By Jennifer Poindexter
Have you considered adding heirloom potatoes to your garden? If you’re unsure of what options you have, you’ve come to the right place. Heirloom potatoes are varieties which have not had their genetics altered since 1951 as this is when hybrid plants became more popular.
Yet, some people take it a little further and consider an heirloom potato variety one that has been around for at least one hundred years.
Either way, there are plenty of options to choose from. But you’re probably looking for the best, so I’ve put together this list of the top heirloom potato varieties, their growing conditions, and what you can expect when growing them.
Here are heirloom potato varieties which might be a good fit for your garden:
1. Garnet Chile
The Garnet Chile potato originated from seed which came from Chile, hence this varieties name. You can expect this type of potato to grow well in planting zones four through nine.
Most potatoes require anywhere from ninety to 120 frost-free days. However, they require temperatures ranging between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Expect these plants to produce larger yields of round, white potatoes.
2. Arran Victory
The Arran Victory potato comes in both small and larger varieties. How large the crop becomes depends greatly on the soil and growing conditions. Typically, these potatoes are round and have an eight-centimeter diameter.
Like most potatoes, this variety prefers to grow in cooler weather. Once finished, you should have beautiful potatoes with purple skin. However, their skin does lose its color during cooking.
3. Irish Cobbler
Irish Cobbler is another potato variety that may grow in planting zones four through nine. However, you should grow potatoes when the temperatures are cool outside. Therefore, the time to plant may vary depending upon your growing location.
Ensure you provide ample sunlight for your potato crop as well. Irish Cobbler is a white-fleshed variety with splotchy skin making it a good option for boiling, baking, or mashing but won’t usually pass for a garnish.
4. Rose Finn Apple
The Rose Finn Apple potato takes approximately 135 days to reach maturity. They grow best in spring and fall with temperatures ranging from 45- to 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
When you see the potatoes, you’ll understand where they get their name. Rose Finn Apple potatoes have a red skin and are generally around three centimeters in diameter. You should expect this potato variety to grow well in planting zones three through ten.
5. Champion or Early Champion
The Champion or Early Champion potato variety is another white-fleshed potato variety with yellow skin. This variety prefers full sunlight and grows well in planting zones four through nine.
Expect Champion or Early Champion varieties to grow between one and two feet tall. This is the average size of most potato plants. This potato is great for boiling and is known for having a fluffy texture.
6. German Butterball
The German Butterball potato is a little more hardy than some of the other options mentioned here. This plant grows best in zones three through ten. It also becomes a little larger as this plant ranges in height from two to three feet once mature.
As with most potatoes, ensure you grow German Butterballs when the temperatures are milder and in a location with full sunlight. These potatoes are round, large, and can weigh up to two pounds. Yet, they stand out for not only their size but flavor. German Butterball potatoes have a rich buttery flavor which makes them quite enjoyable.
Fortyfold is a classic variety of potato as it dates back 170 years and is considered one of the oldest varieties of potato. They generally grow best in planting zones four through nine.
Expect this type of potato to produce smaller, round potatoes with a mixture of cream-colored and red skin. These potatoes are known for being durable, so they’re best for baking or boiling. However, they keep a sturdy texture even after cooking.
8. Peach Blow
Peach Blow potatoes are another older variety which dates back before 1850. This plant produces small potatoes and is named after the type of flowers the plant produces.
Expect Peach Blow potatoes to grow well in planting zones four through nine and to reach heights between one and two feet. If you’re in search of a classic potato, this could be a great option for you.
9. Russet Burbank
When you think of a baking potato, chances are your mind lands on the Russet Burbank variety. It has tan skin and white flesh.
Though this is one of the most common options today, it’s difficult to grow. They grow in planting zones four through nine, but their best growing location is a northern climate with loose, nutrient-rich soil. Be sure to provide plenty of sunlight as well.
10. Bliss Triumph
If you’re in the market for a versatile potato, this could be what you need. Bliss Triumph potatoes come in a variety of skin colors, ranging from red, white, and pink. The inside of the potato is white.
You can expect this variety to sprout earlier than other varieties, and it only takes approximately 85 days to reach maturity. This type of potato grows well in planting zones four through nine, reaches a height of approximately one-foot, and requires full sun. This potato is great for boiling but is susceptible to blight. Therefore, you must watch it closely if you select this option.
11. Green Mountain
Green Mountain potatoes are named after the place where they originated. This potato was developed in the Green Mountains of Vermont and was introduced around 1885. This is a great option for a baking potato due to its size and flavor.
This potato is resistant to many diseases such as verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt. However, it’s susceptible to scab. Expect this potato to do well in planting zones four through nine, but ensure you plant it when the temperatures are cooler and provide adequate growing conditions including loose, well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight.
Be sure to do your research when searching for the heirloom Snowflake potato to ensure you plant the variety you’re seeking. The traditional heirloom variety came from Ireland and is known for having a fluffy texture, light skin, and white flesh. It’s also known for storing well after harvest.
However, an American Snowflake potato was established in 1961. This variety of potato also has a fluffy texture and thin skin. Be sure to grow either Snowflake variety in a cooler climate and provide full sunlight.
13. Early Rose
The Early Rose potato became available to the public in 1861. This variety is a red-skinned potato with a white flesh. The potatoes are a good middle ground as they aren’t overly large or small.
Grow Early Rose potatoes in planting zones four through nine and supply plenty of sunlight. This type of potato is the genetic parent to many common potato varieties grown today.
14. Early Ohio
Early Ohio potatoes have been around since 1875. This is offspring from the Early Rose variety. Many people prefer Early Ohio as it matures earlier than Early Rose and produces a great yield.
If you’re interested in growing this style of potato, be sure to grow it in cooler weather in planting zones three through nine. These plants desire full sunlight and can reach heights between one and two feet. The potatoes have brown skin and can become as large as one pound.
Gillyflower potatoes have a white flesh and either a white or brown exterior. This potato is elongated with more of an oval shape. These are large potatoes with a dry consistency.
These potatoes remain consistently sized and the plants are known for producing larger quantities. Be sure to provide Gillyflower potatoes with a cooler growing climate in planting zones four through nine. Also, ensure the soil is well-draining, loose, and rich in nutrients.
16. Yukon Gold
This last heirloom option slides under the radar as one of the new heirloom varieties. Some people consider an heirloom, an option which hasn’t been altered for fifty years. Yukon Gold potatoes were created in the 1960’s.
However, they weren’t popular in the public until the 1980’s. Now, these potatoes are loved by many due to their beautiful golden color and sweet flavor. You may grow Yukon Gold potatoes in a colder climate (preferably in planting zones four through ten) and ensure you provide adequate growing conditions.
You now have sixteen different heirloom varieties of potatoes to grow around your garden each year. Heirloom potatoes are thought to provide a better flavor.
However, they aren’t always as durable as some of the new varieties of potatoes when it comes to pests and diseases.
Whether you’d like to grow these potatoes for flavor or to enjoy a taste of history, ensure you supply the right growing conditions and take the appropriate steps to have a wonderful experience with the sixteen heirloom potatoes suggested here for your home garden.