 feet wide container and cover it with a plastic sheet.
- If you do not have such a large container, you can cut the cuttings short, 5-6 inches in length, making sure each has atleast one ‘node.’
- Plant them individually in 12 inches deep pots and cover with 2 inches layer of soil.
- Make sure the bud side will be facing up!
If you live in a warm subtropical or tropical climate, USDA Zones 9b-11, you can plant sugarcane year-round. Growing sugarcane in pots is the only way to plant it in a cold climate. Start your sugarcane plants in containers in spring, varieties that mature early are good for this purpose.
Requirements for Growing Sugarcane in Pots
Select a sunny spot to grow your potted sugarcanes. The more direct sunlight they receive, the better will be the growth. Placing the containers on the South or West-facing site would be ideal.
Sugarcane does well in a variety of soils, ranging from sandy loam to clay loam. However, if you are looking forward to having the best yield, go for a well-draining soil mix. Avoid using saline, alkaline, and acidic soils.
Keep the soil moist all the time but not soggy. Water the plant thoroughly and make sure the soil is not getting completely dry between the watering spells.
As sugarcane is a tropical plant, it does best in the temperature range between 70-95 F (21-35 C). It can even tolerate temperature above 100 F (38 C) if the soil is highly moist. When it comes to minimum temperature, it doesn’t grow well below 65 F (18 C). Temperature down to 53 F (12 C) is good for ripening, it reduces the vegetative growth and increases sucrose in the cane. It needs a long frost-free season to flourish.
Fertilize the plants using a granular 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer when the new growth appears and thereafter, once every 4-5 months. Mix the fertilizer into the 2-inch topsoil according to the manufacturer’s instruction and water well.
Remove all dead leaves and keep the pot clean and free from weeds.
Pests and Diseases
Disease like red rot, rust, and leaf scald may affect the growth of sugarcanes.
Harvesting & Storage
Sugarcanes can be harvested in 10-14 months after planting, depending on the variety. Harvest them around late fall, when the canes are thick with dry, yellow leaves. Using a shear, cut the canes to ground level so the bottom sugar-rich internodes also come with it. Do wear protective clothing and gloves as the leaves have sharp edges. Rinse the canes thoroughly and cut them in small sections as it will help in storing them. Sugarcanes have a long shelf life and can be stored for a longer duration.