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After a very warm and dry spring, my potato plants have already started to bloom in early June. I wondered if they are putting a significant amount of energy into producing the flowers, and if pinching them out would cause the plants to put that energy into producing tubers instead.

Does pinching out flowers on a potato plant have an affect on the crop, whether in the number or size of the tubers?

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  • I sincerely doubt it, but don't have any references. They rarely set fruit and the fruit is small when it does happen (one reason breeding the suckers is hard work, as opposed to just cloning them, since you do need fruit & seeds for breeding, as opposed to cloning with tubers.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 2 '15 at 1:58
  • For a lot of plants, such as roses and cucumbers, pinching out the flowers will encourage the plants to produce even more flowers. So, you may consider the cost of sustaining current flowers, too. Jun 2 '15 at 3:07
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Yes, pinch them out or off altogether whenever they appear, until the time you'd usually expect them to flower - it does redirect energy into the tubers rather than wasting it on producing flowers, so you may get larger or more potatoes, assuming water supply is sufficient.

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    Great answer--and I don't mean to offend, but how do you know? I'm not doubting your answer. It's just we're encouraged to source information, which makes it more useful (even if experience is the source), and I'm sure you know how you know. Jun 4 '15 at 19:21
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    @Shule Source was a reasonably famous tv gardener, but only fairly well known in England - which is why I didn't cite the source, most people on this site would have absolutely no clue who this person is.... but also info contained in a book on potato growing by D G Hessayon.... and our local allotmenteers. I thought everyone knew this anyway, there's nothing obscure about the information.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 5 '15 at 9:45
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It may slow production of the tubers to have them bloom but it’s NOT significant enough to make a huge difference. Plus, you may be able to ‘discover’ a new cultivar!

My reference is 35 years of plants/greenhouse/landscaping/zoo & botanical garden work etc. Here’s a link to a reliable source as well.... https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/potato/potato-plant-flowering.htm

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