Can Potatoes Survive Frost?

Many gardeners are looking for information about how to grow potatoes in cold regions. It’s true that potatoes prefer warmer temperatures than most plants, but it is possible to successfully grow them in cooler climates as long as you take precautions before and during the growing season.

Let’s discuss what you need to know about overwintering potatoes so that your crop isn’t ruined by winter weather!

Can Potatoes Survive Frost?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a little more complicated. The severity of the frost will determine how long your potatoes will survive.

A light frost, with temperatures in the upper 20s or low 30s Fahrenheit, may not pose much of a threat to your crop. But if you experience extreme conditions—temperatures that drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours—your potatoes will likely perish.

How Tolerant Are Potatoes To Cold Weather

Potatoes are one of the most tolerant crops to cold weather. They can grow up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below the temperature that kills most plants. The reason for this is that potatoes have very thick skin, which protects them from cold weather.

The only problem with growing potatoes in cold weather is that they take longer to grow than other crops.

How To Protect Your Potatoes From Frost

To protect your potatoes from frost, you have several options:

Cover with a blanket or tarp. Protect the tops of the plants with something like an old sheet or tarp and cover the leaves as well. This will help keep in heat and moisture, but you’ll have to keep checking on them throughout the night to make sure they don’t get too cold (and then remove the blanket after that night).

Use straws to insulate potatoes in containers. If you want your potatoes to stay warm all night long, put them somewhere protected from wind, but where they can still breathe—like under a tree (if it doesn’t get too much wind) or under some sort of covering such as straw bales. You can also use old blankets if you don’t have any straw on hand!

Store the potatoes indoors. Put them in a root cellar/basement/garage for storage over winter months when temperatures aren’t below freezing yet but maybe soon enough before harvest time arrives again next springtime season once more this time around.

Caring For Potatoes During The Winter

Potatoes are a staple in most home gardens, but they can be tricky to grow. Here’s how to keep them healthy and happy during the winter months:

1. Plant your potatoes in the spring or early summer, when the soil is warm (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Choose a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day.

2. Keep your potatoes well-watered until they’ve grown to around four inches long, then start letting them dry out between waterings. If you have very sandy soil, you may want to add some compost or peat moss to help with drainage and maintain moisture levels in the soil.

3. As soon as your potatoes start forming buds on top of their leaves (which will be visible as small white clusters), stop watering them completely—this will cause them to send down roots and anchor themselves into the ground so they don’t get blown over by wind or trampled by animals!

What Temperatures Will Kill Potatoes?

If you’re planting potatoes in the spring, it’s important to keep in mind that they can survive temperatures below freezing. Unfortunately, they can be damaged by temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 degrees Celsius). This means that if you live in an area where temperatures drop below this mark during the winter, your potato plants may still die back until warmer weather returns.

Potatoes will survive temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) but won’t grow very well at this temperature. In order to give them a chance to grow while there’s still snow on the ground or frost in the air, plant your seed potatoes with some sort of protection from cold winds and other harsh elements like wind and rain—this could be something as simple as newspaper or straw placed around them before covering them over with mulch or soil.

Can I Overwinter Potatoes?

Yes, you can overwinter potatoes. A root cellar is the best way to store potatoes during the winter months. If you don’t have access to a root cellar, you can use any of these other methods:

  • Garage – Place them in boxes or crates and store them on a pallet in your garage. Be sure to keep them away from freezing pipes or radiators and make sure they’re not exposed to excessive heat from car engines.
  • Basement – If your basement stays above freezing throughout the winter, this is another good choice for storing your spuds over the colder months (just make sure it doesn’t drop below 38 degrees). Place them in cardboard boxes or wooden crates, then cover with straw for insulation.
  • Shed – You might also consider stashing your potatoes in an outbuilding like a shed or barn if it will be cold enough but dry enough that they won’t freeze completely through. Make sure they’re stored somewhere where mice won’t get at them!


I hope that you now know what to do if you find any frost damage on your potato plants. Even if it is too late, you can still save many of those potatoes by caring for them properly until springtime when they will be ready to plant again!