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Guide To Planting Potatoes in Zone 5 (+ Best Varieties)

Guide To Planting Potatoes in Zone 5 (+ Best Varieties)

Zone 5 includes diverse areas spanning the Midwest, Northeast, and Rocky Mountains, where temperatures can drop to a minimum of -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter lows aren’t important though for planting potatoes. These summer crops do well with the mild heat.

When do you plant potatoes in Zone 5? In Zone 5, potatoes should be planted in April or May. Planting times will depend on the potato variety. There are early, mid, and late-season varieties that vary in growing time. It is recommended to avoid late-season varieties in case there is a cold spring or early fall. 

Just because you live in Zone 5 doesn’t mean that potatoes are difficult or impossible to grow. With a little know-how, you can indeed enjoy a bountiful potato harvest from your very own backyard.

Planting Potatoes in Zone 5

In the following you’ll find everything you need to know to plant and grow fruitful potato plants in Zone 5. 

Best Months To Plant Potatoes in Zone 5

The best months to plant potatoes in Zone 5 are April and May. Depending on the timeframe to harvest your chosen varieties, you may want to plant earlier or may be able to wait.

Some growers plant as early as mid-March, but most agree that the absolute latest planting date is June 10.

What Conditions To Note Before Planting

Seed potatoes can be put into the ground before the last frost. However, you will not see much growth until the soil temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ideally, the soil temperature will be between 50 and 85℉. The last frost date for Zone 5 is approximately May 15.

The first frost date is typically October 15, so you can expect a 5-month growing season. 

When Is the Latest You Can Plant Potatoes in Zone 5?

On average, a potato plant is ready to harvest in 15 to 20 weeks. June 10 is the recommended last planting date to be able to harvest your potatoes before the first frost in October.

How To Prepare Potatoes for Planting

You can store seed potatoes from your harvest or purchase a bag online or in stores. Store the bag in a cool, dry location.

A week or so before planting, expose the seed potatoes to warmth and indirect sunlight to stimulate growth. Ideally, the potatoes will produce shoots that are at least 1 centimeter long before planting.

You can cut the seed potatoes into smaller chunks, making sure that each piece has at least one shoot.

If you do so, let the potatoes to sit for a day or so to allow a callus to form and the potatoes to dry a bit before planting. 

The process of preparing the potatoes prior to planting is commonly referred to as “chitting.”

Planting Potatoes – Quick Guide

Planting potatoes is relatively easy and seamless. Many growers choose to “mound” their potatoes for an easier harvest. 

  1. Purchase or store seed potatoes.
  2. Prepare seed potatoes by exposing them to indirect sunlight and warmth.
  3. Once shoots have formed, cut the potatoes into chunks.
  4. Allow the seed potato chunks to dry out before planting.
  5. Plant the pieces 6-12 inches apart in rows that are 2-3 feet apart.
  6. Cover pieces with at least 3 inches of soil (more in colder climates).
  7. As shoots pop up above the ground, mound soil on top of them for the first month of growth.

Best Potato Varieties for Zone 5

Most potato varieties will grow well in Zone 5. Many farmers recommend choosing early or mid-season varieties because the time to harvest is shorter and will fit in the growing season.

Some varieties that are recommended for Zone 5 include Red Norland, Yukon Gold, German Butterball, Superior, Red Pontiac, and Kennebec. 

When To Plant Sweet Potatoes in Zone 5

Seed sweet potatoes cannot handle frost the way that white potatoes can.

This means that you should wait to plant sweet potatoes until May or June when the last frost date has passed. They take 90-120 days to harvest. 

Related Questions:

Can You Plant Potatoes in the Fall?

Some growers choose to immediately plant their seed potatoes or leave a few in the dirt when harvesting. Oftentimes, the potato plant will resume growth when it warms up in the spring.

However, it is not recommended to plant potatoes in the fall because there is a risk of them not surviving the winter.

How Long Does It Take Potatoes To Grow After Planting?

The amount of time from planting to harvesting varies among varieties. You’ll likely see shoots growing from the soil within a week or two. Potatoes can be harvested in an average of 15-20 weeks. 


Planting potatoes in the spring allows Zone 5 growers to maximize their yield during the 5-month growing season. By following these planting steps, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of potatoes in no time.