How to keep potatoes from sprouting in storage

Updated February 21, 2017

Potatoes are root vegetables that are harvested in the late fall months and can be stored over the winter months until eaten. While potatoes typically stay fresh in storage, sometimes they begin to sprout from the small buds, which are called eyes. These sprouts and any other green section of the potato are toxic. To prevent sprouts from growing on the potatoes, there are some rules to follow for proper storage techniques.

Handle the potatoes gently any time that you move them or when getting some out to eat. Excessive handling can bruise the potatoes, which causes them to rot. Rotting potatoes spread moisture to the other potatoes, which can increase the growth of sprouts.

Place a thermometer next to where the potatoes are stored and make sure the temperature stays between 4.44 and 7.22 degrees Celsius, which will keep them from growing.

Hang a hygrometer in the area where the potatoes are stored to ensure that the humidity level is kept at a minimum of 85 per cent. If you are storing Russet Burbank potatoes, increase the humidity to 95 per cent by placing open bowls of water nearby.

Place a fan in the area to increase air circulation, which will dissipate the carbon dioxide produced by the potatoes.

Eliminate all light exposure by either placing the potatoes in a dark cellar or storing them in a bin with a lid. Any light, even artificial, can cause potatoes to start growing.


All potatoes will sprout approximately 35 to 175 days after harvest, depending on the variety.


Do not wash potatoes prior to storing. Do not store potatoes in the kitchen or other warm area of the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer
  • Hygrometer
  • Bowls
  • Water
  • Fan
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.