Growing Sugarcane In A Pot: Learn About Sugarcane Container Care

By: Teo Spengler

Many gardeners think that growing sugarcane is only possible in tropical climates. If you are interested in growing sugarcane in a pot, read on for info on container-grown sugarcane.

Can You Grow Sugarcane in Pots?

You may have seen fields of sugarcane in photos growing in Hawaii or other tropical locations and longed to try growing a little yourself. If you don’t live in a hot climate, try container-grown sugarcane. Can you grow sugarcane in pots? Yes, you can, and this makes it possible to have a mini-sugar plantation no matter where you live. The secret is growing the canes in containers.

Container Grown Sugarcane

In order to start growing sugarcane in a pot, you need to obtain a length of sugarcane, ideally around 6 feet (2 m.) long. Look for buds on it. They look like rings on bamboo. Your length should have about 10 of them.

Cut the cane into two pieces of equal length. Prepare a seed tray by filling it with a mixture of one part compost to one part sand. Lay the two cane pieces on the tray horizontally and layer compost over them.

Moisten the soil well and cover the entire tray with plastic to keep in the moisture. Place the tray in bright sunlight. Water the tray every day to keep the soil moist.

After a few weeks, you will see new shoots in your container-grown sugarcane. These are called ratoons and, when they grow to 3 inches (7.5 cm.), you can transplant each one to its own pot.

Sugarcane Container Care

Potted sugarcane plants can grow quickly. As the new ratoons grow, you’ll need to transplant them into bigger pots, using an all-purpose potting mixture.

The most important part of sugarcane container care is keeping the soil moist. Since the plants require direct sun most of the day (or 40-watt grow bulbs), they dry out quickly. You’ll need to water at least three times a week.

Remove all dead leaves and keep the pots free from weeds. After about a year, the canes will be 3 feet (1 m.) tall and ready to harvest. Wear leather gloves when you harvest since the leaves of the potted sugarcane plants are very sharp.

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The Positives of Growing Sugar Cane

1) Very easy to grow and propagate . . . great for plant killers
2) It looks cool, kinda like bamboo with longer leaves
3) If you grow it outside a tropical zone, your neighbors will refer to you as “eccentric”
4) You can eat it (or make juice from it). Yummy
5) Slicing the stalks into segments lengthwise makes them into great skewers for bbq’ing shrimp. Also yummy
6) Makes a good privacy screen to shield your crazy activities from the neighbors. Not yummy, but useful

All About Sugar Cane

It’s hard to trace the sugar cane origin because it’s so old. Popular belief is that the common variety, Saccharum officinarum, was domesticated in 4000 BC in New Guinea. Other common species, such as Saccharum sinense and Saccharum barberi, are believed to have originated in southern Asia and India, respectively.

Since then, sugar cane growing has slowly made its way around the globe. It made its way to the Mediterranean around 700 AD and the Caribbean in the 1400s. Today, sugarcane is a main export of many Caribbean islands and South America. In the US, it’s produced largely in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii.

So what is sugar cane and what does sugar cane look like? The original sugarcane species may be sweet, but in looks they’re pretty generic. However, some hybrids have been developed for ornamental gardening and have beautiful red, purple, or white-striped stalks.

The thick stems look similar to bamboo, thanks to the horizontal joints spaced 4-10 inches apart. Each joint, or node, produces a leaf blade and bud that are protected by a sheath that wraps around the stem. You’ll find this anatomy on many cane plants, including dumbcane.

The stems grow to 2 inches in diameter and shoot upwards. In its native climate, sugarcane can reach up to 20 feet tall. Here in the US, your plume grass will likely only be 5-8 feet tall and wide. Because it’s a rhizome, each plant produces multiple shoots that grow plumes of long, thin, and often sharp leaves.

As a tropical plant, sugar cane grows year-round in US zones 9-10. It can be cultivated as an annual in colder regions, but it may need to be started indoors. In the US, sugarcane is usually planted in late summer, overwinters, and grows for 7-8 months from spring to early fall. Though it takes a long time to mature, sugar cane grows pretty fast, especially in hot weather.

Remember how we said the sugarcane you grow will be much smaller than those in the tropics? That’s because sugarcane doesn’t stop growing until it’s harvested. In climates unhindered by winter, it can grow for a couple years before harvesting. This allows for large growth and a remarkable increase in sugar yield.


It takes 8-10 months in Louisiana and 18-22 months in Hawaii for the sugarcane to mature. To know the right time of harvesting, tap on the canes to hear a metallic sound. Also, watch for yellow and dry leaves. Make a slanting cut to one of the canes to check the juice oozing from the stem.

Using lopping shears, cut the stems as close to the ground possible. After cutting, rinse them thoroughly and cut them in shorter sections that are going to aid you in storing. As they have a long shelf life, you can store them for a long duration of time.

Watch the video: Στη Μύκονο καμουφλάρουν τα κοντέινερ.. με πέτρινες ταπετσαρίες!

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