Growing Sugarcane

Sugarcane is best grown outdoors in zones 6-10, but can also be grown in zone 5. You can plant Sugarcane indoors no matter where you live! Planting is best done in spring after all chance of frost has passed, but can also be planted in summer and fall. If planting in fall, make sure there is no risk of frost for at least 8 weeks after planting. Heavy frost and or freeze will kill sugarcane.

No sunny location inside? Potted cane can be grown with the assistance of a 40-watt grow light. When planted outdoors it can reach a height from 4 to 12 feet. A single row of sugarcane can serve as a windbreak or barrier planting that gives you tasty chewing canes all at the same time.

After plants take root, they will multiply quickly. The number of canes will approximately double each preceding growing season as well as becoming thicker each year. Regularly remove dead leaves and weeds from the soil or the growth for best results. Sugarcane also makes a suitable container plant, with the advantage of moving it in if you live in an area where heavy frosts may occur. Mature Sugarcane is harvested by cutting. Leave at least one section and don’t disturb the roots. Plant should grow again next growing season.


CUTTINGS (also called “RATOONS” or “SETTS”):

After all danger of frost has passed, the cane stalk is cut into sections called “ratoons” or “setts”. Dig furrows in a sunny planting spot. Sugar cane stems are planted horizontally on their sides, in four-inch deep furrows, or trenches. They need full sun, so choose an area that isn’t shaded. Dig furrows long enough to fit each piece of cane you’re planting . Dig a slightly deeper furrow in sand or in highly organic soils. Lay the sugarcane ratoons down lengthwise in the furrow. DO NOT plant them standing up! Cover them loosely with rich soil, fertilize lightly with a generic fertilizer such as 6-6-6 or 8-8-8, then water! Keep moist until sprouts appear above ground (1-3 weeks,depending on soil & weather).  Water regularly after that.


After all danger of frost has passed, dig a whole for each plant about 6-8 inches deep, and 6-8 inches wide in a sunny planting spot.. Gently place the plant in the whole, then fill in around the plant with high grade potting soil and/or organic matter. Pat very gently. DO NOT pack the soil. Apply a light amount of fertilizer (any generic, such as 6-6-6 will work), and water thoroughly.