With a nice variety of potatoes to choose from within the determinate and indeterminate groups, you can easily select the ones with the taste, color, shape, time to maturity, and average yield that perfectly suit your cooking needs and regional climate.
In this quick-reference guide, I explain the difference between determinate and indeterminate potatoes, list the most popular varieties, and answer common questions about this topic so you can find the perfect planting potatoes for your garden!
Indeterminate Potato Varieties List
The most popular varieties of indeterminate potatoes are:
- Elba Potato
- German Butterball Potatoes
- Russet Nugget
- Russet Burbank
- Red Maria
- Canela Russet
- Strawberry Paw
Of this list, the most common varieties you’ll find to plant are the German Butterball potatoes, Russet Burbank, and Elba potatoes.
Determinate Potato Varieties List
The most popular varieties of determinate potatoes are:
- Yukon Gold
- Red Pontiac
- Sierra Rose
- Chieftain Potato
- Adirondack Red
- Gold Rush Russet Potato
Red potato varieties like the Norland or Red Pontiac are very common choices for their tasty and tender flesh.
What Is The Difference Between Determinate And Indeterminate Potatoes?
There is no real way to tell the difference between the two types of potatoes just by looking at them. Understanding how they differ and memorizing the most popular varieties of each type is important if you wish to succeed in harvesting potato crops from your garden.
Determinate Potatoes & How They Grow
Determinate potatoes are fast-growing, and the tubers grow laterally across only one layer of the ground. This type of potato stops new tuber growth once the initial batch forms.
Determinate potatoes are more straightforward for beginner gardeners to grow successfully.
This means that determinate potatoes do not require continual mounding or hilling of the soil around the plant during the growing season. On average, the tubers also mature early, anywhere from 70 to 90 days.
Once you plant a seed potato in the garden, the tubers of a determinate potato will form directly above that seed and not keep developing new spuds higher up in the soil.
This aspect of determinate potato growth makes varieties such as the red potato a favorite amongst gardeners who have shallow soil in their garden or short growing seasons.
Indeterminate Potatoes & How They Grow
Indeterminate potatoes take longer to mature and will indefinitely produce tubers down the length of their stem if the soil surrounds the plant during its lifecycle. New stolons will form along the stem and improve crop yield.
This type of potato requires more time and effort to build the hills during the longer growing season, which may be daunting for newbie gardeners.
To create the most abundant crop yield, it’s critical to hill the soil around this type of potato plant so there is more ground to contact the stem and produce more tubers.
The growing season for indeterminate potatoes runs late, anywhere from 110 to 135 days on average. In this extra time, the tubers of this type will grow larger, which makes them a good choice for those who want more pounds per harvest.
Indeterminate varieties, such as the Elba potato, are ideal for gardeners with little space since you can grow them vertically in grow bags or compact raised beds. You start the seed potato down low and build up the soil along the plant stem as it grows, creating a tower of tubers to harvest later.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Fingerling Potatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
Fingerling potatoes are of the determinate variety, though I find that many of my gardening friends insist they need hilling if only to avoid the greening of the tubers.
Are Purple Potatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
Purple potatoes like the Purple Majesty are determinate and best for direct ground planting, not for potato “tower” growing.
Are Kennebec Potatoes Indeterminate?
No, Kennebec potatoes are of the determinate type. These potatoes are grouped in the white potato category and are known for fast growth yet producing a high yield.
Are Russet Potatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
Indeterminate potatoes, like Russets, are popular for tower gardening and for experienced growers who like the ability to produce a higher yield with continual mounding of the soil.
Now that you understand how determinate and indeterminate potatoes grow, I hope the information ends any confusion and helps you choose the best type for your gardening style!