You were probably brought up to believe that peanut plants were a type of groundnut that you could only grow in southern parts of the country. In reality, peanuts are vegetables and part of the same family as legumes. Thankfully, it’s possible to find out how to grow peanuts indoors regardless of your growing zone.
Peanuts did originate in South America and require 120 days to mature. This timeline often limits the number of gardeners planting peanuts here in the United States because they don’t think the plants can withstand the cold during the long growing season.
This is when growing peanuts indoors comes in handy. Growing peanuts in containers is the perfect way to bypass the last frost date of the season.
When you grow peanuts at home, you miss the cold weather and have endless frost-free days. Home growers may not have considered growing these plants in the garden before, yet you’ll be happy to know that there is another fun veggie to try.
A Little Information about Peanut Plants
Similar to when you research fruits and vegetables you can grow indoors, before you start figuring out how to grow peanuts in a pot, we suggest learning a little bit more about peanut seeds and peanut growing.
Peanuts are called Arachis hypogaea and are an annual plant with yellow flowers. These legumes are relatively hardy and don’t require much attention as long as they are planted in an ideal location.
Raw peanuts come from the ground and often contain trace elements of zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, and vitamin B.
Peanut plants are hardy in USDA growing zones six through 11. As tropical plants, peanuts thrive in hot, humid, and moist environments. Germination alone requires stable temperatures between 70°F and 80°F.
Most of us are familiar with four types of peanuts. Runner peanuts are the most widely consumed plants. They are typically grown in Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
Spanish peanuts are used mainly for peanut candies and peanut butter. Valencia peanuts are sweet and have bright red skin. These are the kinds used for roasted and boiled nuts.
Finally, Virginia peanuts are another common type and are most often used to make cocktail nuts.
Growing peanuts indoors does require a little more special attention than if you were to grow them outside.
Trying to grow your own peanuts might take a little trial-and-error, but once you get the hang of it, they become some of the easiest crops you’ll ever grow.
How to Grow Peanuts Indoors
Growing peanuts in containers is simpler when you have a detailed guide to follow. This article contains everything you need for success at growing peanut plants.
Propagating and Growing Peanuts in Containers
As with planting vegetables in containers indoors of any type, the first step for learning how to grow peanuts indoors is propagating the seeds and turning them into young plants. Fill a generic seed tray or small container with some peat potting soil.
Sow seeds about an inch deep and cover them with a light layer of loose soil. Keep in mind that peanut seeds must remain inside the shell until just before you sow them.
For germination to occur, keep the soil temperature above 70°F for one to two weeks until they start to sprout.
Allow the seedlings to grow a little more and then plant them into individual pots. If you transplant them outside, wait to start them indoors until 30 days before the last frost date of spring.
Choosing Containers for Growing Peanuts Indoors
Obtain a pot that provides plenty of spacing for the individual plants to spread. A crop container at least one foot deep and one to two feet wide is sufficient.
Drill lots of small drainage holes in the bottom of the pot so that moisture doesn’t get trapped in the soil and invite pests and diseases.
Caring for Peanut Plants
The entire plant loves the sunshine and should sit in a slightly humid and warm location. Place the peanut container near a window that gets full sun or on an outdoor balcony or terrace.
Ideal peanut soil has a neutral pH and is kept slightly moist on a daily basis. The base of the plant should also be covered with dirt or mulch for protection. Organic matter like grass clippings is suitable as well.
Fertilizer isn’t necessary until the first yellow flowers start to form. At this time, organic fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus is best. Peanut plants create their own nitrogen, so nitrogen-rich fertilizer might do more harm than good.
Common Peanut Pests and Diseases
Even though you are growing peanuts indoors, these plants still attract several pests and diseases. The most common diseases to watch for come from molds and fungi, which could cause leaf spots or powdery mildew.
Pests are expected when growing peanuts. You will likely run into aphids, potato leafhoppers, and some spider mites during the growing season. However, it is effortless to protect them with floating row covers.
How to Harvest Peanuts
Peanut plants are ready to harvest once their leaves turn yellow and the shells have golden veins. Waiting too long to harvest could make the pods brittle and break off while still in the ground.
Pull or dig up the peanut plant and its roots whenever the soil is moist. Shake off as much excess dirt as you can before letting them air dry.
Unshelled pods may be stored for up to a year in an airtight container. Shelling the peanuts reduces their shelf life by four or five months.
Pour the dry roasted nuts into a food processor. Turn on the processing machine and let it run for four or five minutes or until the peanuts turn into a creamy liquid. Stir in the raw honey and a pinch of salt to taste.
Transfer the nut butter to an airtight container and store it either in the fridge for extended storage or at room temperature if you plan to use it within the next few days.
Not many individuals in the United States are growing peanuts in the garden. We often rely on commercial farmers to produce these crops even though they are some of the most low-maintenance plants.
The more people that understand how bountiful these legumes are, the more we can have fresh nuts on hand at all times.
If learning how to grow peanuts indoors has saved you tons of money at the grocery store, share this guide for growing peanuts indoors on Facebook and Pinterest.