21 Common Potato Plant Problems: How to Fix Them, Solutions, and Treatment

You can successfully grow Potatoes with well-drained, deep, sandy loam with lots of humus paired with cool, moist conditions. Potato gardening can be beneficial and successful. Plant Potatoes after the last frost date pass in early spring. The use of disease-free seed Potatoes will eliminate many potential problems. Even when you’ve done everything, gardening still puts obstacles in your way. Let’s check out 21 common Potato plant problems below.

Common Potato Plant Problems
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Viruses and fungi are the most common Potato problems. Many diseases can be challenging to diagnose. For each disease, symptoms vary widely depending on the stage of plant growth, weather conditions, and other variables at the time of infection. When growing Potatoes, some of the top common problems are plants may not be producing, that the plant itself or its leaves are changing colors, wilting, dying, growing spots, being attacked by pests, or that it may not be growing well.

21 common Potato plant problems

Hollow Potatoes 

It is also known as hollow heart; it happens when Potatoes grow very fast. Excessive water and fertilizer are the main causes. 

Solution –Fertilize properly at the beginning of the development of tubers are being formed. Hollow heart resistant types often suffer from other problems, so searching for a resistant type is futile. 

Potato plant not producing Potatoes

There are several reasons why your Potato plant is not producing Potatoes, and some of them can be easy to fix while some can’t.

Solution – The solution to this problem is not that simple. If you add too much fertilizer already, try to tone it and see what happens. If you have not added enough fertilizer to the plant, try to add nitrogen, especially during the blooming season. Too much fertilizer and leaves will continue to grow without Potatoes. If you see this happening, reduce the amount of fertilizer you are applying.

Potato tubers turn green

Potato tubers are enlarged stems underground. When tubers are exposed to light either in the garden or in storage due to the formation of chlorophyll, their skin turns green. Chlorophyll itself is not a problem. However, the taste of green tuber is bitter. They can also cause stomach disorders and more serious health problems. 

In case you missed it: Soil Preparation for Potato Plants: Best Soil Mix, pH, Compost, and Recipe

Potato Plant Bugs
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Solution – These Potatoes should be chopped and discarded before cooking. Place the soil on the hill around the base of Potato plants while growing Potatoes in the garden to prevent the tubers from shining brightly with light. Store the potatoes in a dark spot after harvesting.

Potato plant dying

Your Potato plant can die for many reasons. First, your Potatoes can die, especially if the temperature goes up too high. Your plant was attacked by cloudy weather for some time, the hot sun, and winds; it could be harmful to your plants. Poor water is another common cause of Potato plants dying.

It does not mean that you do not water your Potatoes, but that you may be watering them inconsistently. Suppose you allow the ground to dry for a few days before giving more water. It is not healthy for plants, especially during the development period. Water should be constant from the time you plant Potatoes until the moment the leaves turn yellow.

Solution – If you want to stop your land from drying, but you are not sure you will always water when needed, use mulch on the soil and make it easier for yourself. It will keep moisture in the ground. A plant can also die due to wilting. You can deal with it early if you caught it early, but it usually happens if you don’t rotate the crops enough.

Potato plants turn yellow

When Potatoes mature, their leaves naturally start to change color. Finally, potato plants turn yellow; it is almost time to harvest. They indicate that plants are moving their energy from growing lush leaves to Potato maturity. 

Solution – When your Potato leaves turn yellow late in the growing season, it is ready for harvesting. First, take the plant out of the ground, check the tuber, and store the rest if you have a good crop.

Potato leaves turn purple

The reason is quite simple your plant lacks phosphorus. 

Solution – This is not a big problem, but it should be dealt with. Provide phosphorus to your plants and protect them from stress.

In case you missed it: Guide to Growing Potatoes in Texas: At Home, In Backyard, Containers, In Winter and Summer

Potato Plant
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Potato leaves are wilting

You can plant your Potatoes in good soil and at the right time of year but still face problems when temperatures rise higher than expected. Potato plants and tubers exposed to hot sun and winds after cloudy weather can be damaged and can die. The symptoms of this exposure include light green, wilting leaves that dry out and turn brown and watery if the tubers are underground. 

Solution – To avoid this, protect the Potatoes from the hot sun and dry winds.

Cracks in the Potato tuber 

Cracks in growth usually occur when heavy rain or irrigation occurs after a long dry period. Rapid use of water by tubers causes their eruption or crack. 

Solution – You can reduce cracking by maintaining an equal moisture supply during the tuber development. Regular water during dry periods.

Pests 

Aphids

Aphids affect many different types of plants. First, they start removing plant juice from leaves. When the aphides extract the juice from the leaves, they leave behind Honeydew’s sticky remains. 

Solution – Small attacks are not a big concern, but as the number of aphids increases, you will need to treat the problem. Natural enemies are a way to control the population.

Colorado potato beetle

One of the most common pests of Potato plants is the Colorado potato beetle. This pest causes damage in both larvae and adult forms; they are common defoliators that chew the plant’s leaves in no time. However, the early larvae do less damage than the later stage, which can defoliate the entire Potato plant faster.

Solution – Since these pests are often in winter, crop rotation is one of the best ways to control this beetle. It is difficult to get rid of the infection once this happens, but neem oil is an effective option that works very well. Always handpick the beetles and larvae you see, and put them into soapy water.

In case you missed it: How to Grow Potatoes in 20 Steps: Secrets, Tips, and Ideas

Colorado potato beetle
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Wireworms

It is one of the Potato plant pests that attack seeds, roots, and tubers. They emerge as larvae in the soil in winter and emerge as adults at the end of spring. 

Solution – Typically, they don’t tunnel through the tuber, but their loss results in lower Potato quality. Since these pests live in the soil, it isn’t easy to find them. Soil cultivation in early spring helps bring them to the surface, and introducing natural enemies is a way to get rid of wireworms.

Flea beetle

While Potato diseases are a serious and easily explorable risk, some pests seem too small to be a big deal. But flea beetle should not be underestimated. Flea beetle causes small holes or dents in leaves; young plants are most vulnerable, but any crop is attacked. An attack by a flea beetle cause reduces plant growth, and severe infection kills plants. It’s hard to find this pest. 

Solution – If you’ve had a flea beetle before, using floating row covers is a way to provide a barrier to protecting young plants. Applying a thick mulch helps prevent beetles from reaching the surface in winter. Diatomaceous earth and neem oil applications can control flea beetles effectively.

Cutworms

Cutworms eat through plants on soil levels and destroy plants in no time. If there is an attack later in the growing season, the cutworm sits in the leaves and tubers of the plant.

Solution – One of the problems with cutworms is that they are most active at night, so it’s hard to find them during the day. You need to go to the garden in the evening to be able to find these pests and destroy them.  

European corn borer

European corn borer is not as common as other Potato plant pests, but they cause severe damage if they find your plants. Once the pests get inside the stem, they start tunneling then the stem dies.

Solution – The only way to control the European corn borer is to check the plant base regularly and remove plants when you look at the plugged stem. You can also try pheromone traps to catch adults.

Diseases

Bacterial ring rot

Bacterial ring rot causes wilting stems and leaves. It causes leaves to die, starting with lower leaves and causing creamy yellow colors that turn into brown rotting spots inside the tuber. Getting rid of the bacterial ring rot is almost impossible once it starts. Bacteria enter the tuber through wounds and thrive in hot, wet soil. During winter, in Potato debris, you have to make sure you remove all crop debris after harvesting your Potatoes.

In case you missed it: Sweet Potato Gardening – How To Start, Tips, and Ideas

Potato wilting stems and leaves.
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Solution – The only thing you can do is plant certified Potato seed grown in seedbeds without the ring rot.

Blackleg

It causes small, water-soaked lesions at the base of the trunks. Over time, the lesions grow larger, spreading from the base of the stem to the canopy. Finally, leaves turn soft and water-soaked, brown to black.

Solution – Blackleg Potatoes cannot be treated with chemical sprays, so preventive measures are the best. It is the only way to avoid losing their plants to this bacterium. Always use disease-free Potato seeds and smart cultural methods, such as crop rotation, removal of infected plants, cleaning plant debris, and avoiding more water. 

Common scab

The common scab is a bacterium that causes enlarged, brown lesions with a strange corky texture on the tuber. This bacterial disease is usually worse in hot and dry conditions. 

Solution – It is difficult to manage, and many different methods are needed to prevent this disease. You need to use disease-free Potato seed and practice crop rotation. Keeping soil at a low pH range also helps in preventing common scabs.

Potato early blight

The early blight of the Potato is a fungal disease that causes deep lesions along yellow borders that form tissue rings on leaves and trunks. The leaves become necrotic, and on Potatoes, you’ll find deep, dry lesions on the tuber with a corky texture.

Solution – This fungal disease emerges during periods of high humidity. You can apply protective fungicides to reduce symptoms. Also, make sure you properly fertilize and water your plants to reduce stress.

Potato late blight

Late blight pathogen that remains in the soil for years. In wet conditions, it causes various symptoms, such as irregular-shaped brown lesions on leaves. The lesions dry and turn dark brown in dry conditions. Severely infected plants contain a sweet, distinctive odor and red-brown lesions on the tubers spread in Potatoes.

Solutions– Like late tomato blight, it’s hard to control this. You need to use multiple applications of fungicides to help destroy infected tubers and control the spread of the disease.

Potato leaf roll

The Potato leaf roll is one of the most common diseases of Potato plants; it is a viral disease that causes the young leaves to roll and turns yellow or pink. In addition, the lower leaves on plants produce a leathery structure, and the necrotic netting is produced on the tissue of the tubers. Over time, this viral disease causes plant growth to stop.

In case you missed it: Potato Growing Tips, Ideas, Secrets, and Techniques

Potato Farming
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Solution – Different aphid varieties transfer the Potato leaf roll. Since it is a viral disease, there is no cure, but using pesticides to prevent an attack on aphids is a clever idea. Remove and destroy infected plants and tubers throughout your garden to stop this virus.

Verticillium wilt

Verticillium wilt is the most common disease of Potato plants, and it causes early death of plants. This fungal disease causes the leaflets to die on one side of the branch. If you cut the plants, you’ll see colorless tissue.

Solution – The Verticillium wilt appears when the temperature is high with too much moisture. It spreads rapidly and is one of the most destructive fungal infections. Therefore, you should rotate the crop and use a suitable fungicide to control the disease. 

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